Monday, July 30, 2007

The Mayonnaise Jar and the Two Glasses of Wine

As I scurried to ready myself for the BMAC in Philadelphia, I took a break to have lunch and catch up on my email. In my Inbox was the following from my mother:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first , " he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

The Indigo Girls

Last night I saw the Indigo Girls in concert for the first time. The concert was on the lawn at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens--a hometown show for them. I was so overwhelmed by the concert that I dreamed about them all night. Two women, two instruments, that's it. Two incredible voices and two amazing song-writing talents. This was the best concert of my life by far. Today on iTunes is an all-Indigo-Girls day--not too difficult as we have all of their albums (whatever the media, they will always be albums to me). And this group already holds a special place for me: Our friend Andrea sang "The Power of Two", an Indigo Girls song, at Dave's and my wedding. It gave me goose-bumps to hear the IG sing it last night (as D and I held hands and hugged).

The show started at 8:00 and the gates were supposed to open at 6:30 so we got there about 6:15. We stood in the drizzling rain at what felt like the end of a very long line. But the people that streamed past us to the back of the line during the ensuing 45 minutes that it took till the gates opened at 7:00 made our line look like a couple of people around a water cooler. And we still all fit in.

When we got in and found a space we weren't pressed right up front, but we were very close--on the little Botanical Gardens Lawn there isn't a "far away" seat anyway. We put down our tarp and our blanket, got a bottle of wine, some water, some antipasti from the Sun In My Belly caterers, and settled down to play gin rummy till the concert started.

The pictures were taken with an iPhone (not even a real camera) as I was *sitting*, lounging really on our blanket. I am usually not too much of a concert person as I don't like to stand for three hours to listen to music--and the person in front of you is always standing so you have to stand too if you want to see. This concert was perfect: There were songs you had to stand up and dance, and then you sat (or lay) back down and lounged for awhile. Because everyone did that, everyone got to see all the time--how cool is that? The first picture is the opening act, Brandi Carlile, then the stage just as dark fell, then--still sitting--our view of the Indigo Girls themselves. Sadly the pictures don't capture just how close it felt or how clear the view was.


Life had such an emotional shear this weekend that I can't even blog about it in one post--there was too much distance between the lows and the highs. So first I'll tackle the lows. It was a tough weekend for Jester. One of his wounds has torn open again and he needs another surgery (and another suctioning drain). I went up to see him Saturday and was both heartened and horrified. He is moving around well and I understand, eating well and accustomed to the routine at the vets. But he looks like a Frankenstein monster. There is a catheter in his neck because he wasn't supporting the ones in his legs well, and two suctioning drains in his surgery sites with the tubes and bulbs strapped around his belly. He has staples in the surgery site on his belly where they removed skin to cover the wound in the back, and then there are the main surgery sites from the base of his tail all the way down his leg...

I leave tomorrow for Philadelphia (with the mini-van) and dump the whole mess in Dave's lap. The vet will still call me every morning with the updates, but it looks like Dave's going to be the one who needs to pick Jester up (in a rental car or with the help of a friend) and (maybe) has to deal with a suctioning drain for a few days. The Indigo Girls sing "Heartache for Everyone" in the background on iTunes.

On the bright side (and I'm glad there is one) the vet said he has adapted to their routine and is eating and moving around well (in his cage) up there. He clearly hasn't given up. Poor stoic boy: he's just going along with everything until he can get home.

So now we wait. Maybe surgery tomorrow (if the wound opens so much that they risk losing the skin graft) but they would prefer to wait till Thursday if possible. Maybe home Friday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Funny From Mom

It is rare that I get anything funny enough in email to share, but I loved this one (thanks Mom):

An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof--and the horn--screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh the Quizes I Can Take...

You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

by C.S. Lewis

You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed
quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it
seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic
struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal
that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian
theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust
in zoo animals.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Not surprisingly...

You're Montana!

When asked about you, most people ponder the late 1980's, a glorious
football dynasty, and even mention something about rice. Despite all this nostalgic
reverie, this has nothing to do with you. While the 1980's were great, you feel you
belong in the 1890's. You're rugged in the extreme, it's true, but would rather tackle
a bear than a football player. And you just don't know how to grow rice. It's
going to be a long winter.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

No, I didn't fudge the results. No, I didn't take the test multiple times, I came up Montana the first time. What's meant to be is obviously meant to be. What state are you?

UPDATE: Just to see what would happen the second time around I did it again and gave really, really honest answers. Guess what?

You're Alaska!

