Weeding Through…

Thought of the day: A man said to the Buddha, “I want happiness.” Buddha said: First remove “I”, that’s ego…then remove “want” that’s desire. See now, you are left with only happiness.

The Poodle sat in the driveway patiently waiting for his morning walk as I surveyed for the hundredth time this week my abysmal lawn (or lack thereof).  I could feel a slow boil of my blood as I looked at the sea of weeds, which was then followed by despair.  My Libran inclination towards aesthetic perfection (or as near as possible) is being seriously challenged. 

This mess of a yard is all too much….

I could, on this brisk spring morning, substitute a couple of words in this Buddha quote:

I want all the %$!# weeds in my yard to disappear.

I want a nice lawn.

Yes, dear reader….I see what I need to do….

 

 

Happiness is: A geranium bloom

Later, after our morning walk, I spent an hour or so raking and picking weeds. I decided that I needed music to keep my brain busy from blame and judgement. As I weeded and bagged yard debris to an eclectic mix of Baroque, Sting, Keith Urban, New Age and Gato Barbieri, I couldn’t help but chuckle out aloud: The mix of music genres was as eclectic as the variety of weeds in the yard.

Sigh.

I look at the bags of mulch piled high near the garage. I am seized by a moment of overwhelming fatigue. Still tired from spreading mulch the weekend before, I’m not sure I–nor my back–is up to the task of yet thirty more bags.

I could be doing a hundred other things right now, Even ironing sounds more inviting than hauling and spreading organic dirt.

But wait, says the voice in my head.

You’re outside on a perfectly lovely spring day. So stop your belly-aching and enjoy the fresh air and the sound of those wind chimes gently playing just for you….

Azalea perfection

So I don’t have grass, I’ve got a sea of weeds, and I’ve got a boatload of work to do (both in and out of this challenging house) but I do have color!

As I stand in the middle of my pathetic looking back yard I pull the earbuds out of my ears so that I can marvel in silence over my pots of geraniums and my two supremely healthy azaleas. As the sun peaks out from under a cloud and a gentle breeze tickles the Japanese maple, I spy a butterfly …the first I’ve seen this spring. Somehow watching the butterfly dance over a verbena flower lifts my fatigue and too the feeling of hopelessness over the state of the yard. I’ve just got to “weed through it” as it were…and It’s going to take time but all things worth the effort do.

Remove the “I”….remove the “want”….and happiness remains.

There is bliss in that. 🙂



Happy Pet Day

It’s National Pet Day so I couldn’t pass up an ever-so-brief homage to my poodle-love. He’ll be eleven in November so indeed, he is getting grayer and moving slower with a hitch in his giddy-up. And yet, he can hear me whisper “cheese” from a mile away (I seems) and when he sees a squirrel his limp suddenly disappears and he’s off with the speed of a Cheetah!  He is a bit more curmudgeonly too; just yesterday he snapped at me when I made him get out of the flower bed because he was trying to dig a hole to the next county over!  After a stern (but loving) rebuke from me and a time-out in his bed so that I could finish planting a few herbs I could tell he felt bad.  As I sat looking over the newspaper, he came to set his graying snout upon my thigh with “I’m sorry Mom” eyes.  

Swoon.

Oh, how he has brought so much joy to my life.  I still pinch myself after all these years….

He Chose Me!

I love you Brando.

p.s.  My boy….I know the time will come…as certain as the sun shines and the stars twinkle in the night sky…

Yet, I cannot imagine a life without you!  I will be a mess for certain….

Kind readers…I know I am not alone in that thought. You feel it too, N’est-ce Pas?  (He is a French poodle after all).

It goes without saying; Our pets enrich our lives in a thousand and one ways.  I’ve got to believe that when that Rainbow Bridge time does come, the unconditional love our beloved pets gave us, not matter what, will keep our hearts light with love and laughter as we hold their memories dear… through whatever life throws at us.  Besides, as Helen Keller said:

What we once enjoyed we can never lose.  All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

There is always bliss in that.

