Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wet, Windy and Wonderful

Last night we returned from a trip to the coast . . .well, the coastal area. This time we stayed in a new place that is not actually near the ocean but about 25 minutes away. We got a great deal on it and since we hadn't been on any kind of vacation in eons and it was just after Nicole's birthday, we took a couple of days and headed out. (Left Monday at noon and returned Wednesday at 7 pm).

It was a fast trip but a very good one. Here are the highlights I wanted to share:

1. When we arrived in the middle of high winds, rain and darkness, we could not find the lock box that held the key to get in. I had brought all the info with me, including the code, but had forgotten the email with the owner's number. It took some ingenuity but I got it, called, found the lockbox, used the key and got in. WOW, what a gorgeous place. Very modern and airy and open and lovely. The keys explored, we unpacked and oohed and aaahed over the rushing creek in the backyard, the cubby hole hidden outside (inspiring thoughts of plots in the writers and trouble in the teenage boys), the Jacuzzi in the huge bathroom and soft, comfy beds covered in pillows.

2. We wanted dinner (hadn't eaten all day) but it was so terrible weather wise outside (the whole area was under a High Wind Warning, but did we know that? Nope.) that we were desperate for anything. We found this little place called Pronto Pups where everything you order comes with a side of grease. Did we care? No. We were hungry. We ended up with WAYYYYYYYYYYY too many french fries, to the point of ridiculousness but it was still fun. As we were leaving, the manager came over and said how nice it was to see a family having fun together for a change. That was nice to hear.

3. Going to bed and listening to the pouring rain on the skylights, the wind howling around the corners and the rushing creek in the backyard was heavenly for this tinnitus woman. Didn't even need my CD player!

4. Spent the day in Lincoln City exploring stores. Had a great time in several of them, found things to buy, things to admire and never pay the price for and even some great bargains. When we went into a Christian bookstore because I wanted to see if they had any neat stationary, each one of my children whispered, Mom, you know you're in a Christian bookstore, right? To which I replied, Yes. If we're not out in 15 minutes, we will spontaneously combust. :)

5. We found a Goodwill . . . thrilling Joseph, Nicole and I and making the boys writhe in horror at the idea of going to a Goodwill ON VACATION. (They find the stores infinitely boring.)

6. We went to the grocery store to get food to take back to the cottage for the next couple of meals. On the way in, we saw a homeless young lady . . . probably about 20 or so. She had a nice sign and gave us a smile that didn't look manufactured or contrived in order to get us to give her money.

While I was in the store, Caspian came up to me and asked for money. I figured it was for a game or something but he wanted to give it to the girl outside. He said, I cannot take back this much food for us to eat and know that she is hungry, mom. Can't we do something for her? He was seriously bothered that this girl was going to go without. Now, you may not personally know Caspian. . . but he is sometimes a challenge. Whatever we want, he doesn't. Wherever we want to go, he doesn't. If it's cold, he wears short sleeves. If it's hot, he wears long sleeves. If we're all going to bed, he is wide awake. If we are all in the car talking, he falls asleep. He wears his ear buds as much as we allow and when we are talking at a table in the restaurant, he is much more apt to be reading. On the other hand, he is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest, most compassionate person I know. He has a heart of gold and always wants to help people. While I am pounding my head against the wall at him, I am usually smiling and being grateful he is my son at the same time.

So I said let's pick out some food for her and give it to her as we leave. He pointed out that she might be vegetarian (this IS Oregon) so we'd better not get meat. :) So we got veggies and dip and fruit and dip and cheese and as we walked out, we handed her the sack. Now, if you live anywhere where there are homeless people and you have ever given them food or money, you will know that you get a variety of reactions. The ones that just mumble at you and walk away usually don't make you feel like you did anything nice. This girl looked right at Caspian and smiled and thanked him. It was sincere and he was blushing and it was one of my favorite moments of the trip.

