Life Has Its Ups and Downs

One minute I’m up and the next minute I’m down. That’s life in the Costco aisle. I can’t tell you how excited I was when Costco surprised me with Charmin toilet paper with scalloped perforations between the sheets. It was a stroke of brilliance that brought about this long-needed update to a very mundane (yet essential) product. Not since we were told “not to squeeze the Charmin” have I been so excited to sit next to this Grade A paper. Mr. Whipple would be proud. But he probably would be OCD about that, too. I can just hear him say, “Don’t rip between the perforations!”

This does solve a lot of problems. For years when our grandchildren were over we would go through toilet paper at a rate of about 1.5 rolls per day. We helped them learn to count with toilet paper, for goodness’ sakes. Now, though, it will be all the easier for them to count and tear. Genius! Plus, no more having to make that cute little triangle on the end of the roll to make it extra fancy. Perforations – that’s what it’s all about.

But then Costco threw me for a loop. They changed out my favorite yogurt. Dannon Activia has always come in three flavors – peach, strawberry, and blueberry. Always. But not yesterday. They claim to have updated the flavors and blueberry got the axe. I made an audible gasp when I saw the box promoting black cherry. I practically climbed into the refrigerator in search of any blueberry hidden back there. Alas, I am forced to try something new. Bob says it’s good for me and reminds me that I love cherries. I know what you’re thinking – how can he really not know me after all of these years!

Oh, blueberry! We had a good run!

This is my last blueberry yogurt. I will savor it and bid it farewell. I am reminded that you can purchase this at the grocery store, but that’s not how I roll. Oh, Costco! You drive me crazy sometimes, but this blueberry debacle will not be the end of our relationship. I forgive you.

Furthermore, I will not concentrate on the negative. Who knows – maybe I’ll love black cherry yogurt. Either way, whenever I visit the bathroom (which really goes hand-in-hand with Activia yogurt), I have a pleasant roll of perforated tissues there waiting to cheer me up.

 

First Father’s Day

After someone important to you dies, you go through a series of firsts. Firsts that they were always a part of. Firsts that leave a little hole in the day. I know that this is completely normal.

In my case, because my dad died at 94 after suffering with limitations that strived to define him, which he fought bravely to conquer mentally if not physically, it has been easier than I thought that it would be to go through this series of firsts.

Father’s Day was a BIG first that I wondered about, but I made it through. And it wasn’t too hard. Watching someone age and get ready for Heaven changed my perspective on my dad’s death. Truthfully, the dad that I knew the last few years was a representation of the dad who I had for most of his life. The thought of Dad in Heaven is a happy place in my heart. No limitations! Yes!

Dad retire at 50 years old, so he spent almost as much time on this side of retirement as the other side. Bob, my husband, has never worked close to home. His commute has varied from 45 minutes to 2 hours. So, when the plumbing was gushing up through the toilet or a tire had flattened, I’d call Dad. (These things happened more often while Bob was at work. I think that’s part of the mechanical-things-fear-Bob deal.)

That is the Dad that makes me smile. I hold both versions in my mind, but one has a bigger place in my heart. One has the bigger file of memories.

As I type this today, I’m smack in the middle of the second BIG first that I have wondered about. Today is the 70th anniversary of my parents’ wedding. I wondered how Mom would get through that. How would I get through watching Mom? The floodgate of memories was sure to break.

But you know what? Those memories washing over you can be pretty refreshing and special. That’s what I’m experiencing today (and she is, too), and since you’ve been so kind to listen to me in the past, I thought you should know. There are more BIG firsts down the road, but why borrow trouble? God really does supply the grace needed for all of life’s moments – big and small. Some will be harder than others. That’s okay.

I do miss my dad. He’s come up a few times in my blog, and my book ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC, is based on his life. He got to read it before he lost his eyesight, before the final edit. I’m thankful, even though I know he struggled with the fact that I fictionalized his life. I guess that would be weird for anybody, but he was proud of me and happy to have stories of his life preserved. That, too, makes me happy. In a lot of ways, you never stop being your dad’s little girl.

