Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Coincidence

It's happening again.

I have this knack for coincidences. It's like they are drawn to me, like a vortex with me at the center. I used to think if was eerie, but now I think I'm just overly sensitive to them so I notice them more. I also ponder them for awhile, which is why they stay in my head for a time.

The following are coincidences that have happened to me in the last 2 months:

- My son, Chad, and I were driving into town to the bank. It's a small town, 10,000 people, and the bank is about 2 miles away. In that time, we began to discuss the type of car my husband used to want to buy. We hadn't seen one in a long time; in fact, we couldn't remember the name of the car, even though Todd used to point out this particular car every time he saw one. We pulled up to the drive-through at the bank and at the same time saw the car in front of us. In unison, Chad and I said, "Eagle Vision!" Yep, it was the car in question.

- Another car issue. Chad and I were walking in our neighborhood, taking a different loop which led us into a street we hadn't walked on in a long time. We were discussing the Neon, another car we hadn't seen in a long time. We came around a corner and there sat a Neon. Again, we both said, "A Neon!" This may become a recurring theme.

- About two weeks ago, I was listening to my all classical radio station out of Portland and they were playing Beethoven's only opera, "Fidelio", mentioning the fact that it was originally called "Leonora". The following Sunday, on our local radio station, they played the entire opera during the Sunday morning opera time. Here is where I learned more about the plot and storyline. I didn't like it but the music was good. And then, 3 days later, we were in the car listening to different stations, when I came across music I recognized - sure enough, it was from "Fidelio" and they mentioned Leonora again. I couldn't get away from it!

- Today - I've been reading Frances Mayes book entitled, "In Tuscany", and her husband, Ed, writes a few chapters in this book. He quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson as saying, "Hitch your wagon to a star." Until today, I had never heard this quote (I need to read more Emerson) . Tonight, I was reading a news story from the home page online about Ed McMahon who just passed away. In this news story, they quote him from several interviews and in one of the interviews, he is talking about his good fortune to work with Johnny Carson. He says, "There's the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star." I found it interesting that I read this phrase by Emerson twice within a few hours of each other, from completely different sources.

I think it's kind of fun to notice a coincidence. It's not hard, they happen all the time. Have I mentioned this one: My husband's mother is married to Bob, my stepfather-in-law. He has two daughters, and one of them (Lisa) was in my 8th grade English class. Bob didn't know my mother-in-law at that time. I remember his daughter from that class but she doesn't remember me very well. What's more, one my best friends from that time is Jeree, who was also good friends with Lisa. Bob remembers Jeree very well. And get this: My husband's sister, Jill, worked with Jeree for a time about 15 years ago. So, when I get my yearly Christmas newsletter from Jeree, I update Jill and Bob on how Jeree and her family are doing. Got all that?

I told you this is fun!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We've been doing a lot walking in our neighborhood this past week and it's been fun and interesting observing all the gardens. Some are carefully planned, some have made some gallant attempts and others are pretty much weed gardens. Most everyone has the same plants (all bought at one of three local nurseries) so it's a challenge to seek out more unusual plants and flowers. I love the hidden gardens that we have seen. There are even some hidden homes that I never noticed before, blocked from view by trees or shrubs, sometimes unruly overgrowth. One home has an old bicycle as an ornamental element (?) O.k. Lots of trees have been cut down, due to that bad storm we had at the end of 2007. Which has given some people on the hill a view they never had.

I wish I had a gardener's touch. I can only read about it and observe others' creativity. Perhaps I just lack confidence. Is it a learned technique? Or are you born that way?

The book I'm reading is discussing gardens in Italy. Now there's some creativity, to be sure. Centuries-old creativity, in the form of mazes, pergolas and fountains. Gardens were often an extension of the home, apparently. I guess when you live in a place that allows you to be outside often, a lovely garden would be like having another room. That certainly can't be done here.

I will be content with my geranium in a pot on my deck, flanked by our potted strawberries, peppers and tomatoes. For now. If I start reading soon, perhaps I can expand my horizons next year.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In A Mood

A month ago today, I was in Leavenworth, WA, celebrating my birthday. My, how time flies.

Anyway, I've been re-reading "My Life In France", by Julia Child, and it inspired me to find her first cookbook online. As I was looking for it, I discovered that this book (the one I just read) has been made into a movie, starring Meryl Streep! I can't think of anyone else in this role, as I happen to be in awe of Ms. Streep and her chameleon-like acting ability. I don't think this movie is out yet (we don't go to the movies) but if anyone of you do happen to see it, I'd love to know what you thought of it.