So, it was a wet, windy and wonderful time that went by WAY too quickly but we loved it and came home renewed and appreciative of each other. What more can one ask of a mini-trip?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Of Sleepyitis, High Tech Music and Good Friends

Strange title, I know, but those were the topics that are on my mind right now. And if you tune into my blog, you get special insight into what is going on in my mind . . . please ignore anything you find offensive or odd. (Yes, there are a FEW things left . . . )

Sleepyitis. One or two of the medications I take cause me to get sooooooooo sleepy every single time. Another one makes me pee. So, for a good portion of the day, I am typically fighting to keep my eyes open as I stumble my way down the hall to the bathroom. As amusing as it may sound, it isn't a lot of fun to experience every single day. I've tried shifting when I take them but to little avail. It isn't a major life problem . . just one that bugs me.

High tech music. After fighting it tooth and nail for some weeks, I finally allowed Joseph to convince me to download about 200 CDs onto my computer rather than use my CD player. It took what felt like forever but currently, I have over 1700 songs on my computer and I have to admit, it's fantastic. No CDs to open and load in and then shift around. No plastic cases piling up. 1,700 songs that I like and with shuffle on, I just hit Play and my own personal juke box begins to play. I'm going to do the same upstairs but I have 700 CDs up there . . . . (no comments necessary) and it will take a long time and require an external hard drive. I'll do it in my "spare" time.

Good friends. This past week a good friend of mine had a double mastectomy for breast cancer. She has weathered it wonderfully and is cancer free ( and happy to get some new boobs soon). Tomorrow my darlin friend Susan is having rotator cuff surgery and while I know she will be fine, it's no fun and it's gonna hurt and it's a major inconvenience for her. I just hope she remembers that friends exist for times like this and she must call on me when/if needed. (I have a list of her favorite sweet treats on a post it note by my computer so I can randomly stop by and drop off something for her.)

Deviating from the title . . . c'mon, you knew I would have to deviate a little, right? . . . I've been writing letters like crazy of late, as well as rediscovered my dormant obsession with stationery. I have more than I will ever possibly use in a life time but I love it. I will be using some of it as Christmas gifts and since I write to several soldiers in Iraq, plus some friends and a mother in law far away, I put it all to good use. I have recently joined the Letter Exchange and the Letter Writers Alliance (check them out online!) and am single handedly trying to salvage the U.S. postal system before we only get delivery by Pony Express. Emails are convenient. Phone calls are nice. But nothing beats a letter that you can read and re-read . . . and then later curl up with and take time to answer. It's one of life's special pleasures. I highly encourage you to rediscover it like I did.

Everything else in the Orr House continues well. We did some major room rearranging (and the house still looks like a tornado ripped through it from the process) and now, for the first time, my two boys have their own individual rooms. They are the best of friends but they needed a little space, I think. They will be 17 and 14 soon, so it is understandable.

My work continues to pick up and today I was hired for a new job that has me smiling. I have more than 16 books assigned to me in the coming 6 months, so that number of titles on Amazon will keep growing. I may also be going to some of the area schools and doing presentations on writing--which I will love. I recently went to an elementary school where my friend Susan works and did a presentation. It was great fun. I gave away free books and the kids were so tickled. They lined up for my autograph and I felt like a rock star for just a few moments.

Tonight being Monday, I will head to the Lucky Lab Brew Pub with Joseph and Nicole. It is his VW Night and Nicole and I go along and sit at another table and spend 2 hours writing letters and chatting. It's a special time that we both cherish. Moments together are more limited as time goes by and I want to hold on to each one and bottle it like the boy in Dandelion Wine wants to bottle summertime. Too soon, she will be off and gone and these days will be bittersweet memories. Sigh. Time goes far too quickly.

I shall get my sleepy eyes ready to head out for the evening, turning off my music and grabbing my letter writing supplies . . . . and carrying thoughts of my friends with me as I go. Tune in again soon!