The Weekly Smile

Yesterday my husband and I went to visit our Aunt, about an hours drive from where we live. Her husband, our Uncle, is in a nursing home at the moment, getting rehab to literally help get him back on his feet. She spends every afternoon there from 1 to 5, so we thought we’d take her out to lunch and then go visit for a bit with our Uncle. We also thought it would be a nice break for her to get out, eat out, and have a change of the routine.

We sat down in the restaurant and were handed the menus, which much to our surprise were not paper, but tablets. Like a Kindle or Ipad. This was a first for me. You could choose from a category and then scroll through the different dishes offered, with photo and description of each choice.

Did I mention my Aunt is 90? She does not seem like she is 90, I still think of her as someone in her late 60’s- she is constantly on the move, constantly coming, going, cooking, visiting her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She does not however, have any idea about the workings of a computer. We have suggested it many times over the years, but she has always been resistant. The menu sitting in front of her was a mystery, she looked at me dumbfounded and asked “now what?” I showed her all she had to do was tap the category and swipe left. She was amazed. Seeing the color photos of each meal made it even more fun and no guess work about what you were ordering.So my smile this week was my Aunt’s introduction to a tablet menu and seeing her enjoy learning how to use it.

What made you smile?

Cee’s Share Your World

If you wanted to de-clutter where you live, what room / space would you start with?  (And why, if you’re feel like admitting to it.)

My mother used to say we spend half our lives collecting things and the other half getting rid of them. I have to to agree with that sentiment. Over the last year I have begun to get rid of the excess that takes up space in my closets and on my shelves, the collections that I no longer care to collect. My husband is loathe to throw things away, always fearing he will need it for something someday. If I had forgotten I had an item when I come upon it, I really no longer need to keep it. Our basement became the repository for all things not needed but not ready to be thrown away- so I started there. I made a pretty good dent in cleaning it out over the summer and when I have a free day will continue

If you want to remember something important, how do you do it (sticky note on the fridge, string around your finger, etc.), and does it work?

It gets written on the calendar in my kitchen and I usually write it down on a list. I am a great keeper of lists, adding, crossing off, and finally throwing away when a task is complete or the shopping is done.

If you could create a one room retreat just for yourself, what would be the most important sense to emphasize:  sight (bright natural light, dim light, etc.), hearing (silence, music, fountain, etc.), smell (candles, incense, etc), touch (wood, stone, soft fabrics, etc.), or taste (herbal tea, fresh fruit, etc.)?

Sight. I need a view, I need natural light and at night prefer just one small light on, and I need the room to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye- photos, pictures. plants around me. My favorite place is working at my kitchen table with a view out my garden window.gardenwindow1

If you could interview one of your great-great-great grandparents, who would it be (if you know their name) and what would you ask?

I can only go as far back as my grandmother’s mother, she was a dressmaker and I would like to learn more about her life. She died young at age 52, the year my mother was born, from un diagnosed diabetes, and my grandmother also died young at age 62 when I was 17, so I never learned about her mother from her.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Grateful everyday for everyday, and looking forward to meeting my Aunt for lunch- I haven’t seen her in close to a year!

My Aunt and me in the selfies we have taken every year since 2011!2011-2015-collage

Share Your World

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Generation

My great grandparents and their children, my grandmother the girl on the left

My Grandmother and Grandfather and four of their six children, my mother the tallest in the photo

My parents                                                                              Me (on the right) and my siblings

Generations. We look back at the photos, how the generations grew, my grandmother had one sister, but she went on to have six children, only 2 daughters having children, 4 each. The generations growing a little more. Sometimes from generation to generation the tides shift, family rifts occur, siblings become estranged, cousins grow up not knowing one another at all. Lost generations.

Then there are the family members like my Aunt, 18 years my senior who I am thankful to have in my life. We have always been close, though generations apart, we never felt a “generation gap.” We have both had falling outs with our siblings, and have come to accept that life goes on and in many ways for the better. We are cut from the same cloth, bound by generational blood, and in this case fortunate to be.

Sunday Brunch

My husband and I went out for brunch this Sunday with our Aunt & Uncle, who are 88 and 91, and my husband’s step sister and brother in law who are in their early 80’s. His sister was in visiting from Israel, we have not seen her in 2 years, and our Aunt and Uncle live about an hour away, but we don’t get to see them too often either. We consider ourselves fortunate to have relatives that are still active at their ages, and to be able to spend time with them. That being said it is quite the experience going to a fairly noisy restaurant with a group of people who have a hard time hearing when there is no noise. We sat in a corner in the hope it would cut some of the background noise, which it did, and what background noise there was helped drown out all of our shouting at each other in order to be heard.

My Aunt is a big bread eater, with butter of course, and polished off the first basket in no time, then asked for another. It made me laugh as it wouldn’t even occur to me to eat bread slathered with butter, but obviously it has not brought any undesirable consequence on her as she has been doing it her entire life. My husband commented on how the onions in his salad would be coming back to haunt him the rest of the day, to which she replied she makes sure to eat at least one raw onion everyday. Maybe there is something to that. We all caught up on family happenings, trying to stay away from health and ailment discussions which can easily become a topic of discussion.

As we wrapped up our lunch we all agreed it had been a perfect get together. As my Aunt kissed my husband’s sister good bye they hugged extra tight and it occurred to me that neither knew if they would see one another again. It gave me pause to let the thought enter, but in reality when someone reaches a certain age the future must often seem less certain. None of us can predict what the years ahead will bring, but I certainly hope we have the opportunity to all meet again for another Sunday brunch.glorialeohensen

lisagl

Happy I’m Not A Mother Day

My BFF and I both chose not to have children, and re dubbed Mother’s Day “Happy I’m Not A Mother Day” years ago. We both married in our 30’s, and had no burning desire (no desire at all really) to have children. No “biological urge.” I didn’t feel my life would be less without children in it. I knew myself well enough to know I really was not cut out to have children. When years ago I told people I had no intention of having children, my choice was met with many reactions:

“But you’d be such a good mother.”

“Really? What’s wrong with you?”

“You’ll come around.”

You’ll regret it when you are old.”

I was always amazed they showed a total lack of understanding or respect for the choice I made. I would never have thought of telling them what I really thought of some of the choices they had made in their lives that I might not have agreed with. When it came to making the choice about having children it was as if there was only one choice. To have them. The societal norm I guess. I am often asked how many children I have when meeting someone new. After responding with “none” and being met with looks of pity and “oh sorry”- I have learned to follow up with I  “opted out.” I’m not sorry, you don’t need to be sorry.

I am glad for my friends who have  found meaning and fulfillment in their lives by having children, good for them. But it would not have been good for me. My step daughter was 8 when she came into my life. We spoke on the phone everyday, saw each other every other weekend and one night during the week. Perfect. Just enough to get my nurturing out, and just enough before I was on my last nerve. I love my nieces and nephews, I am a good aunt, I love spending time with the children of my friends, and that is just right for me. Am I less of a person because I am not a mother? I don’t think so. Is my life incomplete? Not at all. Rewarding, fulfilling, meaningful for many, but not for everybody.