 

The gray is showing and yes, he’s slowing….
Nearly 11 years ago, his first day home in Southern California
My Happy Boy
Guarding our “middle-earth” Alabama home

Meh to Spring? Nah…

Happy Spring

“Happy spring equinox,” I say cheerily to The Poodle as I get ready to walk him out the door. “The sun is shining and it’s gonna be a lovely walk.  Let’s make it a nice long one, around the lake,” I continue as I grab keys and insure I’ve got a poop bag or two.

“Alexa…what’s the temperature?”

“It’s 28 degrees,” was her reply.

“Oh for heaven’s sake…enough of this cold already!” I grumble as I switch to a warmer coat and don hat, gloves and search for my favorite scarf, a blue wool one that hubby says matches my eyes.

The Poodle sits patiently as I get myself together.  He knows the drill.  I look him over as I consider whether to subject him to his Pendleton coat.  I think he rather loathes it.   He’s still looking mighty goofy from his last grooming appointment– so goofy that I’d swear his eyes are pleading;  No photos on Facebook please!   His usual groomer–a lovely Asian woman who had the perfect touch with my boy– hurt her back late last year and now I hear she may not return to work.  A new gal has taken over and …well….she doesn’t have the touch.   I decide to forgo the coat which I’m certain makes my pooch happy.

To keep warm I started out fast, with The Poodle struggling to keep up.  It doesn’t take long into our walk down into the woods to realize that plan B would be in order.  Short walk it is.

As I walk without music on this occasion, my mind wanders… and wonders.

Still holding on to winter…

Some trees are starting to open to the perpetual promise of spring while other trees are late to the party with their brown, dry withered leaves from last year still stubbornly clinging to otherwise bare branches.  And how is it that they still cling after the long winter with plenty of days marked by fiercely strong, bitterly cold winds?

As we round a bend and head up a steep hill back into the housing area my eye catches something blue up in a tree.

Seriously? I say out aloud as I get closer and realize what it is. It’s a bag of dog poop that someone had to have literally thrown from higher up the hill. How is it that someone was this rude? Probably a kid walking their dog. I suppose I should be thankful that the poop was picked up (and I am) ….but still. The poop bag in the trees gets my thoughts on a negative roll. Inexplicably (or not) now I’m thinking of all the recent headlines.

My heart aches for New Zealand while my blood boils over the college admission scandal. And don’t get me started on AOC in D.C. nor Pelosi’s push to lower the voting age to sixteen. I’m no academic on teen brains but I think of my children when they were that age….not to mention all the neighbors’ kids back in the day…or even the teens at the swimming pool just last summer. Lord have mercy I seriously don’t want them voting for our next president! Adolescent brains undergo a crucial development spurt between the ages of 11 and 19. As one author, Sheryl Feinstein, Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress, puts it: “…Just as a teen may go through an awkward growth spurt, new cognitive skills and competencies may come in leaps and stutters.” Plainly, the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t full developed until their early twenties. In the teen brain, the amygdala whose role in the brain is the processing of memory, decision-making and, importantly, emotional responses (such as fear, aggression, and anxiety) is more highly activated during heat-of-the moment situations. The teen’s pre-frontal cortex–the complex cognitive, rational part of the brain–isn’t ready to take control over emotional processing which explains why many teens do profoundly stupid and/or silly things.

Sigh. I suppose I shouldn’t get my knickers in a twist over what goes on in the world. This Too Shall Pass is my favorite mantra these days. And yes, adults do profoundly stupid and insane things too. Lunacy, in one form or another, has been around since time immemorial.

In teen-speak: apathetic, uninterested, or indifferent to the subject at hand

Meh. My senior brain is tired of (most) of it all. So much so that I’m distancing myself more and more from the news of the day. It’s such a tremendous drag on heart and soul. I’d much rather curl up with The Poodle and bury my head in a book.