I think I've found the Julia Child cookbook I want to get. Who better to learn how to cook from? I still struggle with my cooking ability, although I love to read cookbooks and books about cooking. Eating is not my favorite thing to do so I don't know why I like reading about food. Bon appetit!

It's not fair. I'm newly 46 and I thought I'd have my life in better order by now. No. I'm still pretty much the same person I was 20 years ago, in a lot of ways. Perhaps I need to concentrate on the good things about me that I still am, rather than focus on the things I still am and wish I wasn't. I'll give you a minute to figure out that last sentence ...

You know, I think my braces make me feel younger somehow. Isn't THAT a strange thing to think?

I apologize for the mood I've been in lately. Age has been a theme and a depressing one at that. I hope this passes. And soon.

O.k., think about something I am now that I wasn't 20 years ago. The mother of 3 children. Considering I thought I would never be a mom, that's a pretty good something. (Thank you, Lord!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Strange Days

Is it just me or are strange things happening around your neighborhood as well?

A few days ago, my family was out on our after dinner stroll, this time all five of us, when we passed by a neighbor's house. My husband knows this neighbor and this man waved us down to his home, (his driveway is long and on an incline, therefore, we had to walk "down"). He seemed very friendly, even overly so, and that's when I saw the bottle of beer in his hand. Bummer. I'm not at all comfortable with people who have been drinking and here we were with all my kids as well. The neighbor wanted us all to come in to see his newly remodeled kitchen. Apparently, Todd had installed a counter top for this neighbor years ago (back when he was a self-employed cabinet maker) and now that counter top has been removed and replaced, along with other changes to the kitchen. It was really nice and we all enjoyed seeing his home. But ... this guy was drunk, at least he was a happy drunk. He tried to call his wife out to meet us but apparently she was, how did he put it ... "Oh, she's gone," he said, and we guessed she had already passed out from her evening imbibing. It was only 8:00 pm for goodness sake! Anyway, we politely left as soon as we could and when we got home, we had a really good discussion with the kids about his behavior. We discussed how we shouldn't talk bad about him but also how drinking affects your behavior, etc. It turned out to be a good discussion but I really didn't expect the night to turn out like it did. We saw him again tonight, wielding a weed-eater and we were hoping he was sober.

A few weeks ago, we went to get milk at our favorite pharmacy and we saw that the front door was all closed up with wood and the glass was gone. When we asked what had happened, they said a lady had pulled up in front of the store and stepped on the gas instead of the brake. She was in her 70's and had a small dog on her lap. Fortunately, no one was really injured, except for a man who was hit by a side mirror, scraping his arm. Stupid and strange.

We had a garage sale over Memorial Day. It went reasonably well, had good weather and most people bought something. My son did nearly all the work, bless him. However, our first customer was a family of ethnic origin, bringing with them a small boy wearing a face mask and a smaller girl with sniffles. Ugh! Why on earth did they feel the need to drag these sick kids to our sale I don't know. I took their money and after they left, I put the bills in a baggie and sprayed Lysol in it and let if dry. I know, I know, I'm paranoid but after they left, we went inside and listened to the local news on the radio. They announced the first swine flu case in our county. Great, just great. My husband said, "Yeah, the second case just left our garage sale!" I was not amused. Strange, stupid and sick!

The second customer that day was an older guy that pulled up in an old sedan with signs on the door protesting something or other. He bought a bunch of children's books and said he was a child psychiatrist for the police department. Then he said he had a stuffed bear in his car named after a character Elvis played in some movie. He was jittery and made me really nervous, especially after hearing about Elvis. Oooh, boy, was I glad when he left.

Fortunately, we had fairly normal people after that disturbing morning. We even had a guy buy our pedestal sink for $5.00. We were selling it so cheap because we got it free from another neighbor about 4 streets over last year. It turns out that this man grew up not far from where I did and we talked a fair amount. Too much, apparently, for his wife as she finally went out to their car and started the engine. He gave us the money for the sink and asked it he could come back later to pick it up. We said that was fine. And then he never showed. We still have the sink AND his money. It didn't feel right but I wasn't sure what to do. Then I decided I'd donate the money he gave us to a local charity, which DID feel right. But now we have to store the sink.

Perhaps June will be more normal - unless normal no longer mean what I think it means.