the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker

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I had an “aha” moment this morning. I was thinking about what I need to do before I head to PA via Toms River. I need to stop and pick up the raspberry tart I ordered. Wait!!! I said I won’t shop on Thanksgiving. And then the “aha” moment. Some stores were always open on Thanksgiving – the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Modern equivalent – the convenience store, the bakery and the gas station. With a little planning, you could always get things you needed on Thanksgiving – milk, bread, fuel. Maybe you had to drive to the next town or go first thing in the morning because the bakery closed at 11 but you could get what you needed. And somewhere through the years the mindset changed and now you can get what you want on Thanksgiving. You may not need it but you want it. And you want it today! I don’t know who is to blame if there even is someone or something to blame but won’t it be great if our wants and needs were the same thing (at least for one day)

I pray that our very basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, education, health, peace of mind and friendship will be met. And I also pray that I will have eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart that cares and hands to help. Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂

Travel Tuesdays – S1E28 – Home for the Holidays

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The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is “late” and Hanukkah seems early. Thanksgiving is Thursday and Hanukkah starts tomorrow and before you know it Christmas will be here with New Year’s Eve following close behind. The commercials on the television, the internet and radio talk about “being home for the holidays”. I have been pondering that concept. I grew up with very little extended family around. The holidays were always in my home with my mom, dad, brother and two sisters. My grandparents were in Oklahoma and England so we didn’t see them on the holidays. When I was very young we lived in Oklahoma but I have no memories of grandparents. We then lived in Utah and Arizona before moving to New Jersey when I was in the third grade. My mother’s brother and his family would eventually move to New Jersey from England via Canada and the holidays would then involve extended family and I have very fond memories of those times.

When Bruce and I married we started the every other year tradition at Thanksgiving – one year (even) was my family and the next year (odd) was his family. We started that because when we were dating we ate two meals each thanksgiving and that is ridiculous. I still do every other year and for that reason I have never cooked a turkey. 🙂 I have hosted Thanksgiving on an even year either at home or the Barn but I am grateful that my brother-in-law cooks the turkey. This Thanksgiving I will share lunch with my 95-year-old mother in law in her new assisted living residence. Then travel to PA to have Thanksgiving with Meghan, Kyle and Kyle’s parents. Not two full meals but a light lunch (hopefully) and then the main meal. Yummy!

As far as Christmas celebrations that we tweaked through the years. Van Hine celebrations usually were Christmas Eve and Clark were more Christmas Day & Boxing Day. Christmas mornings however were always just the two of us at home and then the three of us when Emily was born and then the four of us when Meghan was born. Last year was the first time in my entire life that I didn’t sleep in my own bed on Christmas Eve and it was delightful to be with my sister and her family. This year like last year Christmas will take place in a new way and that is okay.

I love the holidays. I love everything about the holidays. I love traditions but I am also open to new traditions and new ways of celebrating. I want the holidays to be filled with the people I love, great conversations, yummy food, a little laughter, lots of hugs and hopefully at least one board game. So in thinking on this “home for the holidays” concept and I think home is more about the people you are with than the place you are in and the holidays is more about time spent with those people than a date on the calendar.

Be safe as you travel this holiday season and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!!

019 On a totally different note, do people really buy cars as gifts for Christmas? There seem to be a lot of car commercials.

randomness X 3

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0141. On Friday morning as I was preparing to travel into the National September 11 Memorial to lead a tour for a daughter’s friend, I dropped an earring down the bathroom sink. You know that feeling when you watch and think it isn’t going to go down, it is too big, it can’t possibly fit under that little space. And then the earring is gone, just gone. It seems impossible. The stopper wasn’t even open all the way. So in a moment of “no worries, I can fix this problem” I proceed to remove all the towels and stuff from under the sink and unscrew that “little thing” and now my lack of any knowledge of plumbing has caught up with me. I place all the little pieces on the bathroom counter, tidy up the pile of towels, leave my side door unlocked and head to NYC. I call my plumber from my cell phone and leave him message. And when I get home the bill ($75) with the following tip was on my bathroom counter “always close drain when putting on jewelry”. This morning my plumber called. He wanted to share a story that happened yesterday afternoon after he had taken care of my issue. His 8-year-old daughter recently had her ears pierced and yesterday she was changing her earrings for the first time. He walks into the bathroom to make sure she has closed the drain. He comments “make sure you close the drain”. She comments “Dad, everyone knows to do that.” well, maybe not everyone 🙂

2. This past week on the radio they were announcing that President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, would be laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in remembrance of the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. They also announced that the Obamas would be joined by former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodman Clinton. I just found it weird that Hilary Clinton who has been an US Senator and the Secretary of State was only referred to as “Bill’s wife” not even former First Lady. Really???

