Monday, June 27, 2011

Discovering Who You Are

What we are is God's gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.  ~Eleanor Powell

Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right.  ~Henry Ford

People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.  ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

The simplest questions are the most profound.  Where were you born?  Where is your home?  Where are you going?  What are you doing?  Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change.  ~Richard Bach

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Ties That Bind

I was recently in Maine and had the opportunity to see a dear friend of our family named Donna.  Her laughter was music to my ears and her stories were even better.  Many have proclaimed me to be a good storyteller but she could beat me any day of the week and certainly twice on Sunday.  I do not know when I have last seen her or her husband face to face, but the tie is secure having been knotted in love, and I doubt it will be unraveled anytime soon.

I am sad to say that this is not true in regards to some of my extended family members.  Branches of that tree have fallen off and gotten lost and I feel a bit sick about it.  My outlook on such things has changed since my illness and perhaps as I have grown older.  I realize that relationships are fragile gifts that should be handled with care and nurtured to ensure their survival. 

The phrase "the tie that binds" is commonly used now and often in reference to family.  It is believed to be derived from an old Protestant Hymn.  I have provided a portion of this Hymn below and as you can see it holds more meaning than just that of family. 

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.


If there is anyone whom you have not seen in a good amount of time I strongly encourage you to look them up.  Your heart will be uplifted for the time well spent.  I know that mine was.

I love you Donna and Herman!

Susan

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The hot dog bun

If you have ever lived in one area of the country or world and then moved to another you know from personal experience that there are things that are awesome about where you grew up and then things that are not so awesome about your new digs.  One such disappointment for me is the hot dog bun.  That and the discovery that Chinese food is remarkably different everywhere you go, but that is a blog post for another day.
For those of you not from New England you might be surprised to learn that there is a big difference in something so simple.  Yes, a big difference.  I suppose that some of you are thinking right now that people with cancer should not eat hot dogs due to the nitrates and that is no doubt true as there has been a lot in the news recently about that.  I don't really eat hot dogs very much and have not even shopped for them at Whole Foods, but while in Maine, I admit I have eaten a few natural casing hot dogs and lobster rolls.  I have eaten them on this trip and I have enjoyed them largely due to the New England hot dog bun on which they were served, but now I digress.

You see, here, the hot dog bun is split ingeniously across the top so that you may lay the dog and condiments inside and it all stands upright and keeps things from spilling out.  Elsewhere, the roll is cut across the middle like a hamburger bun and is rather clumsy, in my humble opinion or like the younger generation likes to text...imho.

the other kind of bun split in the middle
Another beautiful aspect of this hot dog bun, for those of you foodies who appreciate food, is that the sides are nice and flat and can be grilled in a pan with some butter for a nice little crunch.  Not so, with those other buns.  I can hear it now...some of you think that I have completely lost my mind.  Sigh.  Maybe so, or perhaps I am just getting older and picking up on things I might not have noticed as I was racing around in my younger, more hectic days.
 
Crab Meat on a Hot Dog Bun

 Here is what I know, the taste of home is an important thing.  It is celebratory.  It is comforting.  It is a piece of you and it is missed when you do not have it.  I know that you all can not jump on a plane today but perhaps you can find some way to be good to yourself even if it is to look at some pictures of family that will warm your heart. 

Susan
 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Love Gifts

Red Camp is the Audet Camp
Yellow Camp owned by my Grandmother's sister
 Last Monday I was feeling the love for my precious Grammie and Grampy and my favorite place on earth when I accompanied my female relatives to the lakeside town in the state of Maine called China.  It is a wondrous thing to tread in a place where generations of your family members have trod and quite a special thing to visit a place you have been visited all of your life.  As I looked it over I could hardly believe that I have been visiting this place for forty years.

My grandparents are in their eighties now and is is a labor of love to help them open "camp", as we call it, affectionately for the season.  Winter is hard on a summer cottage in Maine and with brooms and buckets of water we scrubbed and cleaned.  We dusted and vacuumed and cleared out cobwebs.  We made beds with freshly laundered linens.  We washed out cub boards and cleaned all the windows.  It is very true that many hands make work light and in no time at all we had gotten that "camp" into fine summer readiness. 

It is our gathering place and it calls to us when the air turns warm.  I can hear the whisper no matter where I am but I hear it the loudest when I am in Maine.  Years ago our family, actually extended family, had an entire grouping of cottages on China Lake but those have given way to the times and now are owned by strangers.  When my mother was a child summers were spent in the presence of family who stayed there and played there all summer long year after year.