Here are a couple of pictures I’d like to share with you. Hope you enjoy them.

Dad the magician, the early years

Dad always liked animals, but he was happy to have this friendly guy out of their Florida lake.

Dad with my first son, Jesse. He loved his grandkids.

Oh, The Humidity!

So lovely – Moved to tears (almost)

I missed humidity something terrible while we were away in Utah. My eyes couldn’t even tear up in response to the beauty we were hiking through. I was unable to blow my nose and my skin with its alligator look reminded me of home. I could put up with that because my hair looked great, so who cares that I couldn’t cry and that my nose would bleed when I tried to blow it. That was a small price to pay for soft, silky hair.

Now that I have traveled extensively in the desert of Utah and Arizona (two weeks), I can tell you from firsthand experience that Florida doesn’t really understand the words “dry heat.” We understand heat from the dryer, but that’s the extent of it. We also know what dry heaves are, but I don’t even want to go there.

There are dangers in dry heat that we are unaccustomed to. It’s so extreme that one must be warned of the danger by signs like this:

We don’t see signs like this in Florida.

Floridians understand sweat. Furthermore, we are known for it. Yes, we are big sweaters.

As a kid, I never learned that you don’t talk to strangers. Talking to people, especially while we’re traveling, is interesting. We met a lot of people in Utah.  Nine times out of ten, when someone found out I was from Florida they would say, “Oh, the humidity!!!” It was like they thought we lived under a curse or something.

I gave up trying to defend our state. Yes. It’s humid. I work up a sweat on the way to the mailbox, but I can blow my nose. That should count for something! And my skin no longer has that alligator look. My hair – that’s another story. I’m back to frizzy, but at least I have tears again if I want to cry about it.

Danger in Central Florida!

Wild animals and poor spellers are everywhere. Be on alert!

Now that I have your attention, let me highlight some of the stuff we Floridians have to put up with that is going way beyond reptiles and sharks. I’ve mentioned before (for those of you who don’t live here) that we essentially live in a subtropical swamp. Therefore, it’s often humid and hot. Really hot, accompanied by alligators, snakes, and mosquitoes. But that only lasts for six months, after which we return to just plain hot with occasional warm spells and alligators, snakes, and mosquitoes. Read the full post »

We Interrupt My Regular Blog for This FREE OFFER!

The perfect summer read

I have a short post for you today. So many of you have encouraged me along my journey of publishing my book, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC. So many of you have bought and read it. I’m very touched by that and very grateful.

I do know that sometimes people intend to do things and put them off, because that’s what I tend to do way too often. So, I won’t assume that all of you who would like to purchase my book have. With that in mind, today through Friday, you can download the kindle version for free. I wanted to make sure that you know so you can take advantage of this offer.

So click away right now and get it free today through Friday. Don’t wait, get it today!

When you click the link and see that it’s the Kindle version that is free and you don’t have a Kindle (you can always buy one or), don’t worry, you can download the Kindle App and read it on your tablet or computer.

Don’t forget to leave a review when you finish! And please share this post! Thanks again!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my regular posts. Until then!

 

Survivor Finale – Spoiler Alert!!!

Image result for free pictures of jeff probst

Photo Source: tvseriesfinale.com

Sacred TV time. That statement is wrong on so many levels, except that is how I “view” my Survivor television watching. Survivor is my absolute favorite TV show. My kids know this. Some of them watch the show, too; so last Wednesday night when Bob and I sat down to watch the finale an hour and fifteen minutes after the scheduled time, I texted my kids to let them know we were just then starting. I couldn’t risk a kink in my plan to find out who the sole survivor would be from watching the show, not from my kids lack of knowledge that we were watching delayed. Read the full post »

The Royals

Royals! They are all the talk lately – from the royal wedding to royal babies. But there’s a lot more royalty out there than what you find across the pond. I have royals that I love to interact with and read about in my everyday life. Common royals – kind of an oxymoron. Read the full post »

Run, Moggie, Run

I mentioned that Bob and I are traveling with friends. We became friends with Mike and Moggie back in the 1970s, and they are our Florida friends of longest duration (oldest friends, but I don’t like the way that sounds).