3. A recent visitor to the memorial commented “I am glad the survivor tree isn’t perfect. It is okay there aren’t branches on the one side because everything changed that day. I am glad it is thriving but it is good to remember that it was changed” Something to ponder.

Before smart phones

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Yesterday I received a Facebook message from my daughter stating “my phone has died.” This morning she called to share the story of trying to replace her phone. Between contracts, pricey new phones and a general lack of customer service in the walk-in mall store, she was totally frustrated. After the unsuccessful store visit, she went online and “chatted” with a customer service person who acknowledged that the situation must be very frustrating. Thank you for that! A telephone call to a second store supplied her with some useable information and a suggestion on what to do to temporarily correct the situation – aha!! customer service. So this morning she set out to try (after calling me) to “get a phone.”

My phone would ring again with a request to find an address and my daughter would comment “what did we do before smart phones?” I commented “we planned where we were going and looked at real maps.” I have been thinking about what we did before smart phones or even cell phones and I came up with the following:

1. We called someone’s home, spoke with whoever answered the phone, waited for them to get to the phone and either spoke to the intended person or left a message. Growing up I had to answer the phone “Clark’s residence. Ann speaking. Who is this, please?”

2. We formulated a plan – meet here at such and such time.

3. Checked the newspaper for movie schedules.

4. We wrote down addresses and directions on pieces of paper or the back of an envelope after we found a pencil or pen.

5. We made reservations for dinner.

6. We fretted about why the person was late to said appointment.

7. We had a paper map in the car and probably “mad money” in our pockets.

Anyway that is what I remember and to be honest I still look at a map (Google maps) ahead of time, and write down addresses on paper or print the email with the address. I keep a paper calendar as well as my iPhone calendar. I try to back everything up on my computer. And just in case the power goes out or my phone dies, I have my daughters’ and sister’s phone number written on a piece of paper. I can tell you my best friend’s parent’s telephone number that I have probably known for 40 years because I had to dial it. However, I don’t know my own daughters’ and sister’s without looking because most times I press a button. 🙂

Travel Tuesdays S1E27

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Years ago when I was scheduled to fly home from CA on the “red eye” my dad commented “everyone should fly the red eye at least once.” “Why?” “So you know never to do it again!” Well, I have flown the red eye a few times through the years and it is “interesting experience.” Today I choose “the red eye” so I would have entire day with my daughter and her hubby. And as long as I can go home and sleep for a couple of hours, it will definitely be worth it. I have my good book, my snacks, my music and my headphones – I am good to go.

I came across the following article on airplane etiquette. Worth reading. Hope I don’t have a shoeless, sock less, armrest hogging person next to me. 🙂

Journey of 3,000 miles

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My journey of 3,000 miles begins at Newark airport with a pleasant surprise. I am TSA Prechecked! I guess flying multiple times over the last 11 months has given me the privilege of not having to remove my shoes and a shorter line. I did chuckle when the TSA agent announced “you have been randomly selected for further screening.” To which I replied, “I am always randomly selected.” Seriously every time I fly they randomly screen me. So if it is every time either my timing is impeccable or it isn’t that random.

Usually when I am “randomly screened”, I want to make a rude comment or two about the lack of proper screening on September 11, 2001. Each time the Lord instantly checks my attitude so I haven’t.
But today my attitude was different. I was aware that a TSA agent was killed this week and that gave me pause and made me a little more pleasant and patient. They are just doing their job, a job that on any given day probably includes verbal abuse from a lot of haggard or inpatient or confused people but they shouldn’t have to worry about being killed. Actually they shouldn’t be subject to abuse either. 🙂

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Travel Tuesdays S1E26 -Travel poem by John O’Donohue

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I came across this poem. Thought I would share it. The more I read it, the more I like it.

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
~ John O’Donohue ~