Monday, May 30, 2011

Dragonflies - My Favorite!

I might do a series on "These are a few of my favorite things" though I promise NOT to sing the song along the way...

I'd most assuredly have to start with Dragonflies. Now just the first sentence in Wikipedia alone is enough to secure my absolute adoration for these enchanted flying creatures: "Dragonflies are valuable predators that eat mosquitoes(!), and other small insects like flies(!), bees(!), ants(!)... They are usually found around lakes(!), ponds(!), streams(!) and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic(!)..." (Exclamation points are mine of

I LOVE that they eat all those things I don't like - they left out spiders though- but that's ok. Everything has a weakness; truth is, dragonflies are probably scared of spiders. Like Mr Raider of the Lost Ark and his snakes. (I loved that scene, probably dating myself again...)

And I LOVE to hang out where dragonflies do -- around water, though they apparently also enjoy meadow-y land and can be seen here often. And who can forget Chasah's wedding?! There were literally hundreds flying everywhere. We live in such an enchanted place!

So those things in themselves create an affinity (my daughter's new favorite word) for me with dragonflies. But I actually have a very sweet story to tell you as well.

When we first moved out onto this land, there was hardly anything but old farm tools and a few skulls from cows and the like. Pretty desolate in a lot of ways. There wasn't even electricity. SO, as we worked to create the amazing village we now enjoy, we set up temporary measures to fulfill life's daily duties along the way.

A new one for me was hanging clothes on a line to dry. I had never done this before. Well, not out of necessity. I'd hung things out here and there but never daily - as in, if you want your clothes to dry you'd better get them up on the clothesline. It was quite a novelty. Now I know that a lot of people do this by choice, and I'm all for that - if you want stiff underwear that's certainly your prerogative-
and now that I've said that, I'm sure I'll be laboring in some under-developed country someday and y'all will remind me of this off-handed comment (and if you see me walking funny you'll know why) - but for me at the time it was quite a novelty. It felt like we were playing Little House on the Prairie - but without the house.

Anyways, I was hanging my laundry out to dry one day and a dragonfly landed right in front of my nose. He(?) landed on a clothespin directly in front of where I was standing. I'm talking eyeball to eyeball(s) with a dragonfly.

Now there were wondrous stories floating around concerning our beloved Noah, how back in Geneva, FL he would hold out his finger and time after time dragonflies would land there. There were also stories floating around of people who tried that and had failed. Dragonflies DIDN'T land on THEIR fingers...And secretly, I wished that it would happen to me - er, the first scenario, not the second.

So there I was, eye to eyes with a dragonfly. And a voice inside of me said, "Hold out your finger."

Now I actually thought that this voice might be God talking to me. But I wasn't sure. I mean I was, like, really UNSURE. So this other voice inside of me (do you have multiple voices talking inside of you sometimes? Wait until they start talking outside of you sometimes! I'm just sayin'...And I KNOW a couple of my friends who resemble this remark are probably LOL-ing right now)

Anyways, that second voice inside of me answered back, "No way! I am NOT going to hold out my finger."

And the first voice said again (so either I was disagreeing with God, or crazily talking to myself - I wasn't sure which), "Hold out your finger!"

And I likewise replied, "I am NOT going to hold out my finger! What if the dragonfly doesn't land on it?" -- So basically, I would rather have NOT taken the risk. Never known rather than endure the disappointment. This was my short-sighted stance.

The dragonfly lifted and moved to another clothespin, but was still close by.

Again, and stronger, I heard/felt: "Hold out your finger."

At this point, if I can redeem myself at least a little, I was thinking, "Maybe this is really God speaking to me." Once that thought was really acknowledged, well, I was really left with no choice, now, was I?

So I held out my finger.

And IMMEDIATELY, I'm talking NO hesitation, the dragonfly lifted and came and sat on my finger.

And I began to cry.

And then God spoke to me and I knew it was Him. He said, "I will never ask you to do something that I won't back up and provide for." - or something like that. It's been a while and my memory isn't as sharp on exact details but the gist is very right on.

