Reflections On Dining Early & Sharing Happiness

A FEW WEEKS AGO we drove four hours north to visit Zen-Den’s parents + his sister & her family.  It was his mother’s birthday, so it seemed like a good time to see what was up with his mother and his father. 

We arrived at his parents’ house around noon and spent the afternoon talking with them.  Then around 4:00 p.m. we drove with his parents to a brand new Outback Steakhouse where we met his sister, her husband and their teenage daughter.

We were seated at a long table with banquette seating on one side of the table and chairs on the other.  The room’s decor was modern with lots of muted dark colors in geometric patterns and large pendant lights with drum shades.  The look reminded me of my late aunt’s home which was filled with mid-century modern furniture.

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WE RARELY HAVE THE opportunity to get together with Z-D’s family so sitting in this beautiful restaurant, eating good food, chatting, laughing was special for us, for me.  It reminded me of when my parents were alive and I was a little girl.  The three of us would go out to dinner somewhere fancy, usually early because my dad refused to wait for a table.  And we would have the best time.

So with my happy past in mind, while sitting there at the Outback Steakhouse I took a moment to look around the table, to really see who was there.   And I was struck by the strangest thoughts, out of nowhere.  Fragments of my life, I suppose.

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I REALIZED THAT MY niece is the same age as I was when my father died.  That my SIL looks so relaxed & happy that she could be half her age. That my BIL, who is retiring this year, is exactly ten years younger than my mother was when she retired.  That my MIL, whose birthday we were celebrating, is turning the age that my mother was when she died.  That my FIL is so lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s that I doubt that I’ll ever visit with the real man again.

And as for Zen-Den and I, here is what I observed: we are much older now, both physically and spiritually.  In some ways, life has worn us out.  On the other hand, we’ve learned, adapted, moved on so many times that somewhere along the winding way we’ve both developed deeper understandings of relationships, beliefs, limitations– and the value of focusing on shared happiness.

At an Outback Steakhouse, for instance.  On an early Saturday evening.  While dawdling around a table after dinner.

A Few Thoughts Plus A Few Photos Doth A Blog Post Make

I REMEMBER YEARS AGO when I started blogging someone said to me that he didn’t like blogs because all people did was take photos of things in their homes and talk about them.  He found this boring and pointless and stupid.  Even though I thought that he was wrong, I shrugged it off without a comment.

His point of view seemed uninformed and mean-spirited to me.

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THEN A FEW YEARS AGO when I was in a blogging slump someone suggested to me that I take some photos of the stuff in my house and share them.   Again, I was back in a conversation about photos in a blog, although this time the conversation was helpful, not hurtful.

This woman suggested that when you’re at home you are who you are.  Unvarnished.  Authentic.  Free to do what you want to do with the space that you have.  So why not start there in your home, and write about it or whatever it brings to mind?

Her point of view seemed practical and kind-hearted to me.

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SO IT IS AT THIS POINT that I find myself today.  I have the photos.  I have knowledge necessary to post them.  I have nothing profound to say about each photo, nor do I have a cohesive theme to this post that makes them noteworthy.

But I believe that when you commit to being a personal blogger sometimes showing up and posting something is what needs to be done.  This means that if sharing three photos from the last few weeks is what keeps this blog keeping on– then so be it.

And that, my friends, is all I have for you today.

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Christmas In June

Years ago I met an Australian woman whose husband’s company had transferred them to the U.S.A. for one year.  It wasn’t until after she got talking about how much she had disliked experiencing Christmas in the wintertime here, that I got thinking about how people in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate Christmas.  For them, Christmas is a summertime, outdoorsy holiday.

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I think of this woman every June 25th– and pause in her honor to reflect upon how much more I, too, would enjoy Christmas if today’s weather was our typical Christmas Day.

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Sunny skies.  Warm temperatures.  Colorful flowers.  Green grass.  Games on the lawn.  Easy outside living.

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So today, just for the heck of it, I have decided to put this red poinsettia* in the middle of the dining table on the deck.  Sure, the calendar may not say that it is Christmas Day, but I think that I’m going to go ahead and pretend that it is.  Care to join me?

“Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la” 

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* Yes, this is the same poinsettia, previously featured here & here & here, that I’ve had growing inside the house since November of 2011.  Best. Christmas decoration. Ever.