I am sad to say that on Monday when everyone was giving their love gifts to my grandparents I was able to give the least, having been sick as of late. I was not able to work as long or as hard as the others.  I wish with all of my being that my contribution could have been the largest portion because it would have better reflected the love that I feel in my heart for them and for that place..."camp"..my favorite place.  Opening up camp could never be work for me because it feels more like a privilege but then I suppose that this is the way that love gifts are supposed to feel.

Grammie and Grampy, I love you both so much.  Thank you for the years and years of enjoyment that you have given me and the happy memories I have of being at camp.

Susan

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

God Wants you to Know...Facebook Application

... that God has an important purpose for you, and made everything possible for you to succeed. That's not to say it's an easy purpose, or a convenient one. It might very well seem hard or even impossible, but it only looks that way. The truth is that one day you will look back and see how all the pieces fit together. And how your life has been a complete and utter success
 
Thanks Roxanne!!  What a good one!
 
Susan

Monday, June 6, 2011

Murphy's Law

If you look up Murphy's law on Wikipedia it states that it is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong".

I don't subscribe to Murphy's law but it was feeling sort of true on June 1st when we traveled to Maine with my two year old son.  My father, mother, and I were very excited about having a direct flight from Denver to Boston.  That is practically unheard of from Colorado and it was going to really shorten the traveling day...or so we thought.

We had begun our descent when all of a sudden we could feel the plane begin to ascend rather then descend.  I have flown into Logan airport before and I could tell that we were circling.  Within a few minutes this was confirmed by the pilot who informed us that really bad thunderstorms were making things nasty below.   After awhile we were re-routed and the pilot announced that we were going to land at Bradley, Airport.

Immediately the entire plane was a-buzz with chatter.  Everyone was talking about where Bradley might be.  The woman sitting next to me had a map and we began to pour over it.  We found no Bradley Airport in Massachusetts.  Next, she pulled out a travel book.  We found Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut. I sank back in my seat and depression hit me square in the face.  If we had arrived at our normal time it would still have been until about 11 pm that evening before we would have reached our stopping point. 

When we landed in Hartford the pilot announced that we were in luck and that they were going to allow us to deplane but that we could not go through security as we had no boarding pass to return with.  There was a TV on and soon the word spread that there were tornados touching down in the area and certainly the weather was bad.  The flight crew let us know that we would be updated at 8 pm but then we were given the signal to board.  The pilot informed us that we would try to get in the air at 8:15 pm when the lifted bad weather grounding was lifted and try to get us back to Boston.

We were delayed on the runway by an electrical storm and then again once when we landed at Boston.  By the time we landed, de-planed, got our luggage, took the shuttle to the rental car and then drove as far as we could and stopped it was 12:30 am.  This was a far cry from the original 5:30 pm arrival time in Boston but the crying was far from over.  The next morning in Kittery, Maine we got up and began to get ready to drive to pick up my sister in Auburn, as my Dad showered my mother offered to go out and get him some clean clothes.  When she opened up the trunk she realized that we had forgotten a suitcase at the airport in Boston.  She stood there for a minute staring at the trunk in disbelief then came inside to deliver the bad news.

We loaded up and drove into Boston to get the suitcase.  We got a little lost last night leaving and we got a little lost trying to get back in.  All told it was pretty uneventful and soon we were back on our way to Tracey's house.  Once we arrived we had a tour of Tracey and Joe's fabulous apartment that is quite large and I was impressed by the stunning beauty of her fish tank.  I spend some time doing a little creative organization of the trunk and miracle of miracles made room for everything and we were on our way again.  We finally arrived at our final destination which is our Maine house and linked on this website if you want to take a gander and despite that we were all pretty beat we were still joking and laughing and trying to make the most of it.

Sweet Rest At The End Of Long Travels
I knew when we landed that I was pretty much toast.  I had lost my ability to carry our bags or manage my son and informed my parents of this.  We arranged for a wheelchair and we pushed through.  It is really important when you are dealing with an illness that causes fatigue that you respect your limits.  This is especially important when travelling because you are at greater risk of injury when you become overly tired.  I don't like admitting to needing help.  I don't care for watching my family do the heavy lifting but a week in the hospital from past issues and neutropenic fever has nearly cured me of the sort of foolishness that comes with pride and stiff upper lips.

I would also like to mention that though we were tired, stressed, and ready to meet our destination we did not take out our frustration on each other (and I am proud to say that this includes the two year old).  Instead, we laughed ourselves silly.  You may not be able to choose what happens to you but you can choose whether you respond or react and your attitude while you do it.  I respectfully suggest you choose a good attitude and a response.  It gives you maximum fun, the most control and you get to look classy while your at it.  It beats the alternative in my book, reacting, which happens usually in a state of fear or anger.  Reacting instead of responding also means that you have lost your cool, there is very little censoring that takes place, and I have yet to see anyone who looks good with egg on their face.