You're big, bulky, and extremely wild. At the same time, you're rather
cold and standoffish, even a loner of sorts. Taming you may be one of the last great
quests of the people who do manage to find you or even seek you out. So many of them
just want to plunder you for what you have of value, but there are a few, the ones
who will stick with you, that truly value your rugged remoteness. As long as no one
is spilling stuff on you, you are truly beautiful.

Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bamboo, Five Toads and a Snake

(Note added on 10/20/08): I am tired of everyone coming here for the photo of the copperhead snake, I am taking it off the post.)

(Note added on 6/8/08: over the past few days hundreds of people from all over the net have visited this post. Why? Where is the link to the copperhead snake photo? I'm really curious and would love to know. Would someone please answer in the comments? Thanks... Brenda)

Vacation is over, and we're home. It was wonderful and relaxing, and... just like an Animal Planet episode! It all began last Monday. J and I hit Publix at 10:30 to pick up the groceries for the trip. Two hours (and two carts) later we got back home and started packing, and loading the food and ice into the coolers. We were on the road by... 4:00. Not the best time to get on I-85 heading north, but it was okay.

A couple of hours later we were in Deliverance Country. the gorgeous cabin shown here wasn't the one we had, but we had the same wonderful screened-in porch and we had *two* picnic tables. Ours was painted a blend-into-the-forest green. Here are some highlights of the trip:

Dave arrived Tuesday night and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in our fire pit. Thursday we grilled steaks over charcoal on our outdoor primitive grill. Note: No other method of cooking a hot dog can hold a candle to roasting over an open flame. other Note: I am the undisputed champion of the perfect roasted marshmallow--golden-brown all over and evenly melted through. Marshmallows and Merlot.... yumm. Jessie doesn't like her marshmallows roasted at all, and Dave is a quick burn kind of guy.

Our cabin had a resident deer mouse I named Alphonse (heck, it probably had all of his sisters, brothers, cousins and living ancestors too. Mouse poop ahoy!). One night I was reading in the big chair in the living room and I looked up to see a mouse shimmying down the wall. When he got to the ground he dashed into our bedroom with me in hot pursuit. A couple of hours later I came face to face with him in the kitchen by the microwave. He was absolutely adorable, but I still would rather he had stayed outside. Every night after that we heard him partying till dawn--in the kitchen, in our room, even in the underside of our bed! Good thing we had big plastic totes to keep all of our food in.

The forests of South Carolina are being taken over by timber bamboo, and no one there--the park ranger included--has any idea. I was amazed at the proliferation of timber bamboo seedlings throughout the forest. It is by far the most common species of plant I saw and it all seems to be about the same age and grown from seed. Don't the park rangers and forest service see what's going on?

Yeah, right now it's all 2-5 feet tall and 1/4" in diameter. But they have mature groves of it (which must have flowered to produce the seed which produced all these seedlings), they can see how dense and tall it gets. I would think the native pines, oaks and maples don't stand a chance against it. Just wait another 5-10 years...

We were warned about the copperhead snakes, the cane rattle snakes and the diamond-back rattle snakes, but I really thought they were exaggerating. Nope. Jessie and I went for a walk at 9:30 last night to see all the toads that come out onto the road at 9:00 every night. A rain of toads every night at 9:00. But since we didn't get out till 9:30 we missed much of the rain and only saw five toads. Dave was nursing a cold and stayed in the cabin. As we were walking back along the road in the full dark we saw a copperhead snake in the road ahead of us--good thing we had our torches, huh?. It coiled to strike and we skirted quickly and carefully around it. It was just a little one, but still...

Thursday the three of us hiked to Hidden Falls from our cabin--about six miles round trip. There was a newly-fallen tree across the path 50 yards from the end that we had to go around (that was a bit hairy, but we all made it okay). We had lunch at the base of the falls and I picked a tick off my foot. South Carolina is just FILLED with critters!

Wednesday night we listened to the telling of the legend of the Guern (the bootlegger who owned the land the park is now on and he wouldn't sell. They destroyed the dam above his property to make the lake at the campground and the water took out his still--which exploded, cutting him to little pieces. He still haunts the place and there have been disappearances and even a death laid at his door). Then we watched fireworks over the lake put on by the Park Rangers. Grant Park it wasn't, but in its own way, it was better.

Lastly, but not leastly, sleeping in a hard little double bed for six nights was... interesting. Dave and I got it down to kind of a ballet of synchronized spooning. That was definitely better than the first night when I slept with J before Dave got there. She may be smaller but she packs a punch. I'm sleeping, minding my own business (by definition) and WHAM, a kick to the stomach. I recover from that, drop back off, and, WHAM a right hook flail to the eye. Jessie is a very restless sleeper.