Friday, January 30, 2009

New Year Redo

The last day of the first month of 2009 is here, and I haven’t made my usual preparations for the New Year. So, I’ve decided to adjust my calendar just a tad.

I’ve included January as part of 2008; and I’ve deemed that February 1st is the first month of 2009. That means this year will have only 11 months instead of the usual 12.

People borrow all kinds of things including money, sugar and electric drills; then it’s pay- back time. I borrowed a month. Makes sense to me.

I’ve got to get busy and make those resolutions and clean out my files. I also need to take down the remaining Christmas lights in my front yard. The cedar pollen has been so bad that every time I spend more than 10 minutes outside I sneeze for the next 10 minutes.

I bet 2009 will go by even faster than 2008. But by 2010, everything will have evened out.

2008 take away 9…carry the one…I’m so glad I learned to borrow and subtract in the second grade!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Princess and the Pea

Could there be a pea somewhere in my new mattress? I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since it came into my life on January 2. How did I know that the latest and greatest mattress incarnation would keep me awake at night? I tried lots of mattresses in the store for a long time before I selected the one I bought. For lying around it was great; for sleeping it’s not so good.

Every night I wake up wondering if my new mattress is caving in. That plushy stuff is hard to get used to, especially after sleeping on the old traditional mattresses for a jillion years. After all, that’s why I got rid of my old one; there were dents and caved in spots in it.

The mattress came with a money-back guarantee. Problem is that the store mandates that you wait 60 days before that process can begin. Their data shows that people start adjusting to their new mattresses after 40 nights or so. After 60 days, the store figures the customer won't ever be satisfied.

I'm one of those customers. Last night I slept in the guest room on an inexpensive mattress that has been used fewer than 100 times in the last 15 years. I slept like a rock—or maybe a princess. I guess that's where I'll be sleeping until March 2!

Now this is a true story. And in case you’ve forgotten Hans Christian Andersen’s story about the Princess and the Pea, I’m including it here.

There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He traveled right around the world to find one, but there was always something wrong. There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them. So at last he had come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.

One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightninged and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night. In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it.

It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.

'Well we shall soon see if that is true,' thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses. This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept.

'Oh terribly bad!' said the princess. 'I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!'

They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin.

So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it.

Now this is a true story.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A stike, a spare and plenty left over!

When my daughter and I arrived at the bowling alley Saturday morning we found the birthday boy holding a bowling ball and chomping at the bits. “Nini, we are bowling!” my now 3-year-old grandson announced when he saw us. William was decked out in jeans, a T-Shirt and his famous red boots. “We’re bowling,” he repeated. “For my birthday!”

Indeed we were. Plans for this birthday bowling extravaganza had been in the works long before the Obama Inaugural Committee began its deliberations. William and I had been discussing bowling for months, every time we drove past Westgate Lanes—mostly about bowling ball colors. One Friday William would declare he wanted to bowl with a blue ball; by the next Friday, he had chosen a black ball; later he was certain that he wanted a green ball.

Last week he made a final decision, only days before his birthday celebration, and he called to let me know. “Hello Nini!” William said, happy as a lark. “I will bowl with a green and black ball. You will bowl with an orange ball.” And then he added, “That’s a great idea.”

It was a great idea. When I got to the bowling alley on Saturday, however, William was holding a bright orange ball. “Is that ball for me? I asked the excited bowler-in-waiting.

“No, Nini, this is my ball.” His mother broke in. “This is the special ball for very young children; they gave it to William when we checked in.” I resigned myself to using a red ball. Before we began our game, my daughter Noelle (Ya-Ya to William) presented him with his very own bowling shirt, complete with his name on it—and a bowling-ball water bottle. Then it was time for the big game!

William, still wearing his red cowboy boots since there were no bowling shoes in his size, went first. The mesh bumpers magically appeared on both sides of Lane 28 as William proudly dropped the orange ball in the vicinity of the lane. The ball found its target and slowly inched its way toward the pins at the end of the lane. William popped his thumb into his mouth and settled in for the wait. The slow-moving orange ball actually knocked down a few pins when it finally arrived at its destination.

