Saturday morning

Just a little bit about being grateful —
Today
I am grateful for
My health
My family
My life;
I am grateful for
Fresh ground coffee
Irish cream to go with it
And time to enjoy it;
I am grateful for
Generosity
Optimism and
Spirit;
I am grateful
For words,
My love of them and
My ability to use them;
I am grateful for
Friends
Laughter
Love.

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Aaah, Friday morning

It’s the end of a long, long work week.  I am ever so happy.

I keep telling the kids: I only have one nerve left and you’re getting on it!  Of course, I’m kidding, and they know it, but I can feel that my patience is rapidly waning.  Dec. 23rd can’t get here soon enough.

This morning, though, I’m enjoying my morning coffee and looking forward to a busy, but fun, weekend.  We’re going shopping tonight, then tree hunting tomorrow — we cut our own tree at a tree farm we’ve been visiting since we moved to Bon Accord 21 years ago.  Then, on Sunday I’m going to do some volunteer Christmas gift wrapping in support of JDRF for Gibbons School.  I have wrangled Tim into helping, so I’m sure it will be a hilarious time.  He’s a consummate clown and crowd pleaser.

Watched X-Factor last night.  I am really enjoying this show, am astounded by the caliber of talent that exists out there, but that is ‘undiscovered’.  Until Simon Cowell.  Whom I adore.  He’s like Oscar the Grouch, only much better looking.  He may be a steely eyed business man, but, in the tiny bit of research I’ve done on him he is also a caring, compassionate philanthropist.  And his genuine concern for the singers he has mentored, as well as some of the others on the show, shows each time one of them was sent home.

The only true criticism I have of this show is that I don’t agree that children under the age of 16 should be allowed to enter.  It is painful to watch these kids after they have been rejected.  Emotionally, they are too fragile to handle such huge disappointment.

They have spent weeks being built up as ‘an amazing artist’,  ‘a true recording star’, ‘brilliant’, ‘an extremely talented singer with a bright future’ and on and on and on.  They don’t have the experience or the mental and emotional ability to deal with the reality that this is all for television ratings.  There can only be one winner, everybody else, no matter how good they are, or how much they believe in everything they’re told, will be a loser.

Which is not to say that they are ‘losers’.  Anyone who can sing and perform the way these contestants have is anything but a loser.  They are all talented, creative individuals and I hope that many of them — Drew, Rachel, LeRoy — go on to have huge success.  But watching Rachel and Drew after they were eliminated from the show was more than painful.  These girls are little more than children, watching them disintegrate on stage was awful to witness.

I know they’ll be fine; they have strong, loving, supportive families.  And let’s not overlook the fact that Simon, or LA or some other producer watching all this unfold will sign these young stars to a recording contract.  But, I just don’t think children should be subjected to the kind of world they are being expected to compete in at such a young age.  I hope that they raise the age limit for future shows.

In the meantime, my money is Josh Krajick.  He is one amazing artist.  And I can’t wait for his first album.  Also, I have to give a shout out to Chris Renee — he was amazing last night.  The song he finished with — well, it was simply beautiful.

And, those are my thoughts for this Friday.  Have a good one, everybody!

Good Friday morning

Sunrise, Sedona

Morning Has Broken

Cat Stevens’ falsetto
on a loop playing inside.
My eyes flutter, open wide.

Please, a half-hour more;
but the sun gently peeking
tempts, and I’m up seeking,

Meaning and coffee.
The latter, black and strong,  first,
because — well,  I guess I’m cursed.

There is no black bird,
no new-day song spoken;
It’s just me who’s awoken

To greet the new morn’.
Cat’s gentle refrain
now a whisper as day begins again.

© Kathy Larson 2011

it was a cold and rainy night. . .

. . . but it was a good night, too.  I think I made some new friends, which is always a good thing, and we all did a good thing, which is great.

Foote Field was drenched in rain when we arrived at 3:30 p.m.  We unloaded the vehicle, and while I went to park Kyle and Heather got the tents set up.  Did I say that I love you two?  That was awesome!  Ashley, Saranya and I hung around inside waiting to register and drop off our fundraising envelopes.  Because we were there so early, this went quickly — about the only thing that did, for a while.

When we joined up with Kyle and Heather and got our living arrangements all sorted out we went to find a cup of coffee or tea to help warm us up, only to find that there was none.  This could have made us grumpy, but seeing that the thousand other folks out there on the track with us were in the same predicament, it somehow didn’t seem appropriate to whine too much.  So. . .

. . . we went and grabbed a granola bar and a juice from Sturgeon’s hospitality tent and went and set up our Scrabble game.  The ‘real’ walking hadn’t started yet, so we figured — what the hey? — at least we were out of the rain (which hadn’t yet turned to snow) and having some fun.  We never did finish our game — got too cold and too hungry and had to go searching for something warm.

Though this event didn’t turn out exactly as I had imagined (or, anywhere near what I had imagined, for that matter) it was a wonderful experience, nonetheless.  Unbelievable the amount of people who came out in such lousy weather to support such a worthy cause.  At no time during the 12 hours we were there on the track, or in the Saville Center, did we hear even one person complaining.  The survivor’s parade at the beginning, which kicked the whole night off, was moving and sad and wonderful.  All those people in their bright yellow survivor’s t-shirts, walking past us smiling, waving and saying thank you with their eyes — it was inspiring.  I only hope I have that sense of grace should anything terrible ever befall me.

