Archive | March 2013

The Painted Garden

One of the first signs of spring in Minneapolis is the Macy’s Flower Show which takes place in the 8th Floor Auditorium of Macy’s downtown store.  Every year all the colors are such a welcome sight for those of us who have been surrounded by white, drab snow.

This year the theme is the Painted Garden which celebrates India and the southern regions of Asia.   Every color ever imagined can be found here in the beautifully designed creations, and the fragrant flowers remind us that spring will soon be here!

The free event is being held from March 24 through April 7.  Most of the flowers looked great yesterday, but don’t wait too long because the hyacinths were starting to look a little tired.

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Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.  They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.  ~Jim Carrey

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter!

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The Adventurous Ones!

Katie & Me on a Bench Somewhere in Rocky Mountain National Park
When we visited Estes Park, Colorado a few years ago, Dad, Laura and Matt decided to be adventurous and go on the gondola ride.  Since Katie and I are not ones for rides, we decided to go explore the shops instead.  After we saw the rest of the family off, Katie and I headed down the path and we talked and talked while we walked and walked.  We chattered enthusiastically because we were secretly happy that we didn’t have to go on that ride, and we told each other all about it.

There was not much activity going on where we started on our way.  We walked by many houses that were along a dirt road.  One other lone walker was right ahead of us, and we slowed down because we didn’t want to pass him up.  Suddenly we both realized that we didn’t know where we were going.  We thought that we were heading towards the quaint shops, but it turned out that we took a wrong turn at the very beginning.  Even though we had driven through the town many times before, I knew we had been on this road.  It would have been better if we would have taken a right instead of a left, just like Dad told us.

I was disappointed in myself that we went the wrong way.  Not only did I feel like a bad Mom who wasn’t paying attention, I knew that we would hear about our getting lost from the adventurous ones later on.  It was yet another confirmation to me that I was not born with an internal compass.  This idea is difficult for those who do have internal compasses to understand.  They cannot fathom that people like me do not automatically know the direction by where the sun is sitting in the sky or that we do not have some connection with gravitational forces like they must.

Panic started to set in a little.  First, if I knew that we were going to be going on such a long walk, I would have worn tennis shoes instead of flip-flops because my feet were starting to hurt.  Second, if I knew we were going to get lost, I would have paid more attention to where we were going in the first place.

Our feet got grungier and grittier, but we finally came to a spot where we could turn.  About the time we tried to connect with the rest of the family was about the time when we thought we were on our way to the shops.  We dialed numbers that kept on ringing.  When we didn’t get an answer, we decided to enjoy the scenery on the way and discovered that the quaint shops were not where we thought they were.

After many lost phone connections and directions of ways to go from the adventurous ones, we found our way to the Super America Gas Station where we met up with the rest of the family.  That’s where Katie and I got a Coke and called it a day.

There were more days left to discover the cute shops, but that day it turned out that we made an adventure of our own.  Even though we got lost, we saw lots of sights that we would not have seen if we thought we knew our way!

Cute Shop!
We were glad to make it back to the cabin ~ this wasn’t the cabin we stayed in though!
When we were all together again, we stayed that way, and explored Rocky Mountain National Park as one happy family!
We made sure we stayed together on hikes.
I made sure I wore my tennis shoes!
We were glad to see beautiful streams!

We drove up high into the mountains!
Luckily, we only saw one wild animal!
Don’t let people drive you crazy when you know it’s in walking distance. 
~Author Unknown

Every Time a Train Whistle Blows

My Dad and Me 60

One day Daddy brought me to the railroad yard where he worked. The train tracks seemed too high for me to go over, so Dad held me tight and carried me across. When we got to the train, I looked down along its path and saw all the cars hooked together. Dad pointed to the caboose and then climbed up into the engine while he kept me in tow. It was dark inside, but being up so high, I was able to see the tracks that we just crossed and the building that Dad said was the station. Dad looked at me and smiled and said, “Pull that string.” He pointed to a cord that hung down from the ceiling. I shook my head “no” as I looked into his big blue eyes. Dad didn’t ask me to pull it again. He just pulled it himself. That’s when I knew what needed to be done to make the whistle blow. The sound of the whistle was so loud, but it didn’t scare me because Dad held me tight.