And there I was, on that lovely summer morning, at the top of what is now Windy Hill Lane, my finger extended straight out in front of me, a dragonfly sitting there almost nose-to, err, nose, and I was bawling my eyes out.

It actually makes me laugh now when I envision what that must have looked like. It's what made me think to retell the story here.

And my dear friend, Hashachar, came over and found me there. Laundry down by my ankles. Dragonfly on my finger. Bawling my eyes out. Just another ordinary day in the life of God at Rose Creek Village...

I told her the story and then I told all the ladies at our next ladies' meeting and from that time on I've had the privilege and good fortune of being associated with dragonflies!

This works out really great at birthdays and special events where gift-giving is in order. It turns out that countless home interior decorators, as well as the fashion industry itself have an inordinate fascination with dragonflies and put them on everything. It is never hard to find a gift for me -- in case you were at a loss as to what to get me on my birthday...which you just missed...

Dragonflies have always served as a reminder to believe. To believe in God. To believe in people. To believe in myself WHEN I am believing in God and believing people... ;-)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

AM I OLD?! Depends...

This will be a very short post - hey, no cheering out there in the crowd! I just wanted to make a couple of comments ON the comments from my last post, and I have one critical observation on provisions for the elderly...

First, I absolutely LOVED the comments I received on that last Weeble post. A couple of highlights:

From Beloved Amma who is on her way to Africa soon: "If you can be a weeble so can I" - Amma, I think you, uh, have to be more lumpy! But as always, you are such a good friend, always willing to go down those idiosyncratic paths with me! I'm eternally grateful!

And from Simchah, our Yoga instructor extraordinariness: "Keep wobbling. Wobbling still pumps the blood!" -- Do I have great friends or what?!

And lastly from Chasah, my Fairy God-Daughter (whom I can hear laughing as she reads that title): "It's people like you that make me look forward to growing old!"

AM I OLD?!!! The answer to that question has got to be...DEPENDS! I can hear Tara Chamley now, "Don't go there..."

Too late.

(All the older people know what I'm talking about. The younger ones probably think my "depends" indicates an intention to write an analysis pitting pros against cons on that was a test to see if you're old or not...)

There are certain things one does not pay attention to until one has to. Certain aisles at the grocery store are scarcely traversed as one has no need of the items down that aisle. Take the baby section for example. I never knew about maternity clothes, diapers, car seats, a good night's sleep, etc. until I had children. Suddenly these things were everything to me. Most of them I was able to procure. All of them, in fact, but that good night's sleep...

Now I'm blissfully past that time in my life and, wouldn't ya know, that good night's sleep still eludes me. My "babies" sleep through the night but now my bladder does not! And from what I hear that will only get worse.

And it was with that thought in mind that I detoured down a previously unchartered aisle one day. Now don't go thinking that you've got me figured out. I'm not to that point yet. I don't need assistance in between potty breaks. I was just checking into what might be on the horizon some day. I wanted to know what I'm getting into -- perhaps literally -- one day...

I'm just sayin'

SO, there I was down that aisle, the only one with brown still in her hair, and I came upon stacks and stacks of a product called Depends.

Depends? !!!! ON WHAT?!!!

When I get to that point, when I need a product such as this, do I really want one that's named "Depends" - as if it's optional whether it'll work for me or not?!! As David Dickerson, much younger but so sympathetic, suggested: we need a product named Assurance! Blessed Assurance at that!!

For those of you not acquainted with these products, I found out yesterday that they already have these. There is, indeed, a product of this nature entitled Assurance. David probably knew that and (LOL) he probably thought I knew that when he suggested it. (Why HE knew about it I'm not sure...David - be sure to leave us a comment on that. Inquiring minds DO want to know...) Up until a short while ago I have been utterly clueless as to the products of this very, I guess, important stage in one's life.

But now I know. I'll have what I need. You can depend on this: I'll sleep better tonight knowing I have the assurance I need. Well, I'll sleep better until my bladder wakes me up...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weebles wobble but they DON'T fall down!