Ah…but wait! Worry not. I can’t say I’m “Meh” to Spring! The promise of warm days ahead, flowers in full bloom and trees full of leaves makes me happy and thankful to bear witness to all that is good and beautiful.

There is bliss in that.

Mellow Monday

A view in the Woods

Winter continues in my neck of the woods. I won’t complain as we were spared the wintry mix of snow and sleet that had been the forecast over the weekend. However, I’ll readily admit that I am more than tired of gloves, hats and bulky coats. 

Even though I had on all the aforementioned, including a wool scarf, I grumbled during the first few minutes of my morning walk. A cold wind stung my cheeks as I headed into the woods with The Poodle. As we neared the top of the path that leads down into the woods to our two lakes The Poodle pulled, hard. Something in the air had sparked his entire body into keen attention. A soft growl followed by barking broke my focus on the music I was listening to.  The Poodle had his snout practically glued to the muddy path, sniffing like crazy, as he continued to pull.  “Heel,” I said as I looked all around and pulled back on his leash.

Please let it not be the woman with the two Labs, one black and the other yellow.

My boy is as friendly as can be with most dogs…and humans too. But it baffles me that he’ll go all-out Cujo when he sees those two. And it is just those two Labs; he’s happily cavorted with plenty of Labs over these last ten years.

Thankfully, the Labs are nowhere in sight. Perhaps it was a fox that had  him go all Tasmanian devil on me. It’s happened on numerous occasions during our walks in the woods. The first time it happened, just after we had moved to Northern Virginia, it scared me witless. The Poodle was agitated beyond belief, practically pulling my arm out of my socket. For the life of me I couldn’t see what was causing his melt-down. Images of being mauled by a bear (yes, apparently there are bears living in suburbia!) made my heart race as I all but sprinted out of the woods to “safety.” Yep folks….there’s “chicken” in my blood…..

Whoosh. It was over in a flash. The Poodle slowed, as if terribly disappointed, walking once again calmly at my side.  I stopped to pet him rubbing my hands over the length of his back.

“I don’t know what it was that got you in such a tizzy my love, but you are such a good boy.”  He stares at me intently with eyes that are milky with age. For a brief moment my heart is gripped with a certain sadness: my Poodle love will not be with me forever.

But we are here now…together came the thought, as if carried in on a feather.

So yes, the remainder of our walk had me centered inward more than usual.  I’ll attribute my lost-in-thought walk to Hearts of Space (a streaming music service that my brother-in-law got me hooked on several years ago). For the fourth time within a twenty-four hour period I found myself pulled in by this weeks’ music compilation: Specifically program number 1207, titled A Fragile Beauty. This particular playlist features “ambient chamber and choral harmonies for the winter season.”  Eleni Karaindrou’s Love Theme and Johann Johannsson’s  A Pile of Dust https://youtu.be/L1pnayWa4dYl compelled me to stop and gaze at the seemingly weak winter sun as it struggled to shine through a thick haze of gray clouds. A shiver shook me awake. I must have mellowed inward far too long as The Poodle had decided to plop himself down on a mess of muck and who knows what else as I stood in the morning quiet.

Oh dear….we’re gonna freeze if I have us stand here any longer. Let’s get home. Kibble for you and coffee for me awaits.

The serene, melancholy and ethereal playlist was really a perfect accompaniment on a cold winter morning but it made me pine mightily for spring.  And so, the universe delivered for on the walk back towards home I spied the beginnings of tulips and crocuses too, pushing up through frozen earth.  Yes! There is the promise of color in the weeks ahead and this lifts my spirits on this, my mellow Monday.

Then around another bend, there’s a pop of color which seals the morning walk with not a promise but a fact.  Winter, as in all things…shall pass.

As torn as one can be about the nature of impermanence, there is bliss in that.

A sign of Spring!

