Thursday, April 25, 2013

This I believe

I don't believe in a God in heaven. I believe 'God' lives in all of us and that if you want to feel closer to God you need only look inward. If you need strength you can find it within yourself - because it is there. You need to breathe and be silent and know yourself. Mostly, you need to understand that this life is fleeting.

I also believe that most people are basically good and I tend to see the glass half full. I guess I'm an optimist.

But, I'm not a Pollyanna by any means. A dear friend of mine recently asked me "if I knew me, would I be friends with myself?" My answer was "if I could stand the judgment".  I am horribly judgmental of others. But, I am much, much harder on myself. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my feelings, but, like most women, I focus on my failings and frailties and never revel in my accomplishments.

However, one thing I'm really good at is knowing when things are good. And, I'm ever better at stopping to appreciate those times. Those are the times that I feel nearest to God. Those are the times that make me cry  - not because I'm sad but because I know how precious the moment is. Whatever that thing is that makes me stop and reminds me that life is sweet, that life is short and that we MUST be kind to one another... that's what I call God.

And that presence is there when I look at Bill and tell him I love him.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The fine art of leaf removal

The photo doesn't show  his breath,
 but I clearly saw it this morning
When I got to work this morning I noticed the truck from our new lawn service was in the driveway. I was puzzled since it's (a) only April; and (b) 34 degrees. What could they possibly be doing here?

Once I got into the office and took my first sip of coffee, I heard a particularly jarring sound. Was it a a tuk tuk, or perhaps a ski boat or maybe a rocket ship was launching? Since I wasn't in Thailand, by the lake or near Cape Canaveral, I deduced it was a leaf blower.

A couple of years ago, my pal Randy Strauss gave me one of  his leaf blowers (he had a few to spare).  He is a marvelous gardener and took pity on me and my tedious method of raking. As you know, Bill does not participate in any gardening chores so (happily) it all falls to me.

I picked a particularly lovely warm fall day to start the process. Randy had given me explicit instructions about the gas to oil ratio and how to start the machine. It involved priming, choking and then yanking on the cord. Then you had to allow the engine to warm up a bit. Having grown up on a farm and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of balers and tractors,  I took it all in stride.

I must have yanked on the start cord 40 times. Pulls number 20 through 30 were accompanied by some choice words that easily flowed from my lips. Pulls 30-40 mostly involved screaming some phrases that would curl Satan's hair. I can just imagine the neighbors as they had their breakfast :
"I used to love these quiet fall mornings ... until that crazy bitch down the street started working in her garden."

I was about to throw the leaf blower in the trash when I spied a neighbor in his driveway with whom I was slightly acquainted. I swallowed my pride and walked down the street with the blower. He looked at me quizzically and, without a word, started the blower -WITH ONE HAND!

That was humiliating.

Blower in hand, I  walked back down the street determined to get the job done. This was going to be fun!

As I started to blow the leaves out of the flower beds and onto the grass, I noticed that I was also blowing all the (expensive) wood mulch out of the garden and onto the grass. What the heck?! That wouldn't do. I was perplexed and stood there, mouth agape, trying to figure it out. PS - I didn't dare turn off the blower while I contemplated my dilemma. So, I maneuvered my way out of the garden bed and walked to the backyard to see if I could tackle the leaves in the yard.

I began to use the back and forth sweeping action that Randy had described and was seeing some progress. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my neighbors new baby in their backyard. I could tell he was crying because his wee face was all scrunched up and red. I couldn't hear him ... because the damn leaf blower was so unbelievably loud.

I flipped the switch and turned the thing off.

Immediately, the baby's face relaxed.

I took the leaf blower back to the garage, grabbed my rake and happily began the tedious but quiet process of removing leaves.

Never used that leaf blower again.

Photo captured later this morning. The professionals
still haven't figured out a way to eliminate the rake!