Today was a milestone for me and I'm going to blog about it as I was the only one there at the time to experience it. And what an experience it was!

For the first time since I can't remember when, I popped in my Pilates DVD and went through the beginner routine on my own! Well, I had the help of those two ladies on the tape who, oh yeah, definitely were at the beginner level (spoken VERY dryly there...)

As I found myself continually giggling at the, er, differences in, uh, style, shall we say, between the ladies on the video and the one on the mat in my room, I thought I'd try and recap the scene for your reading pleasure. Sit back and try to imagine. Well, here, let me help you with a visual:

So there we were. My two non-lumpy friends and I preparing to begin our Pilates routine. Let's see, there was Ana, in a cute little red outfit - she's the one with the dreamy voice who gives all the instructions; and there was Tara, who has clearly done plenty of Pilates before, sporting a cute little blue outfit. It was explained that Tara would be doing the more modified versions of each exercise for those not quite up to beginner levels. THEN lastly, there was Lorie, pictured here, in the darling red AND blue outfit and, trust me, she did the MOST modified versions possible!

Some of the initial instructions seemed benign enough. For example, Ana gently encouraged us to begin by, "drawing our chin up to our chest." As they have only one chin this is a relatively straight-forward request. I, however, was left wondering, "Which one?!"

The routine begins with "The 100." This is a tortuous exercise in self-control as anyone who's ever done Pilates can attest to. Ladies (and maybe men too) lie back on a mat, stick their feet in the air at as much of a diagonal as one's wobbly belly will allow, then proceed to wave their hands up and down, as they (frantically) count to 100. The self-control comes in trying to count to 100 before one gives up and drops their feet back to the mat in disgrace. Yes, this is what I would normally want to do for fun...What kind of person in what boardroom sat around thinking up this demented exercise?!

(Disclaimer: as I know nothing of Joseph Pilates and all he went through to develop the final routines performed for the benefit of many around the world, I respectfully interject here, "Just joking!")

It is my observation that most hands waving in the air during this exercise reflect the frantic-ism going off inside people's brains. "Hurry, hurry, OH PLEASE, hurry!"

Not Ana, of course. She calmly and slowly brings her arms up, gracefully turns them over, allows them to hover there but for a moment, then gently lowers them back to the ground...100 times. All the while encouraging us frantic ones to breeaathe...Her legs are perfectly straight at a diagonal and she hasn't a care in the world. She, in fact, could do this all day long. Tara, at a more modified level, also embodies ultimate Nirvana as she glides like a beautiful swan through the motions of life.

Then there's Lorie --the embodied persona of a rotund Albatross rapidly descending, wings flapping wildly in the air, on this - her (hopefully) last kamikaze mission in life...

Our program continued from there with all sorts and sundry of other exercises. They mostly involved swinging my legs and arms somewhere other than where I'm used to swinging them. My arms and legs kept asking, "You want me to do what?!" At one point Ana encouraged me to, "Extend your leg, if you'd like." Well I WOULD like...but I just can't seem to do that...

There was this little quip from Ana, "Again, please have a sense of humor as this IS a coordination exercise..." I'm definitely sensing humorous things happening here in my room...

Then there were the food analogies: "Scoop out your abdominals as if you've taken an ice cream scooper to your tummy." ???!!! As my last blog caused my dear pregnant friend, Beth, to quit reading, I will NOT follow this analogy to it's logical conclusion as to what that might look like...

Oh and "Think of being thin like spaghetti!" Still biting my tongue.

But I've got to comment on this one: "Now lift your leg up as if it were as light as a feather (HA! AS IF!) and push it back down as if you were pushing 100 pounds back to the ground (LOL - I AM...)

"Now stretch out your legs in front of you, give them a little shake before you transition to the other side." WHAT? Your legs are only now doing a little shake? My legs have been shaking nonstop. My housemates are wondering if we're in the middle of an earthquake...