Love Notes

 

 

Alas, not the written kind folks.   I’ve haven’t gotten too many of those in my nearly sixty-two years.  Lamentable….I know….right?! Not to worry though as I certainly haven’t let it define my life.  In fact, the few I have received (which I could name on one hand with digits left over) were special enough to make up for any perceived scarcity in the love note department.

What I am referring to on this day though are musical notes of love.  I’ve been listening to evocative romantic tunes since before my feet hit the floor this morning.   An eclectic mix of tunes from classical music (Chopin, Debussy and Bizet just to name a few) to Chris Botti and his trumpet, Keith Urban (oh where did that come from?!) and then various cedar flute selections filled the house.  Later, it would be Hearts of Space music with  David Darling’s cello that would accompany me into the woods on my morning walk and afterwards Tibetan Bells helped me to zone out for a few minutes.  In effect, my heart has been all over the place on this day after Valentines Day…from happy to heavy and all the notes in-between.

I’ll attempt to explain but honestly, the right words elude me….

My turning (and tuning) in-ward began yesterday actually, on Valentines Day.  It started early with a doorbell ring, which naturally made The Poodle bark like crazy.  He could see who was at the door and was positively busting with Poodle joy.  I had just stepped out of the shower and was, admittedly, annoyed by all the ruckus.   When The Poodle barks it often rattles my gray matter and tests mightily my patience.  I quickly donned a robe and off I went to see what had my pooch in such a tizzy.

Through the window, I could see a car pulling out of my driveway. The Poodle’s snout was squashed against the window as he whined and barked in happy excitement.

Ah…. Okay.  I see. 

My nephew, on this way to school, had left something on my front doorstep.

I opened the door to find a perfect pink rose surrounded by lovely baby’s breath.

Swoon. My first love note of the day!

My heart swelled and feelings of love kept my steps light as a feather as I breezed through morning chores humming to Coldplay and, again…. Keith Urban.  There was a brief text consisting of a string of love emojis from my husband, who was away on business travel, and even a Happy Valentines text–the first in sixteen years– from my son who continues to be mired in difficulties that make my heart break.

And then a whisper…through cyberspace…broke the spell of love notes….

I was not surprised by the email from my beloved auntie Linda;  sis and I knew it would be coming.  Linda’s husband–my favorite uncle, Uncle Budd, was expected to take his last breath imminently.  He had been under hospice care for some time.  As I read her words I became aware that I was holding my breath….

I closed my eyes and let out a long and slow exhale.  So, I decided to sit for a spell with The Poodle curled in my lap, abandoning what I had planned for the rest of the day.

I simply wanted space to remember….

In crystal clarity I can see the twinkle in his piercing blue eyes…and, I feel his loving hugs–surprisingly strong for a man of his advanced years–hugs that he gave me when I saw him last, in 2014, on the occasion of his 90th birthday.   This man, a loving and devoted husband and father, served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  He was the epitome of The Greatest Generation.    A soulful cello piece plays in the background  as I think about that visit with my uncle.  A single tear rolls down my cheek….followed by another….and another….

And there it wasregret bubbled to the surface.

I had too few moments with my uncle because  I had allowed–consciously and unconsciously–the baggage of a wrecked childhood to define me for too long….and then later, as if awakened from a slumber of a hundred years, life and geographic distance got in the way of regular visits.  I wipe the tears with the sleeve of my shirt and caress The Poodle.  “We’re all going to go,” I whisper…”there is no time to waste.”

How blessed I feel to have lovely things to think about…memories forever cherished with Uncle Budd.  There were a string of brief visits we shared in Carefree, Arizona when I’d be visiting my mother and he’d pilot his plane in to a private airport literally around the corner from where my mother lived.  I cherished those visits with my Aunt and Uncle.  We’d imbibe on good wine and catch up on life including their stories of travel and adventures but more importantly, I treasured the loving shoulders to cry on (and cry on them I did).  I hungered for their unconditional love and understanding along with Uncle Budd’s bear hugs that sent rays of brilliant sunshine straight to the ever-present hole in my heart.    And, I’ll never forget that long June weekend some fifteen years ago to the last frontier….Alaska –the place where my aunt and uncle called home for many years.  Rocket-man and I had decided to run  the Anchorage marathon.  I didn’t even need to finish the sentence when I had called to ask if we could come to “hang out” while we ran a marathon.  My aunt and uncle made me feel like a rock star that weekend…

so now….

