Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UCLA Ranked #1 in NCAA Basketball

Could it be UCLA's year to prevail once again in March Madness? To regain the NCAA men's basketball men's title as #1?

Yes, it could!!!
(click this link for the good news)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bountiful and Blessed at Thanksgving 2006

As I sit here blogging in a Starbucks 600 miles from home on the afternoon after Thanksgiving, memories of yesterday com rushing back. Thanksgiving was everything it's supposed to be: bountiful with:

* The laughter and play of young children
* The retelling of family stories, and peering at old family photos
* A beautiful, warm home, perfectly cluttered
* Guarded, politely agreeable political chatter
* A bittersweet, tear-inducing toast by Ron to his mother, who passed away last summer
* Dinner prayers
* Lovingly prepared, delicious holiday fare, including three turkeys (deep-fried, smoked, roasted) and four pies (pumpkin, mince, blueberry, pecan)
* Family faux pas (like the Marie Callendar's pie mixup)
* The adults lingering, chatting at the table hours after the meal
* The continual flash of new digital cameras
* Hugs, hugs and more hugs
* Promises to get together soon again

The woman who binds us together was with us, but only in spirit. Perhaps because of her passing, we're all a bit more aware of the fragility of life and the fleeting of time.

It was a joyous and sacred family time on Thanksgiving 2006.

We are blessed...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blessed Beyond Measure... But Surprised and Cringing

Today is my 55th birthday.

While I'm blessed beyond measure... I just can't imagine where the time went. In my mind, I'm still my ideal age of 35. And I still feel familiar surprise when my body can't follow the plans of my imagination and will.

I love my life, though. Wonderfully happy marriage. Healthy, hard-working, loving children. An adorable granddaughter. Joyful, caring church filled with good people and loving, interesting pastors.

I have meaningful work and many passions. We're finally rebuilding our financial security after Ron's unemployment bouts a few years ago. And I've never exercised more or eaten healthier.

I just wish I had 40 or 50 years more to go.

But here's the curiousity. When I presumed I had decades ahead of me, it didn't feel as precious to me. And frankly, I didn't make as good a use of time as I today.

I'm conscious, now, that time is a limited commodity, and I'm doing many of my "someday" things.

And I work harder to make a difference in this world... not to be remembered, but to be kinder and more forgiving. And to use my writing to help make this world a more merciful and just place.

But not today... :) The world can wait.

Ron took my birthday off from work. After he took Andrea to school, he came home with a fragrant cup of my favorite coffee, a forbidden donut ( I adore donuts... never eat them anymore), and a fresh-off-the-stands newspaper for this news junkie. And he's taking me to lunch today.

Happy birthday to me. I'm 55 years old

Maybe if I say and write it enough, I'll believe it. And not cringe.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Newly On-Fire Photographers

I snapped no photos for four or five years.

I felt like the process of picture-taking got in the way of experiencing the moment. And we have albums full of landscapes... of Mammoth Mountain and forgotten vacation spots, of Hawaii and Canada, of Great Britian, Hong Kong and beyond.

And it was such a bother... getting the light just right, fussing with the focus. Buying the film, dropping off the film, remembering to pick-up the film.

I didn't miss it.

But Ron's mother passed away last summer, and we had few photos of her. We're blessed with an adorable 17-month old granddaughter who grows and changes every month. We don't see Trisha and Nino (our daughter and son-in-law) very often since they moved to Oregon. And Andrea sparkled in beauty and excitement, dressed for her first high school dance.

We recently heard that sadly, our former pastor for 10 years has Alzheimers. They kept it private for three years, but he can't read now, and has trouble remembering much.

And I realized that I was wrong.

Life is fleeting, and special moments are precious. Memories are the stuff of our lives. Gifts from God.

So we bought a nifty new digital camera (a Nikon) last month, and are suddenly on-fire photographers of our loved ones.

For the internet-savvy, the process is amazingly cool. We take the pics and upload them to my laptop. I then upload them to my Yahoo albums, for all to view. I've ordered prints from Yahoo/Target (sent to our home) and WalMart (for faster pick-up).

Ron and I now take new joy from remembering cherished times with family and friends, and sending fun photos to far-away relatives.

(Not to brag about the unusually wonderful women in our family, but........ take a gander at a shot I took last night when we took the gang out for Mexican food. From left: daughter Andrea, daughter-in-law Giovanna, granddaughter Gabriela, daughter Trisha and girlfriend Tessa.)

(US Liberals at About.com)