And then came the moment of realization that one rarely gets in life. I realized who I really was. I was huddled there at the end of my mat, as were dear Ana and Tara. We all had our hands wrapped around our ankles and were perfectly balanced on our tailbones with our feet slightly off the ground. Our navels were pulled back down behind us (you have to have done Pilates to appreciate that comment) and our shoulders were relaxed. I was at the pinnacle of elatedness. Finally, something I could do. Ana reassured us that we weren't going anywhere because "you've pulled the tummy tight." - Well, I wouldn't say tight...

She then proceeded to have us lift one leg at a time in front of us and I navigated even this pretty well. THEN, she had us do both legs. In the air. At the same time. As in the classic "V" position found on most Pilates DVD covers. I started giggling (and thus jiggling) at this point. Ana and Tara did their "V" perfectly while I settled for a "u" and we came to my self-realization moment.

You see, from there they ever so amazingly rolled on to their backs, maintaining their "V" and articulating their spines to perfection. They then rolled back up, returning to their original starting positions.

I went to do the same thing. Looked easy enough - not a "V" perhaps, and granted, my knees were jutting out spastically on all sides to make room for my belly, but I found my perfect roundness enabled me to roll effortlessly onto my back...and then... my perfect roundness kept me there, wobbling back and forth just like those little Weebles I had as a kid. I didn't FALL down! No, I just rocked back and forth, back and forth. There was absolutely NO WAY my abdominals -and whatever else Ana and Tara used to get back up - were going to work in the same manner as my non-lumpy friends. And there I was, stuck. Wobbling back and forth. So I did the only thing one can do in that situation. I continued wobbling, all the while, laughing out loud!

Now I know. I'm a Weeble. A feeble Weeble at that. I wobble but hey, at least I DON'T fall down!

(For my youngest readers: that phrase, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down" was from commercials in the 1970's promoting Weebles.-- Do they even still have Weebles? Life as child would be so sad without Weebles. And I hope, after reading this, you'd agree that life as an adult would be equally sad without we Weebles...)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Do NOT mix Sushi with Pregnancy. Just Sayin'...

Let me tell you my pregnancy/Sushi story. As I said yesterday, it's as scary as it sounds...

When I was pregnant with Leilani, our youngest, we tried a new Japanese restaurant. It turned out to be on the authentic side and they had this amazing master chef who prepared the most exquisite works of art - all out of food. The menu was not in English, the waiter barely spoke English, and so for the most part, we had no idea what we ordered. It was looking like a fun, adventurous evening. We were with new friends - a couple we hadn't known very long.

I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and I am one of those poor souls who gets dreadfully sick in those first three very long months...

And I also have a very visual and active imagination. I sometimes have a hard time eating food that actually looks like the animal it is. Sometimes, as much as I love them, I just can't bring myself to pull the meat from crab legs sitting there on my plate. Actually, even eating chicken off the bone - sometimes there's those little blood vessels in there - it just grosses me out. I'm always happy with chicken already in chunks -- stir-fry or whatever. It's a matter of MATTER OVER MIND! Keep to the matter at hand of eating FOOD and don't let the mind picture anything, like the animal walking around or something. I about passed out (not literally) the first time I took shrimp from a salad bar that hadn't been peeled yet-all those little legs-whew, makes me queasy even now.

Our plates arrived and each one was an underwater masterpiece! Truly amazing. Scenes of various coral reefs all made of various raw fish and vegetables. The garnishes were all edible. I did think one garnish in particular looked like it was made of plastic - turns out it was white radishes cut so thin that they MOVED very slightly with the air current! That was a fun discovery though it did cause a bit of a sensation in my tummy, watching movement there on my plate. Little, harmless moving radishes that looked like real coral something-or-others.

I'll have to confess here that I am NOT a hard-core Sushi person. (My friends today can attest to this.) I cannot handle the big chunks of raw fish. I don't mind the minced or small pieces wrapped in the midst of rice and veggies and I love the Wasabi! I'm also terrible with chopsticks. Why they let me in the door, I'll never know.

