Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Good For You

There is so much to see--both in the United States and in the world. Sometimes I wonder if I have to see it all or if I could just watch episodes of National Geographic and live vicariously through others. I never really wanted to travel much--I'm more of a "nester", but I managed to marry a guy who loves to travel. So our lives have taken us many places.
First 3,000 miles away from our family as we moved with Ted's job from New York to California. While living there, we took a 2-year temporary assignment in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. We rented our home in California and moved cross country again for this 2 year period. After 2 years we moved back into our home in California.
While living in California we took a few trips but because traveling costs money, and we had precious little of it that didn't go to raising the kids, we didn't travel too often.
Now that we're retired, we've been making up for lost time and, believe it or not, I'm tired of traveling. I would so much rather stay at home and decorate, organize, read, do yoga, etc....
But, I force myself to go on some trips and Ted talks me into others. Don't get me wrong, I'm ok once I get there....It's just the thought of packing, schlepping all of my stuff to the airport, disrobing to go through security, and on and on....
Last week we were in Arizona visiting with friends that I hadn't seen in 30 years. We decided to go because, in addition to wanting to see our friends, we'd be close to the Grand Canyon and we'd never seen the Canyon.
How awe-inspiring to stand at the mouth of the biggest hole in the earth I'd ever seen. I felt so small--so inconsequential. The colors were beautiful, the rock formations (and I love rocks) were so interesting. All I could say was "ohhhhh". It was fun also spending time with friends that I'd worked with in 1974 when I first moved to California. We spent hours reminiscing over old times.
Next we're off to the Bahamas and in November we'll be going up to New York to spend Thanksgiving with family. We've already got 2 trips planned for next year--Makes me weary just to think about it.
So, the bottom line? I look at traveling as if it were the yucky tasting medicine my mom used to make me take. I'd hold my breath while she said "This is really good for you." And it really was.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Notice Anything?

This past weekend we drove to Atlanta to celebrate our grandaughter's 4th birthday. We had a blast, as we always do visiting our grandchildren.
I find now that I'm retired, I have more time to notice things and I do--Notice things that is.
I notice that North Carolina doesn't seem to have as many billboards as does South Carolina and Georgia and the signs we do have mostly advertise retail establishments and new areas to live. So I notice that but what I also notice is what's on the signs in South Carolina and Georgia.
I'm definitely living in the bible belt and I'm OK with that because I was raised by a southern mother and we spent all day every Sunday in church. In my middle years, I got away from organized religion but as I'm getting older, I find myself missing the church fellowship, so I'm feeling comfortable that there's a church on every corner and when the spirit moves me, I'll find one that fits.
Anyhow, back to the billboards (or outdoor advertising, as it's called). Interspersed between all of the signs touting food, gas, lodging, antique shops, rug stores and outlet malls, I saw loads of religious billboards: "Jesus Saves" (on bright white letters on a flaming red cross), "Meet you at my house, on Sunday--Signed God" and "I hate God--signed Satan". I also saw "In God we trust, United we stand" and an advertisement for the "Jesus I trust you" prayer line. My absolute favorite, though was "Don't make me come down there--signed God".
Smack in the middle of some of these religious billboards was this billboard: Cafe Risque - Topless/Topless. Notice that they had to print topless twice just in case you missed it the first time. So we have religion and!!!
Then paying tribute to how insane you'd have to be to mess with fireworks, there are the signs for Crazy Steve and Wacky Jack's fireworks--aptly named.
As I was pondering those signs I thought of the sign at the end of my cousin's street in Long Island. We have many family gatherings there because she has a great big back yard. I'd never noticed this sign before but it had been there as long as my cousin's house had been there. One day we were driving into my cousin's driveway and my son said, "That's a fitting sign". The sign said "Dead End". It was at the end of the walkway and right behind the sign was a gate enclosing a cemetery. Wow! I'd never noticed that in all those years.
What do you notice?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Guess Who I Saw Today?

My daughter, Rashida, is always calling me to say: "Guess who I saw today?" It's always some celebrity. She's seen Kate Hudson, Orlando Bloom, and Katy Holmes, among others. I always say "Are you sure?" Of course, she's always sure and I end up believing her because celebrity sightings are very common in New York.
Well I had a celebrity sighting of my own today. Our dear friends, Vonnie & Bob Hunt are visiting from the San Francisco Bay Area. They are driving their camper cross country and visiting friends and family along the way. I was really excited to have them come and stay for a few days and while they were here, we thought we'd take them into Charlotte to see a little of the city.
We were sitting at a table at Mert's Heart & Soul (a soul food restaurant in Uptown) having dinner when I noticed a black Lexus SUV pull up to the curb. Three guys got out of the SUV and walked towards Mert's front door. As they came in, one of them caught my attention. He was a big guy and he was loaded with bold gold necklaces. I looked at him and thought instantly, "I know him". He looked directly at me and I said to myself, "That's Biz Markie". He and his friends were seated and I mulled the thought over in my mind. I turned to Vonnie and said "How do you spell Biz Markie?" She knew who I meant immediately and spelled it for me and I asked Ted for his Iphone. I googled Biz Markie and a picture came up. It looked like the guy that had just walked in but I couldn't be sure so I looked at some data on him to see if he was from Charlotte. He was not--He was from New York, but I still was sure it was him. After all, how far was Charlotte from New York?
I kept mulling it over and when the waitress came over I leaned over to her and said "Excuse me, I think that I recognize someone who came into your restaurant. Is Biz Markie dining here?" She smiled widely and said "You recognized Biz Markie?" (as if she was surprised that I would know him). "Yes, he's eating here". She then turned to one of her fellow waitresses and said, increduously "She recognized Biz Markie". The other waitress gave me the thumbs up. I felt compelled to say "I have children" as an explanation as to how a dinosaur like me would know a rap star. Anyhow, they seemed pleased, said he would be pleased and that they would tell him that I'd recognized him.
I called my son and told him that I'd seen Biz Markie. It was like yesterday as we laughed over the time he'd made me watch Biz Markie's video "Just A Friend" ("oh baby, you, you got what I need but you say he's just a friend, you say he's just a friend... I remebered how funny I thought Biz Markie was with his funny way of part singing/part straining out the lyrics. I felt cool.
As we left the restaurant, Vonnie told Bob about my sighting and I told Ted. Bob thought Vonnie was talking about a theater marquee and Ted thought I was talking about Big Markie (whoever that is).
It was a good day....Full of laughs