Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons From the Checkout Line

There are moments in my life where my lack of patience tends to come back and bite me in the backside. Such as yesterday. In the checkout line of the local grocery store.

I had just stopped to pick up a few things after a long hike along the river and I was anxious to get home and download the 100 plus pictures I'd taken. As I unloaded my cart the checker began chatting with the lady in front of me.

"Oh, great. Of course I pick the shortest line and get the slowest checker because she has to chat." I thought to myself. "Why don't they train the checkers to just check and keep the chit-chat to 'hi' and 'have a good day'."

Normally I'm not this big of a jerk in the check-out line, but I had more important things to do. Or so I thought.

Finally, it was my turn and as 'Cathy' began ringing up my items, I forced a smile and said the obligatory, "how are you today?" As she picked up a bottle of wine she said, "I see this one come through a lot. I'm going to try this one."

"Yeah, I like the blends and this is a really good one," I replied.

"I've been going to different wineries with my husband. Next week I'm taking him to the Aquarium in Monterey and we are going to visit some wineries down there. I want him to see the Aquarium before he dies. I hear it's something to see and after all these years together we deserve a big trip."

"He's got cancer and it won't be long now. I don't have many tears left to cry, especially after yesterday and gettin' to work all red-eyed and what not. He says I don't need to take him down to Monterey but I want him to see the Aquarium. And I want to take him to Bubba Gumps. Did you know they have a Bubba Gumps there?"

Yes, I know there's a Bubba Gumps down on Cannery Row. And I also know, as 'Cathy' continues talking why I ended up in her line.

Because, I needed a reminder that maybe people like 'Cathy' need people like me to just listen for a few minutes. I don't know anything about her or her husband, their life together, any children they may have had, places they've been or homes they've made their own. What I do know is that a woman is about to lose her life long partner and it's not something she's looking forward to. God could not have given me a bigger dose of humble pie than the one I'd just eaten.

As I looked Cathy in the eyes and we said our parting pleasantries, I walked away thinking how ironic it was that less than an hour prior to standing in Cathy's line, I'd been photographing a pair of Canadian geese who were standing on some rocks in the middle of the river. If you know anything about Canadian geese it's that when they reach about two years of age, they find a mate and stay with each other for life.

Cathy and her husband are staying with each other, for the rest of his life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Standing at Attention

I know that President's Day is supposed to be in honor of Presidents Washington and Lincoln and I am whole heartedly behind what these men stood for and mean to the history of our country. But, my mind took a different turn this morning as I drove across the flag-lined Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Bend and saw the rows of Old Glory standing on either side of the street being wind-whipped to attention.

I always refer to this bridge as the Randy L. Newman Memorial Bridge, in reference to LCpl Newman who was a local Marine that died in Iraq in August 2006. Though I didn't personally know LCpl Newman, I highly recommend reading about him(by clicking the link I provided) and what he means to his family, friends and fellow Marines.

And while today is a day set aside for honoring a few of our great presidents, I'd like to think that we are also honoring the great men and women of this country who have and continue to fight for the principals and values those presidents themselves fought for. To those men and women of my home town and throughout the United States who have selflessly given and continue to give of themselves in order to bring freedom and rights to those less fortunate than ourselves, for what it's worth, thank you and you are continually in my prayers.

*Photos by Anne Birky

Monday, February 8, 2010

Patience Revealed

By nature I am not the most patient person. I've come to realize that part of that is because the feelings of restlessness I've felt for as long as I can remember and partly because it's just not a virtue I've perfected. It is definitely something I wish I had more of and practiced more often.

While I am not the role model for patience, I know how I picture it, and this is what I see:

Patience is...

Being cooped up indoors because it's pouring down rain,

So you count the drops on the window to pass the time until the rain stops...

Patience is...

Waiting for just the right photo opportunity.

Patience is....

Replanting after the summer frost,

Because the wait is well worth the reward.

Patience is...

Making sure you have enough snacks while waiting for the fish to bite.

Patience is...

Waiting for whatever is going to come around the bend.

Patience is...

Knowing that even though it seems like winter will never end,

Spring will always make an appearance.

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.

For more of the blog carnival on Patience, please visit One Word at a Time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ten Days

For the past three months I've been Little Miss Sickly. It could be many parts stress and some parts working with sick kids. Regardless, I'm sick of it. Literally. And Jon claims that since we've gotten married and he's given up the bachelor diet of cereal for every meal, my cooking has not done much for his waistline. I've offered to quit cooking and let him go back to a cereal diet but he was never much for that idea.

Needless to say, we both decided that we need to work on being a little more healthy and so are doing a ten-day detox type of thing. We are both anxious to get this thing started, Jon because he wants to get through the full month program and me, because I want to get through this ten days and then back to feeling good. And, because I've got a lot of sacrificing to do, which I didn't realize until I read what I could and couldn't have.

* No dairy products
* No 'bad' carbs
* No coffee
* No alcohol

So the whole dairy thing, well, that is like taking the girl off the farm. I'm not a big milk drinker by any means, but it does mean I'm not making anymore smoothies in the morning with yogurt. And no more yogurt with granola. And no cheese. How does anyone get through the day without cheese? I mean it IS the four food groups: cheddar, mozzarella, colby-jack and Parmesan.

No bad carbs. And by bad carbs, that would be my beloved chips with salsa, and those wonderful little things called cracked pepper and olive oil triscuits. Oh, and anything that ends in potato. Who determines what a bad carb is anyway because no potato has ever done me wrong.

Unless one is from the Pacific Northwest, the coffee drinker/addicted capital of the world, then I don't know if you can understand the magnitude of this sacrifice. Me without coffee is like Sonny without Cher, The Dukes without General Lee, Hall without Oates, Vegas without Elvis, the South without Nascar, a rebel without his flag. I tried to give up coffee once and it lasted for three days, until I couldn't take feeling like my brain was doing everything it could to pound it's way out of my head while spinning cotton candy. I have already suggested to Jon that he may want to camp (read: live) out in the RV for a few days, for his own protection, while I adjust to life without coffee. Please pray for my family.

No alcohol, no problem nine days out of ten. Only because on my first day I'm going to be a big fat cheater. You see, it's girls night at my friends house and it's been an on-going tradition for a few years now that myself and two of my friends get together, have some snacks, a little red wine and solve all the worlds problems(at least according to Annie). This was planned well before hell-week was dropped on me and it would be incredibly rude of me to insult the hostess by refusing her offer of a glass of wine. So I won't. That's just the kind of friend I am.

So, for the next ten days I will be taking lots of vitamins, drinking gallons of water and protein shakes, eating tons of green leafy stuff, fish and chicken and hopefully come out this not just alive but feeling much better. I'm still a little wary about the thought of going ten days without coffee and I'm going to apologize in advance if I come across a little cranky on the Twitter. Feel free to send Jon messages of sympathy and humor as I'm sure he'll need them while he's camping in the RV out back.