Before us great Death stands
Our fate held close within his quiet hands.
When with proud joy we lift Life’s red wine
To drink deep of the mystic shining cup
And ecstasy through all our being leaps—
Death bows his head and weeps.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Uncle Budd and I on his 90th Birthday in Seattle Washington

This gentle giant, in my eyes, has now passed.  His beautiful soul now makes the journey upwards –into the blue skies where his physical body once flew.  Though death had a duty to take him he lives on, I believe, through all the souls he touched during his 94 years on this earth.

There is, through salty tears aplenty,  a certain comfort in that.

I love you Uncle Budd.  Rest assured we will all take good care of your loved ones here as best we can until it is their time to take the journey to be at your side.

 

Low Country High

Bonaire Sunset

I’m back.

Mostly.

Part of me lies at 40 feet where moments of awe and joy are with me still even after returning home late Sunday. I’ve got a raging head cold which fortunately began on the  day of our return –literally mid-air–from our “low-country” island paradise.  No worries though; honestly, my pounding head has not dampened my spirits one bit.

So….we are back from six days of scuba diving in the Caribbean;  the lovely island of Bonaire to be specific. The last time I visited this pearl was seventeen years ago.  Discovered around 1499, this tiny gem lies 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela and is neighbor to nearby Aruba and Curacao (together, the three of them form what are called the ABC Islands which are the western Lesser Antilles).    Boniare is roughly 24 miles long and between three and seven miles wide.  It is said that the name Bonaire is derived from the Caquetio word Bonay, which means low country.  The Caquetio, a branch of now extinct Arawak natives (indigenous peoples of South America and the Caribbean) who lived in northwestern Venezuela along the shores of Lake Maracaibo are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of  Bonaire (as well as Aruba and Curacao), arriving in dug-out canoes around 1000 A.D.   Archeological evidence of the Caquetio culture has been found in Kralendijk (Bonaire’s capital) and near the shallow, glass-like Lac Bay.   Alas, we were too consumed with scuba diving to visit the caves where rock paintings and petroglyphs from this ancient civilization are still evident.  Perhaps a third visit?

The diving, though not without challenges (namely equipment failures), was simply amazing.  However, I’ll have to admit to an irritation that nearly made me come un-done.   I completely bombed on my first day the one skill that I thought I had mastered during my pool refresher class.

Yep.  I could not clear my mask!

And yes…full disclosure….I had a panic attack.

I didn’t see that coming…..

Fortunately for me (or rather, my ego) no one witnessed the frantic, flailing red-head just of off the pier in scarcely twelve feet of water.  I couldn’t see a blasted thing through my flooded mask, so I panicked because not only is mask-clearing a necessary skill, it was one that I had thought I had pretty much mastered.  Now, moments before we are set to embark on our first boat dive to about 60-70 feet, I clearly was not prepared.

My mind was clear enough in my panic to inflate my BCD (Buoyancy Compensator Device) full throttle (filling it with air) so that I could float on my back and chill myself out.  It took a moment or two of floating in the turquoise blue water before I got my head back on straight and tried again….and again, and again.    It wasn’t until day three of our trip that I found out my mask was–in a word–defective: Rocket-man, a skilled mask clearer, could never get it to de-fog (clear) either!  Turns out it was a brand that made the company that developed it to go belly up some seventeen years ago because, well, the mask didn’t work for folks! How I was discovering the problem now after using it all those years ago perplexes me to no end.

