Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sidewalk Notions

The smell of steak on a charcoal grill hit me while walking down the sidewalk.  While not ready to give up my car, I am enjoying my walks.  The pace, with the yellow lab pushing me to keep walking faster and faster, is much slower than in the car.  And, even with the windows down the many details from the walks are completely missed at even twenty five miles an hour down quite neighborhood streets.  Instead, here I am huffing and puffing down the sidewalk and focusing on the details around me and trying to distract myself from the sweat and the burning legs. 
Walking down the sidewalk, I am noticing obviously the above mentioned steak on the charcoal grill.  And the garlic bread a few houses down!!  Just not fair to have to walk like that and smell those wonderful things! But are other, less edible, smells like laundry being done and fresh cut grass.  Small trees dot the landscape, framed out by a few larger trees.  I’m always so grateful for the shade they offer. 
Sidewalks look so steady and constant at a blur as I pass.  But, I’m coming to realize the dips, the slight twists and holes that have been worn by weather and use.  Steps and porch swings frame front doors and landscaping.  Summer flowers mingle with the more persistent of the summer weeds, as well as the bushes of peonies that are past their blooms. 
As I walk past, I like to think about the people who may live here.  There are often children dotted about the path, on scooters and bikes, or running between houses and looking for their friends.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes like to bark their greetings.  Cats stretch out on porches and lie in wait in the flowers. 
The sidewalk is an interesting spot where there is much to see.  And smell – that charcoal grilled steak and garlic bread…. Yumm!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Surgical Orchestra and Set Free

I have heard of operating rooms described as theaters, but I think an orchestra might be a better metaphor.  The anesthesiologist, he tuned up the room like the first violinist.  The surgeon, the conductor that controls the speed, action, and movement of the procedure, moves medical tools rather than a baton.  From this theater comes music of healing. 

It’s been nearly two months now since knee surgery.  And today, I received my free and clear from the surgeon.  What a great way to start a week! 

As I left the doctor’s office, I started thinking about the last few weeks.  I thought about how I have been supported by my family and friends.  I thought about how just a few weeks ago I could not have handled walking a half mile, let alone three.  I was surrounded by the caring of family and friends, and felt like I had my own private nursing staff!  No one could ask for better care.  Today, walking around the neighborhood, sweating and puffing along, I was excited to think of the change that only a few months can bring.  I felt set free.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wedding Anniversary Roses

My parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary yesterday with cards, cake, roses, and memories.  Thirty seven years is a wonderfully long time, and my dad has a tradition of one rose per year as a gift.  So, thirty seven long stem red roses grace the table, making quite the floral statement of celebration.  I was thinking about those roses and how if each one could talk, what it would say about the year it represented.  I know there would be times when the talk would be about lean budgets, worries, sadness, and aches.  But, I think there would be much more clamor about laughter, learning, sacrifice, giving, and togetherness.  And that was a lovely thought to me.  Because, it is easy to become caught up in the moment, whether it is ecstatic or tragic, and start to feel as if this is our whole life.  And yet, it isn’t.  The moment passes.  The extreme pain fades as healing occurs.  The laughter till you ache fades to sweet memories.  Then new moments occur, each also vivid and bright in the mind. 

If each rose would hold the voice of a year, and if I would think about what this new year would contain, I hope that this would be a sweet voice.  That it would be one of great health, joy, and wisdom. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Circuitous Route

I recently had an opportunity to go back to Ohio for a family reunion.  It was wonderful to see everyone, reveling in the laughter, the memories, a few tears, and lots of great food.  Driving each way eight hours makes for a long trip, and when people ask me here where I am going I say home.  Home… a complicated word for many.  I think of three things when I think of home, right now, future, and eternal.  Right now, my home is in a town that I had never heard of prior to moving here.  Musca…what?  I moved around a lot as a kid, so I was never sure how to answer the question – where are you from?  Well… at this age, it was this town and then that place at another age.  I’m not worried about my eternal home; heaven will be the perfect spot.  But, I do wonder about what home will be for me in the future. 
A place with a view, mountains, rivers, snow, beaches?  I don’t know there are so many possibilities.  And that is only the geography and climate.  What about the people, the culture, the neighbors?  Those are also really important.  I don’t know what that will look like or where it will be, on the other side of town or on the other side of the state.  But, the route is circuitous, meandering past potentials and pasts.  Isn’t it odd how things work, how we repeat some areas and then venture into new territories?  The trip back to Ohio was wonderful, a trip home.  Then, arrived back home in Iowa.  My next home, I don’t know – it’s rather exciting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Fajitas

I had chicken fajitas the other night, the smell of fajita seasoning, sautéing onions and green peppers permeated the kitchen.  The counter was full of containers with lettuce, olives, onions, sour cream, salsa, and cheese.  The smell hit me and my memory went back several years to fajitas in San Diego. 
It was an unexpected trip, coming out after my dad had emergency surgery while at a conference.  Trying to keep our costs down while there, my mom and I shared these enormous fajitas served at the hotel restaurant.  We would even have enough left over for another meal.  And the fajitas were good, packed with meat and dripping with this flavorful sauce. 
Our hostess at the restaurant, nearly every night there for a while, would take our order and we struck up conversations with her.  Mom and I were feeling pretty disconnected from everyone at this point, on the west coast without any contacts.  But, when we would finish up eating fajitas and ask for a box to take it back to the hotel room, we would find extra shells, meat, etc… tucked inside.  The gesture was small, the impact was enormous.   That small bit of love from a college student waitressing her way through to pay the bills, I pray that she is blessed back many many times over in her life.
So, I had fajitas the other night and they were really good.  They reminded me of that girl.  I wondered what she was doing, if she was still in California, and if she knew that she has an important impact on her world.