Ever since then, I wished I would have been brave enough to make that whistle blow. Sometimes I felt like I was a little afraid of Dad because I didn’t see him very much when I was small because he worked nights. Every now and then, I would see him in the early morning just when he got home from work. I didn’t blame him for my being a little afraid because I knew that it was his schedule to work, come home and eat, and go to bed. It was what Dad had to do to take care of his family.

If I got up early enough, I was lucky to see my Dad. I hid behind the kitchen door and peaked at him through the crack. I held myself very still while holding onto my white baby blanket. The bright morning sun hurt my eyes as its light crept through the window. I watched Dad’s back, and listened to his spoon hit the bowl of cereal with a sort of steady rhythm as he held the newspaper in front of him. His engineer hat usually sat on the counter right next to him.

Suddenly, he belted out a tune that took me out of my trance and had me pulling my thumb out of my mouth:

Peak-a-Boo, I See You,
Hiding Behind the Door!

He sang it over and over in a melody he made up until I got brave enough to come out from behind the door. When I got close enough, Dad pulled me into his lap and I felt more comfort there than I did from my security blanket and my wet thumb put together. That nice warm hug made all my being afraid go away.

It always shocked me when he sang that song because I couldn’t figure out how he knew I was hiding behind the door. Now every time I hear a train whistle blow, I think of you Dad!

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever. ~Author Unknown

State of Embarrassment

Eleanor was a lady who was about the age I am now when I met her. Both of us typed away our days on electric typewriters. Carbon paper smudges could be found on our hands and desks. The faster Eleanor typed, the more askew her black wig became, and sometimes small unruly gray hairs escaped around the edges. Eleanor pounded that keyboard and flew through it all creating words on heavy bond paper. I kept up to speed and switched out my paper just when she did.

Since it was just the two of us who had to keep the place running and stocked with supplies, I soon learned that it would be my job to go get all these things. Luckily there was an office supply store right around the corner from our building. We looked through the small cabinet which seemed to be full while Eleanor made a list of items.

I didn’t mind going off to run errands since it got me outside. That day was bright with a blue sky, and the sun made long shadows of the buildings. My high heels clicked on the pavement while the breeze swished at the skirt of my dress. I held that list firmly in my hand.

When I entered the store, a helpful salesman greeted me and kindly showed me about the place. We gathered up the supplies which included folders. The folders were a good place to balance the 20 boxes of staples that Eleanor said we needed. I thanked the gentleman for helping me, left the store, and again clicked my heels on the pavement. All the while I held steady the piles of boxes of staples on top of the folders. As I rounded the corner, I was happy about my balancing act. Just as I approached the revolving doors, my clicking heels got off beat, and all the boxes of staples went crashing down to the hard pavement. Some boxes stayed intact, but many did not. Not only were some boxes all kittywampus, but there were many staples that had broken apart from their neatly arranged rows. I stooped over to pick the mess up and knew that my face matched the color of my dress. Little rivets of perspiration made a path down my spine. I could feel the stares of the passersby as I tried to move to hide my blushing face.

As I tried to pinch the lone staples between my fingers, a nice young man came to help. I don’t think I was even brave enough to look him in the eyes, but I know I thanked him over and over again. I even told him that I was okay, and that he didn’t need to help me, but he wouldn’t listen and stayed. We weren’t able to pick up every single staple because I could only stay in that state of embarrassment for so long. I gathered up what we pinched up, thanked him again and went through the revolving doors.

When I got back to the cupboard I noticed that there were plenty of staples there already. I told Eleanor through clenched teeth that I dropped the boxes. She shrugged and suggested that I stack the new ones as best I could with the intact boxes on the bottom, and the unorganized ones on top. She thought it would be best if we used up the mixed up ones first.

I could never figure out why Eleanor thought we needed so many staples. Inside I felt she was just playing a dastardly trick on me. When I left that job two and a half years later, some of the lopsided boxes were still in the cupboard. I wasn’t disappointed that I never got to see all those mixed up staples get used.

Even though I was in a state of embarrassment that day, it was still nice to receive help from a stranger.

Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.  ~Author Unknown