The issue was finally remedied by Marcos, one of the dive guides.  Heavily inked and with zero body fat, this quiet soul left his home in Venezuela some twenty years ago to live in Bonaire.  “Hugo Chavez ruined my country,” he said.   He would be correct as it certainly paved the way for the state of affairs in Venezuela today.  Marcos aches for what is happening in his home country but acknowledges that life has been infinitely better for him since leaving it.   Anyhow, he heard me complaining to Rocket-man and came to my rescue (as it pertains to me, it would be the first of two damsel-in-distress moments, but that’s for another time).   He kindly let me use another mask for the rest of the week without charging me a rental fee.  We certainly appreciated the small break as we had already racked up rental fees since we had to ditch some of our own gear which, for the record, had been serviced just before our trip and worked in the pool session but strangely malfunctioned on day one of our scuba adventure.  Go figure!

Anyhow, I practically did  somersaults of joy at sixty feet as I was finally able to see clearly all the spectacular underwater sights.  For instance, there was the vibrant orange seahorse like this fellow:

Image courtesy of DesiBucket.com

….and, there were Moray eels and Flamingo Tongues (brightly colored sea snails).  There were also pretty Parrot Fish, schools of Sergeant Majors, and beautiful Butterfly Fish as well as Angel Fish, menacing-looking Barracuda, Flounder, enormous Tarpons, Trumpet fish, and even a turtle sighting. And that’s just fish.   The dizzying variety of underwater landscape from different types of coral to sea fans, etc. …In all, simply too many spectacular beauties to recount.

For all the sea life to love there is one fish however, that while strikingly cool in appearance, is cause for a certain loathing.  It’s a fish that is causing a great deal of harm to the reef system –not to mention the pain that can be inflicted from their venomous spines.   That would be Lionfish.  These fish are not native to the lovely Caribbean waters.  They are threatening  the ecosystem in the Caribbean as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the southeast coast of the U.S.   Unfortunately, we saw lots of these fish which are actually natives of the Indo-Pacific.  In fact, every time we saw a Lionfish, fellow diver, Karen–who was positively amazing at maintaining neutral buoyancy I might add–would flip the bird at it.   I’ll confess to laughing in my mask the first time she did it because… well…it’s not everyday you see someone flipping the bird underwater.

Cool but dangerous

Certainly striking in appearance, Lionfish have no natural enemies.  One of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet they are carnivores, feeding on small crustaceans and fish, including red snapper and grouper which obviously affects commercial fishing.  While it’s not entirely known how these fish wound up so far from their natural habitat it is speculated that people have been dumping these fish from home aquariums.  Now there is sanctioned hunting of Lionfish (permit required) and in 2010 the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) even initiated a campaign, “The Lionfish as Food,” to get people to eat the fish.  Apparently, though the fish as some eighteen venomous spines when properly filleted, the naturally venomous fish is safe to eat.

I’ll stick to Salmon, Tuna, and snapper thank you very much.

My words in this blog-space simply cannot capture the magnificence of what I saw….what I felt.  But when I close my eyes I can still see in surprising vividness, the sun subtly filtering through the water some forty feet above me… and there I am in a moment of quiet stillness, not affected one bit by sensory overload of a million things to see, but rather taken completely out of my head, stripped of past and future…in the now… and my soul is bursting with bliss and wonder as my body is surrounded by a school of stunningly brilliant  Blue Tang  (image from: By Tewy – Own work, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1382534).

Blue Tang

Parrot Fish

There’s more to recount of my island week to be sure.  In fact, I’m holding tight to every experience, even those moments of high anxiety.  As I sit here at my desk staring out the window bracing for another cold-front set to come our way, I’m certain dear reader that you’ll understand…. I’m in no hurry whatsoever to let go of my low-country high.

Island time bliss

 

Wintry Mix

 

Twenty-one days into the new year and what pops into my head on this frigidly cold winter day is: Wintry Mix. That seems to best define the past few weeks….a mix of snow, wind, and rain…and good and well, not so good.

