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Raleigh circa 1970’s

25 Mar

I want to introduce you to my bicycle.  I can’t remember how we (Brian and I) acquired it, but I do know that I have had it for many, many years.  When my son and daughter were little, I had a child-seat bolted to it and as they were big enough to ride on their own two wheeler, the bolts were removed (along with the seat).  Additionally, it sported a small, white basket attached to the handle bars which had a blue license plate on the front with the name, “Dorothy”.  This bike has been a friend to me all these years, getting me to and fro and back again as I so desired.  Its little basket has held more weight than it should because I would load it down with treasures from the store or the farmer’s market.  It accompanied the children and I many a times to our local California Mission, and waited patiently outside as we contemplated man’s adoration of G-d as painted on the chapel walls.  The Raleigh has doubled as a dirt bike, beach cruiser, mountain bike, and exhibition parade rider.  It is small but perfectly sized to me.

Now this past Christmas my loving husband totally, thoroughly, and completely bombed on his gift to me.  That is right, I did say “bombed”!  He bought me a pair of Jessica Simpson brand pumps.  They were water colored and extremely high.  So high heeled, in fact, I could have put them on and just stood in one place…that is all.  Not to mention my style is rooted in influences OTHER than Jessica Simpson, so needless to say I made no qualms about my complete disdain with his erroneous purchase.  My husband now stands corrected.

And in all honesty, the only thing I really wanted (besides a Clarisonic, Yves St. Lauren dress–or Dior for that matter, an excursion to the Greek Islands, five million cash, or a house on the beach) was to have my little Raleigh bike spruced up and new tires put on it.  …after a year spent land locked to my feet, I am ready to feel the ocean breeze in my face as I ride, ride, ride.

So after belittle-ling the multi-colored street walkers I had just been given I told him my bicycle could use some lovin’.  His response was, “well geez, that is easy…I can do that right now!”  And you know what?  He did.  …what a guy, the best in the west–for me!!  So here I am with my shined and ready Raleigh.  The basket was too sad to keep, but “Dorothy” is patiently awaiting her new replacement.

“Vive le vélo”

P.s. Let me introduce you to a very cool bicycle blog.  Here is the url for an entry written a couple of years ago but with a similar subject matter:  lovelybike.blogspot.com

My “new” Christmas gif

No Luck, Only Grace

26 Feb

Today Brian and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.  Last night, in preparation for the surprise I wanted to give him, I went “driving” on Google maps.  The reason being is I couldn’t remember the name of the Alpine Lodge-like restaurant that Brian always says he wants to visit when we pass by it on the freeway.  I had a vague memory of it being after the 22 freeway and before the 605, so I got my map set to the 5 freeway just after the 22 and moved the little “man” icon to street level.  I admit, it was challenging because sometimes the map would jump me to an off ramp and I would find myself lost…then I would have to start over again.  I also questioned my memory of which freeway it was off of, and perused the 405 for about 20 minutes…excessive, I know!  Even as I was considering my method to be madness, I continued on.  After all, I convinced myself it was for an anniversary and so the extra pains to find my destination would be worth it.

Well I am happy to say I finally found the faux, snow covered alpine and thanks to the camera work of Google, and its 360 degree panning option, I found the name.  Clearman’s North Woods Inn, La Mirada California.  With the name in my possession I was able to check on its hours of operation, and even check its status on “Yelp”.  Let me offer a bit of advice…when you are planning something for a loved one, and are considering their interests, tastes, or desires, skip out on reading reviews and looking at pictures and reading the menu with prices.  Because even though I had found my prize, I also found my prize was an over priced dump which serves the type of food that, yes, Brian would love, but I would be compelled to picket due to the high amounts of injurious food and portions.  Which is why before I shut my accomplice down for the night (my computer), I avowed to not only surprise Brian with a lunch at the 1950’s should-be-thrown-back chalet, but to pretend I shared the same enjoyment with the entire experience as well…gloppy cheese bread, mayonnaise salad, and all.  And with my resolve, a good feeling fell upon me.  It does feel nice to have my “self” sit on the bench and let Brian take the play…it just took some coaching to get me-self agreeable to the idea!

Well today my lovely daughter asked us where we were headed for our lunch date.  I told her, her father didn’t know and it was a surprise–but it is about a half hour away from our home.  Upon hearing my words, Brian said, “I know where we’re going!  Is it to the snow?”  “WHAT?”, I questioned, “how did you know?”  Turns out that after 20+ years together, Brian and I are one…go figure.  I often know his thoughts, he often knows mine; even my hidden and surprise thoughts.  And lucky for me, he did know because he told me he wasn’t really feeling for driving as far as we would have to drive to get there.  HIP HIP HOORAY!!!  “No skin off of my nose”, I said, “I am happy to withdrawal the plan and redirect!”  Now that is what I call “grace”.  And off we went to Laguna Beach to one of our favorite and quaint little restaurants.  And being I didn’t have to swallow down bread dipped in grease, or potatoes lathered with “cheese butter” (which actually sounds intriguing in all the wrong ways), I enjoyed dessert because I could.