I just cannot get the hang of those chopsticks. Paul, my husband, was in Taiwan as a kid and he's a whiz of course. I, on the other hand, growing up in Montana and Nebraska, simply did NOT have the numerous chopstick usage opportunities required to turn one from a tyro to a proficient! (Ha Ha - homeschool mom hoping to impress her kids, using their vocab word there...)

OK, back to our underwater scenes. I went to eat one of the bigger "chunks" of fish from my plate and instead of managing a bite as intended-those darn chopsticks-the entire thing slid down my throat! This would have normally grossed me out, but pregnant --ewwwh! The slippery, sliding sensation about did me in. And it landed with a huge "thunk" in my stomach and sat there like a curdling brick. Remember, my stomach had already begun to sway back and forth a bit in tune with those moving radishes...

No one seemed to notice what I was going through so I tried to be Ms. Poise. (Remember these are new friends.)

I set my dysfunctional chopsticks down and slowly sipped my delicious hot tea, trying to get my loud spastic brain ("Whoa, that was the grossest thing that's ever happened to me!" "Was that a huge, RAW chunk of fish I just swallowed??!!!" "Should I throw up now?") to quiet down.

I gently cleared my throat and swallowed again, took another sip of tea, and looked up at the couple sitting across from us. I think I was preparing to smile or something.

I watched the man pick up what must be a LEG from an octopus and take a bite...BUT THOSE SUCTION CUP THINGS ON THE LEG WERE TOWARD ME...and the whole thing just suddenly seemed like a slow-motioned nightmare and my brain went, "AAHHH!!! GGRRROOSSSSSSSS!!!!!" as this red-bearded, grisly mountain man-looking guy seemingly devoured that octopus leg -- suction cups and all! It looked so an Oriental sort of way...

I very quickly excused myself mumbling something about using the bathroom and I did in fact make it there but I threw up immediately upon arrival. And I stayed in there a good while trying to figure out what I should do next.

I don't really remember much more from that night. I must have made it through somehow. I didn't tell them until much after the baby was born...what had happened. I did tell Paul when we got home that night. And I never went back to that restaurant again. Ever.

BUT, the story doesn't end there. As I said yesterday, there's always a treasure to be mined from every situation in life. This one is no exception. Today I found myself at yet another new Sushi restaurant, this time with friends I'm well acquainted with. I'm happy to report that no one ordered anything resembling the animal it once was. Yet even if they had, I'll go so far as to confidently assert that things would have still ended differently. I've grown and matured, you see, and I've learned how to handle these situations much better. I now know you AVERT YOUR EYES when things of this nature are happening around you!!!

As for the chopsticks...well, let's just say Montana and Nebraska could take a lesson or two from those residents over in Bucksnort, Tennessee!! Get a look at these little gems I found at a gas station while passing through...

And it's really called Bucksnort, TN!!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hmmm...where to start?!

This blog is the result of a newly found friend (Amy Janelle) asking to read more of my writings! Imagine that!

And it coincides with rumblings I've had recently inside of me. I've been able to conclusively determine that these inner rumblings are NOT the result of an inadequate food supply so I'm left to conclude they must simply be my gut feeling. And my gut feeling is that there is much fun to be had here if only I will take the time and write.

LIFE is astounding. It's rich and alive and just plain worth the effort! Great things happen all the time - they don't always look great at the time but if you look long enough I guarantee you there's some treasure to be mined out of every experience in life. We can't always see it ourselves. That's what our friends are for. Ask one! They'll find it for you. If they can't find it, write to me. Hmm, maybe my next blog will be entitled, "Dear Gabby"...

I like to laugh, smile, be happy. So I suspect many of these blogs will have a humorous thread running through them. May all of us find that our tapestry of life is filled with many such threads!

I'll close this initial post here so I can get the word out to all of y'all and you can click that little "follow" button there to the right, thus encouraging me (whether truly or in unreality, it matters not) that you are indeed very interested in seeing more stories posted here.

Just a teaser, I'm going to Sushi tomorrow with a few of my dearest friends and it will be the PERFECT opener to tell you my sushi-while-pregnant's as scary as it sounds...

See ya tomorrow! ;-)