[/Bob and Me]

Here we are in Monument Valley where we took a three hour Jeep tour, which was awesome. Our guide was a movie buff and mentioned several movies that had been filmed there, including most of John Wayne’s early films directed by John Ford. Some of my favorite movies which were filmed there are Forrest Gump; Mission Impossible II; National Lampoon’s Vacation; and Back to the Future III.

After our tour was over, we took a smoother drive in our rental car and headed down Hwy 163 looking for adventure. We headed to Mexican Hat. Mexican Hat is easy to miss and I would certainly recommend that. We were looking for adventure and it was not to be found there. Time to enlist google to help us find something unusual, something wild, something dangerous – Forrest Gump Point.

Do you remember the part in that movie where Forrest had been running across America? One day, for no particular reason, he decided to go for a little run. It was 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours later when he stopped and said, “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.”

We were determined to find that point and google came through. It was the craziest place. No signs were posted, yet people were pulled off the sides of the highway risking life and limb to take their pictures where Forrest ended his run. Of course, we did, too.


Remember, this is a highway with 60 mph speed limits. Timing is everything in this sort of endeavor, especially since it is likely that a lot of folks just drive that road with no idea of the significance of an imaginary guy taking an imaginary run for no particular reason. They may not understand that fans of the film will want to re-enact that fateful scene despite cars zooming by at high speeds. Go figure.

I went first as I knew you would expect nothing less. Bob is my driver and photographer. (As I have mentioned before, never travel without an engineer, especially if you’re married to one. They come in very handy.)

Here is my triumphant pose. I must say it was exhilarating.


Well, not to be left out, Michael and Moggie wanted to get their picture done, too. Only thing, there was so much activity that they failed to hear us yell, “Car!” Eventually they ran!

I am happy to report that no one was hurt during the re-enactment. That’s all I have to say about that.

Antelope Canyon

The day finally arrived for us to do the Antelope Canyon tour. I was very excited because not only was the canyon reported to be amazingly beautiful, but it is also on the Navajo Reservation so we would have a local Navajo guide to take us through and tell us about it.

The day started out rainy and cold, cold even if you aren’t from Florida. We knew there may be closings of the canyons (upper and lower – we did the upper) if rain became an issue. The rain doesn’t have to be occurring at the canyon. If it is from up the canyon, flash floods can occur and that is no joke. We prayed that it would be sunny enough for us to enjoy the tour and that rain wouldn’t be a problem, so when we loaded onto their truck to be transported to the canyon entrance, we were grateful.

Our guide, Irene, was a woman about my age and she seemed like a no-nonsense kind of a gal. I discovered this when I tried to step up onto the truck without showing my ticket first. She was a bit gruff. I hate making a bad first impression, but oh well. We got onboard with ten other people and huddled together to keep dry and warm. I felt like we were being smuggled into the canyon. Cool!

When the back gate was lowered and we all were herded out, Irene cautioned us to stay together. I don’t think she was trying to scare us with her stories of people not heeding the warning to run when a flash flood was detected, but needless to say we stayed close to her. She told us of tour groups from other countries that didn’t understand what she was trying to communicate when she said to run and how she literally had to drag people out. Maybe too much Disney mentality – I dont know why people wouldn’t figure out they needed to get out. But I can tell you that our friend, Moggie, who is traveling with us, loved the stories so much that I thought she was going to throw up. But she didn’t.