Then, as is customary for me after eating a meal out, I retrieved my little lipstick holder from my purse to refresh my, dried out and pale, lips.  And to my wonderful surprise, thanks to my ever conniving children, I found my little “King’s cake” baby lying in my lipstick holder.  I called them and they said, “you got Baby-D!”, and they laughed and laughed, as did Brian and I.  Since the oven is still on the fritz, the baby keeps “popping” up in the most notorious of locations.  In fact, he’s awaiting the next victim as we speak…I can’t wait to see who it will be!

Laughter=grace.

Cole’s VA 100% service-connected rating coming in the mail on the very day our health insurance benefits ended–the same day of my grandmother’s passing, such good news on one heck of a hard day; more grace.  Not having to drive, eat, nor lounge anywhere near the Clearman’s North Woods Inn; grace, grace, grace!  Truly the Lord’s grace is washing over my weary soul…thank you Jesus!

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)


Betty Cranker, The Marriage Killer

4 Feb

I am here, I have arrived!  That is only to say I am finally sitting down to write the, in my opinion, now expired post.  But because I have thrice alluded to its coming (or twice I can’t remember), I remain a woman of my word and will present my past due thoughts as best I remember them…

As most of you know, I am married to a very expressive, very artistic, very capable man.  And since I have been with him quite some time now, I have finally learned the following lesson: “never judge his creation midway through”…it is just wrong to do.  And if I open my mouth too soon, offering my extremely valuable criticism, it is usually detrimental to my well being and his (on a small scale, just means I get chewed out for not understanding the direction of the work, and he in turn is frustrated by my lack of vision).

Anyway, the reason I can’t come midway into his projects is because he pulls inspiration from, as I call it, “the sun, the moon, and the stars.”  His thoughts and vision are so vast and so abstract, yet he manages to meld them together into visual genius.  Most of the time my practical reasoning just can’t keep up.

So it was a few weeks ago when this type of vast and abstract thought process took a hold of my beloved and he garnished a two hour window of our Saturday morning pulling the “sun, moon, and stars” into a family conversation that seemed to be headed nowhere.  I promise you he used the phrase, “my point is…”, several times and yet my daughter and I looked at him and said, “I still have no idea what your point is!”  Now periodically, like his master works of art, his method of conversation reflects the same methodology.  So if I interject too quickly, I get an earful and his frustration escalates.  So finally at the end of the Saturday morning “show”, a peaceful conclusion was made between father and daughter and wife.  Though me being who I am, an-impatient-for-this-type-of-unnecessary-prattle-when-I-have-other-things-to-do, kind of person, held on to the irritated feelings I felt I so deserved.

Setting of the scene:  An irritated, overstressed, tired wife–aka Rivka on Saturday morning a few weeks ago.  Kitchen cleaned from the making and serving of breakfast.  Refrigerator and cupboards replenished with items from Costco and Trader Joe’s.  Rivka on hands and knees scrubbing the hallway linoleum.

Since the time limits of the morning were maxed out, Brian was in a hurry to get out the door and get to his workshop (the clothing company u50.com).  And since we are a budget conscience family, as he came to kiss me goodbye I asked if he had made his lunch.  He of course did not because in all honesty, it is his least favorite thing to do.  Now I usually enjoy preparing him something fun, with a love note written on his napkin.  But being my schedule was now out of synch with the load of the day, I was not in a favorable position to accommodate his “preparatory deficiencies”.  But he was already in a flurry, for his schedule was also now out of synch so he announced he would buy his lunch.  Not a big deal when written here in prose, yet being I was already cranky, his position on the subject was an affront to my entire being.  And with each scrub of the floor, my thoughts became more and more vile.  They went something like this, “I am not Betty F**kin Crocker.  Betty F**kin Crocker didn’t f**king pay the bills and do the taxes.  All Betty F**king Crocker had to do was look pretty and make a few meals…her husband took care of the rest of the “business” of the family.  No, I am more Betty F**kin the Riveter!  So take that mister, I-can’t-make-my-own-lunch!”

“Whew”…now isn’t that a pile of my last post’s title!  While I was busy mentally chewing out Brian, Betty Crocker, and even Rosie the Riveter, I knew that if I spoke one word of my foul thoughts to my husband, it would be a detrimental mistake.  And I knew that truth so concretely because the beautiful word of G-d, which serves as the master reference for such things, points it out perfectly in the book of Proverbs.  It says, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a contentious woman in a whole house.” (Prov. 25:24).  “What is contentious?”, you ask.  In dictionary terms it is, “tending to argument or strife; quarrelsome.”

So I had to ask myself, is my ranting the type of nourishment I want to pour into and onto my marital relationship?  Well, as you can see by my title, my answer was (is and always will be), no.

Now I share this with you so that you, too, may recognize her should she come into your presence.  For Betty F**kin Crocker is really Betty Cranker The Marriage Killer in disguise.  Run for your life should she come to town!

My beloved and me

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