Winter berry bliss

The good includes sleeping in (rare for me) and days of delicious soups and stews, homemade bread and chicken pot pie….popcorn and Netflix movie afternoons and even a movie theater outing where we…gulp…received senior citizen discounts.   And then, there were romps in the snow.

Yes, we had a lovely snow accumulation a week ago. In fact, my back still aches from shoveling a good six inches of accumulation of the beautiful white stuff from the long, long driveway that constitutes our “pipe-stem” of four homes. Rocket-man shoveled the most as I was somewhat preoccupied with The Poodle.  I had let him out, off-leash, wearing his smart coat of course, to frolic in the snow.  And what fun he had….he was a maniac, running to and fro with unbridled joy stopping only on occasion to  stick his snout into the cold snow for lord knows what….

Cannot imagine what he’s hoping to find…..

 

I also spent a lovely afternoon playing in the snow with my nephew.   Within walking distance from the house is a substantial hill that is mighty popular with the kids…and adults too.  However, it’s just on the backside of a small dam to a man-made lake which means lots of large rocks at the base of the hill.  Images of broken limbs, or worse, popped into my head as I watched kids sled down the hill  some barely missing the rocks that could literally break their momentum as well as their noggin.  To decrease the chances of injury some parents parked themselves well in front of the rocks to catch their kids.  Sis and I did this as well while marveling over the magnificent blue sky and the unexpected sighting of a bald eagle flying from his lofty perch a stones’ throw away from all the energetic play in the snow.

“Come on Zia CC. Try just one ride down with me!” my nephew pleaded more than once.

My favorite little man on the planet.

“Are you kidding me?  Our combined weight will surely send us crashing into those rocks; your mama cannot possibly stop our momentum,” I told him.  “Plus, your Zia isn’t a spring chicken anymore.”  I’m certain the latter was lost on my nephew.

“Please CC!   It’ll be fun. Just dig your heels in to slow the sled down.  You won’t get hurt.”

I chewed on his request for a good five more rounds of him sledding down the hill and trudging back up.  Live in the moment, a little voice said.  And this is a moment that will create a memory not just for you but  for your favorite little man.   So, I surprised him by accepting his request.

“Just once….for you,” I said as I climbed on the sled behind him, doing my best not to show the terror in my eyes as I stared down the long slope of the mountain….I mean, hill.

And so,  before I had a chance to chicken out away we went…. down the length of the hill careening perfectly to the right off the sled before reaching my waiting sis.  Naturally, it was a blast.  For two nanoseconds I was a ten year-old kid!  And yes, it was thrilling enough for me to practically crawl back up the steep slope and sled down again.   Later we toasted to our snow day fun (and the fact that no bones were broken in the process) at a packed Starbucks.

So what possibly could be not so good?

For starters. the partial government shut down still drags on affecting thousands of folks to include my sister’s family.  It’s well past ridiculous.  I wish the two sides would quit the political game-playing, and simply come to the table and start seriously doing their jobs.

And, though quite the first world problem …I am still lamenting the loss of a diamond ear stud the day before Christmas.  Alas, I’ve retraced my steps over half of Northern Virginia without luck.  What a sight I must have appeared to those who witnessed a crazy woman, red hair all askew, at World Market…searching on hands and knees (yep…that was me!).  Anything that even faintly gleamed made my heart stop in hope.  Note to you kind readers: their floors are beyond filthy!

And last but not least…perhaps even more tragic than a lost diamond earring….

I broke my mouth guard.

The Earth stopped on its axis, I am sure of it, for a good long minute as the horror of the moment unfolded.

Laugh not folks.

It accidentally got knocked off the nightstand and fell to the wood floor and broke into several pieces.

I have a love/hate relationship with that piece of plastic in my mouth at night.  But after breaking teeth (which required two dental implants) it’s a vital “partner” in my night-time ritual.   Not to mention the fact that it’s $400 to replace it.

Not to worry.  Tropical bliss happens, next week.  Stay tuned.