When we entered the canyon the magic began. Disney has nothing on this. NOTHING! This is a slot canyon, so the walls are narrow, but not too much so – you can stand easily the entire length of it. The colors and the patterns on the walls are nothing short of breath-taking. The rock formations in the canyon could not have been constructed by man. We were in awe.

As for Irene, she was awesome! She had a great sense of humor and is a wonderful photographer and a bold one. She would take our cameras from us, adjust the settings, and take the best pictures these cameras and phones have ever generated. Bob and I got a new camera for each other for Christmas. Bob is the chief (sorry) photographer and I am the iPhone photographer. She called Bob grandpa, which in their culture is more respectful than ours, and she would take his camera and make it dance. We loved her! First impressions are only just that.

Today, I will use my title, Life on the Lighter Side, to show you a few pictures of the light in the canyon. Hope you enjoy them, and hope you can go to Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona, yourself sometime.

They Left a Light on For Us

Tuesday we arrived in Page, Arizona. Our Number One Goal: Antelope Canyon. But for now let me tell you about our first night in Page. We stopped at Glen Canyon Dam, on the Colorado River, and saw the whole dam thing. In this area it is dam this and dam that. We ate lunch at the Dam Cafe which was in the Dam Plaza, in the center of the dam town. You get the picture.

Our next stop was Horseshoe Bend where we hiked down to see the Colorado River make a, you guessed it,  horseshoe-shaped bend. It was another test of our prowess as we hiked along the steep trails of Navajo Sandstone with the wind whipping along the canyon spreading sand over our everything. Totally worth it! Here are a few shots to make you jealous. Not really. If you struggle with that just think about how my legs kept yelling at me for taking them for granted all these years. They are seriously not happy with me, but I continue to tell them who is boss (Bob, for making me walk when I’m ready to give up).

But the thing we were not prepared for, the thing that no pictures could capture, the thing we didn’t quite anticipate, was our hotel for the night. We planned on two nights but plans are made to be changed.

Disclaimer: I am a little picky. Okay, I am a lot picky.

I didn’t want to be the one in our group of four to object to the place, but of course I was, somebody had to. I was gentle though, because I wasn’t the one who made the reservations. I told the lady behind the desk, “We have reservations and I have reservations.” Desk ladies don’t have a great sense of humor.

The big draw of this place was it was cheap, and we figured that we would only be sleeping in the room as we would be enjoying the night life of Page. Spoiler Alert: There is no night life in Page. Once the sun goes down the show is over. So we retreated to our room. Here’s a picture of the room, forgive the mess; but there were no drawers, closets, lights to speak of, rugs, or quiet.

It was the noisiest hotel night of our lives. And we have traveled with our four children. Even now as I think back to times when we sneaked two of them into the room so we didn’t have to book two rooms, and we had kids lying all over the floor pinching each other, tooting, and giggling, those times were not as noisy as last night was.

As best as I can tell, all Page nightlife occurs in this hotel. That must explain the popularity of the ice maker, which was down the hall about two doors from us. Evidently people in Arizona need ice all throughout the night. I could almost here people yelling, “I need ice, stat!”

The next problem was that we apparrently were on the flight path to the airport.  It turned out that everytime someone started a shower near us, it sounded like a 747 was going through our room. I literally jumped out of my bed about three times before I realized there was no threat to us.

Someone close by had a German Shepherd and must have been unsuccessfully patrolling the halls making sure people weren’t taking too many turns at the icemaker. He likely was leading a pack of dogs through the corridor through the night as there was that delightful doggy smell.

The wind howling through our windows sounded like a coyote howling at the moon. I wondered if it bothered the pro-bowlers tour that was practicing while we tried to sleep. I am not sure how they managed to set up a lane in the hallway, but good for them. It must have been difficult with the cheerleading competitors practicing all around them.

So, we checked out. One night of excitement was enough for us. It is a good thing they left a light on for us, because we would never have found the switch. I will tell you about Antelope Canyon next time – after I get a good night of sleep and some decent wifi.