After that, we got down to the walking.  That’s when it started to snow.  Big fluffy snowflakes, being driven by a sharp breeze right into our faces.  We just laughed, shrugged our shoulders and marched on.  And while we marched, others ran. There were a few people there that I’m sure ran their entire shifts.  More than once.   In all honesty I have to admit that our team did not walk the entire 12 hours in shifts, but, because we chose to stick together as a group during the walking we figured, in the end, that our collective time had to equal the 12 hours.

It simply was impossible to stay out in the cold and the wet non-stop.  Despite the laughs and the jokes and the chatter, eventually we just got so cold we had to go in to pee and get a cup of something warm.  (The Starbucks people eventually showed up around 8 o’clock — thank God and insulated plastic coffee urns!)  Heather, who NEVER drinks coffee, had two, with cream and sugar.  All three of those things can give her deadly migraines, but, seriously, that’s how cold she was.  Not to mention  hungry.  Because. . .

. . . for some reason we couldn’t fathom, there was no food for us walkers until after 8 o’clock, either.  Now, that did make us a bit cranky.  By the time we’d finished our first shift on  the track we were starving, so the pasta, buns, salad and squares they fed us seemed like manna from heaven.  In truth it was over-cooked, too salty and just not that good, at all.  But, hey, it was better than eating cheese popcorn, Almond Joy bits, KitKat nuggets and gummy bears.  (My stomach starts heaving all over again, just thinking about that appetizing combination.)  Truly, though, these things were delicious at the time, the five of us sharing them and laughing as we crammed crap down our gullets.

In between stints of walking we’d clamber inside our tent and wrap up in blankets to keep warm and just sit and talk.  Or, we’d head inside to use the can, and see what was going on inside.  We played bingo, ate more crappy food, drank much too much coffee and laughed a great deal.

I’ve got to send a holler out to Saranya’s parents and her boyfriend Collin and their friend, Lucky.  Twice they came to Foote bearing coffee or hot chocolate, and donuts.  So nice of them to go out of their way for us.  We truly appreciated it.  And, Collin and Lucky got to join us for Bingo.  Let me just say that Kyle is a mad bingo player!  That boy was playing 16 cards!  By the end he was frothing at the mouth and hyper-ventilating.  And still, he didn’t win a blessed thing!

Then it was back out onto the track, the snow had slowed to a light misty, slushy-type drizzle that coated our glasses and soaked through our hats and hoodies.  It was around mid-night by this time, and the temperature had dropped considerably.  Our feet, knees, hips and backs were sore.  I was beginning to feel like that character from Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman’s story, The Long Walk.  The track was dark, and bodies were just shuffling en-mass around it in the wet and the cold, knowing there was a purpose in putting one foot solidly in front of the other, but unsure anymore about continuing to do so.  But then, you’d catch a snippet of hushed conversation from a group nearby and you’d remember.  Or, one of the signs placed as memorials would catch the corner of your eye and you’d think, this I can do, for those who can’t.   And so, on you’d go, round and round.

And then it was 2 o’clock and we decided to try to get some sleep.  Kyle and Heather managed to drift off.  Ashley, Saranya and I talked and talked and talked.  Finally around 3 we quieted down.  I drifted off but awoke 1/2 hour later as Saranya was slipping out of the tent.  “Can’t sleep,”  she mouthed, and went out to continue walking.  I drifted off, fitfully, but around quarter past 4 decided enough was enough.  I was too uncomfortable trying to sleep comfortably in a folding chair, I was freezing and I thought I might as well get out there and put in another hour.  So, I did.

At 5:30 I spied Heather leaving the tent, it took me nearly half way around the track to catch up with her, but when I did, I told her that my hour was up and I needed to pee and get coffee.  Off we went into the warmth of the center.  There the smell of eggs and sausage greeted us.  I had told myself I wasn’t going to eat anything more, but the cold does funny things to your appetite.  So, we both chowed down and I drank more coffee, even knowing that I’d be unable to sleep when I finally got home.  (I managed a couple of unsettled hours, but finally had to give up.  Hence, I’m sitting here blogging.)  Ashley, Kyle and Saranya came in about an hour later and we decided that was it.  The snow had started again, the wind had picked up and so it was time for us to do the same.

Team Sturgeon wanted to do a last victory lap, but as Ashley said:  “The fact that we’re still here, this IS our victory lap.”

So, quietly, we packed up and knocked down.  Kyle went and brought my vehicle up, we hailed a golf cart to haul some of our stuff and then we dragged the rest of it across the sodden field to the parking lot.  We threw it in as best as we could, said some hurried good-byes and that was the end of our 16 hour marathon called the Relay for Life.

Thanks, everybody, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.  We did good.

Thursday Morning

I should be making my lunch right now. . .

prefer doing this.

This being writing.  I wish I could do this and nothing but this all the time.

Unfortunately, I gotta help pay the bills.

Fortunately, I can do that doing a job I enjoy.  Mostly, most of the time.

I am so glad for the rain.

But, I wish it were a bit warmer.

I was really liking wearing my capri’s and sandals  to work everyday.

Desperately need coffee. . .

must go to kitchen. . .

must leave blog. . .

get back to reality.

LOL