William was thrilled. His mama (black ball), daddy (green ball), aunt (red ball) and I whooped and hollered; Baby Caroline (no ball)also chimed in.

One game was plenty for us for after a few rounds, William’s interest in who knocked down how many pins waned, and he became more interested in the squawking foul-line beeper, the score-keeping computers and his bowling-pin water bottle. But he made a remarkable show every time he dropped, rolled or nudged the orange ball down the lane. When our final scores were tallied, William’s was way higher than mine!

What a wonderful celebration for this wonderful little boy and his family. I’m glad we got some pictures of his early success. If, I say if William should ever make it big as a bowler, we’ll have proof that he started early—red boots and all.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Outward and Visible Symbols

We all keep them around — those little things that remind us of other things. Most married couples wear rings that, according to wedding ceremonies, represent “outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual bond. I come across my old wedding ring from time to time. It reminds me that I need to trade it in for money!

I recently took inventory of some of my most prized outward and visible symbols (OVS). My beloved pom-pom Barbie doll is a very important OVS to me these days for she recognizes and celebrates all my accomplishments, even when they go unnoticed by others. By pressing or squeezing a few buttons on the apparatus attached to Barbie’s back, I can get Ms. Barbie to twirl, throw up her pom-poms and do some high kicks — all the while cheering, “Good job, Mary Gordon! Way to go, Mary Gordon!” I must admit that I provide the cheers while Barbie is cavorting, dressed in her very stylish cheerleading outfit. Still, I take her praise to heart.

My current most valuable OVS is a picture I took on a beautiful July morning after my two-year-old grandson William and I had harvested the day's tomato crop. We had followed our precise ritual of picking the tomatoes, putting them in a green bowl, washing them, and eating them. I snapped the picture after he had removed his treasured red boots and before he moved on to the washing and eating stages. This picture captures the essence of being a grandmother and reminds me that "the only two things money can’t buy — that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” (Thanks, Guy Clark!)

Rocks used to dominate my OVS collection. I’ve repented for hauling off some big rocks from construction sites that had been cordoned off with yellow tape. Those rocks remind me that my house will never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. A small rock that I pulled from the Colorado River around Bend, Texas sits on a glass shelf above my kitchen sink. When I brought it home as an OVS five years ago, it had some major, major significance. I can’t remember what it was. Now it reminds me that I am never alone: I’ve got my rock to keep me company.

Hanging on my bedroom door is a 4” x 6”

Mexicana Airlines baggage tag that I’ve kept from a trip to Mexico in 1988. It says,” EQUIPAJE EN CONEXION.” It’s an OVS that I can save a Mexicana Airlines baggage tag for 20 years, and that there are connecting pathways everywhere.

When I’m feeling unconnected and I’m wondering about the meaning of life, a quick glance at an OVS lifts my spirits like nothing can. “Good job, Mary Gordon!”

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The old is out. The new is in.

The truck pulled up right on schedule on January 2, 2009. Two ample-size delivery men knocked on my front door and identified themselves — as if the Lack’s delivery truck wasn’t enough proof that they were here to help usher in the New Year.

“I guess you want us to carry off the old one,” remarked one of the men.
“Yep,” I responded. “You know what they say.”
“What do they say?” asked the other man.
“Out with the old; in with the new.” I replied. Never had that cliché held more meaning.

I locked my screen door in the open position. The men marched into my house, and I led them to the room at the end of the hall.

“This one is definitely old,” declared one of the men. “But it’s in better shape than others we’ve seen.” Within minutes, the old was out, and it was time for the new.

The shiny plastic wrap glimmered in the sun as the new box spring and mattress came off the lift at the back of the truck. Once the men had the two pieces inside, they tore off the plastic and very carefully laid the mattress on top of the box spring.

I signed my name for the first time in 2009, acknowledging that I had received the purchase. As soon as the truck pulled away, I bounded back inside my house, took a running leap and landed right in the middle brand-new, guaranteed, plush new queen-size mattress.

I know this is the perfect way to start the New Year! And I’m hoping that the 2,900 hours I spend in this new bed in 2009 will allow me to wake refreshed and ready to complete all the resolutions I’ve made.

I’m also hoping that 2009 is filled with nights of good sleep and sweet dreams!