Holding onto a smell

Yesterday I drove down to Dallas to visit with a friend of mine I’ve known since first grade.  She had a baby about a month ago and I wanted to meet him and deliver some gifts.  Her parents were also in town and her Dad greeted me with a hug when I got there.  I had a great visit and enjoyed holding this precious little person in my arms.  As I was driving back toward Oklahoma, I noticed this scent/fragrance on my shirt.  It was a good smell and seemed familiar to me but couldn’t put my finger on why until later in the evening.  Every so often during the drive, I would get a whiff of it.  Once back home, I was relaxing in my lounger and then it hit me.  The smell was the same cologne as my uncle used to wear.  He passed away many years ago but I just loved that cologne.  My Dad wears it occasionally.  I called my Mom to tell her and she knew what I meant how something like that could stir up memories.  I teased saying I may have to sleep in that shirt.  This all sounds odd but I know we all have certain scents that stir up memories or make us feel a certain way.  Hugging my friend’s Dad yesterday allowed me to have a case of nostalgia and left me with a warm feeling as I drifted off to bed last night.  Until that scent is gone, that shirt won’t be going anywhere near the washer.

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Pet peeve…

Just a quick thought….as I was watching the national anthem being performed by Christina Aguilera tonight for Lakers/Celtics game (shout out to you, Carmen ;-)…..I couldn’t help but get irritated at the lack of respect the players have for the national anthem.  Is it really too much to ask for them to stand still and for the American players to show respect by putting hand over their heart for just a few minutes?  This bothers me with college players too.  The friends I sit with at our basketball games knows it drives me crazy (and they agree with me).  Our coach isn’t consistent with it either….well, let me rephrase….our men’s coach.  Coach Coale acts appropriately as do most of the players. 

Am I just too sensitive about this?  I hope not.  It is sad that right after 9/11, a lot of people bought flags, flew their flags with pride and boasted loudly and with passion they were proud to be Americans.  What happened to that?

When a book makes you think

I love when you read a book and it makes an impression on you…..leaves you wanting to be a better person.  Without giving too much away, the book I’m referring to is The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans.  After an obituary is written (falsely) about the main character, he is forced to think about and reflect on what others think about him.  With a new outlook on life, he chooses to ‘make amends’ with those he has hurt. 

There were times when I stopped reading and thought about what people think of me….what would I change about how I live my life.  If I were on the outside looking in, would I like what I saw?   I walked away from this book with, perhaps, a renewed sense of purpose.  I may not remember it every day…but I want to try and leave everyone around me better.  I have referenced this quote  before (Maya Angelou’s, I believe), “When you know better, you do better.”  If I were to die tomorrow, I would want people to have nothing but nice things to say about me.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them so I hope I have reciprocated what they have given me. 

So, long story short….I highly encourage those readers out there to check out this book.  It’s a quick, but inspirational read.  It will leave you thinking, “hmm, is this the best I can do?”

Family time

This past Wednesday, I returned from a 4 day visit to Chicago with my parents.  The weather was perfect….mainly in the low 80’s during the day and dropping in the evening.  There was a day where it rained on and off but as my Mom put it, “It’s cool rain so I still don’t care.”  I had three goals going into the trip for my parents: visit with my Mom’s sister & brother-in-law, visit with my Dad’s long-time friend (whom I’ve considered an uncle since I was little) and last but not least, my Dad’s sister.  All three goals were accomplished. 

We arrived on Sunday after both having smooth flights…mine from Oklahoma City and my parents’ from San Antonio.  I got in early and waited at their gate for them to get in.  I wheeled my Dad down to get our luggage and we proceeded to the garage to get our rental car.  Sunday evening we had a great visit as my cousin and his wife hosted us for dinner.  Some other cousins stopped by too which was a nice surprise.  Monday night, we visited with my Dad’s sister and then took her to dinner with my Mom’s sister and her husband.  The place was a great recommendation from my cousin.  It was called Coopershawk.  A really cute winery and restaurant allowed us to have some delicious wine and steak dinner.  I was impressed that my Mom even ordered coffee and dessert after dinner.  Tuesday came with some rains but as I said earlier….it was not humid and so it was a welcome change.  We took a drive to this place we had last visited 11 years ago, Lake Catherine.  It’s a very peaceful lake tucked away in the suburb of Palos Hills.  Being the photographer that I am, I snapped about 20 pictures while my parents took in the view and relaxed on a nearby bench.  Tuesday night brought on dinner with my aunt again and we were accompanied by my Dad’s longtime friend, ‘Uncle Pete.’  I haven’t seen him in a few years but he hasn’t changed much….other than a little more silver in his hair.  He is an absolute blast to be around.  I loved looking across the table and seeing my Dad erupt in laughter after leaning over to Uncle Pete as they reminsced about some story that happened years ago.  The setting was great as well…great food and live music and fun company.  So my sisters would be proud, I snapped some group pictures before we said good-bye. 

The last day of our visit was Wednesday where my Mom & I enjoyed a visit of the grounds of my aunt’s place so my Dad & aunt could get a quality visit.  A few hours later, we stopped at my Mom’s sister’s house to say bye and then headed to the airport.  My parents hung out with me at my gate before it was my time to board. 

It didn’t feel like the time flew by though naturally it’s always hard to leave family members, always wanting to spend a little more time with them.  Trust me, we definitely wanted to postpone returning to 90+ degree weather.  But, the visit came to an end…but not after accomplishing what we came to accomplish.

Oh look, a chicken…

This is nothing personal to people who have been diagnosed with A.D.D. but is merely to share some humor.  My older sister and I got our other sister a t-shirt with this message on the front: “They say I have A.D.D. but they don’t understand.  Oh look, a chicken.”  Add that to what Ellen Degeneres talks about in her HBO special, I feel like I’m totally emulating it ‘to a T.’ 

I am leaving on a trip tomorrow.  I woke up at 7:30ish this morning, ready to take on the day which would include laundry, packing, church and end with a baseball game.  I got up and started with my usual routine…hit the ‘on’ button for coffeemaker and headed to brush my teeth.  I then started a load of laundry.  I sat down to check my phone for e-mails and turn on the Today Show.  Shortly after, my mind began to lose focus.  I hopped up to grab my suitcase from the closet and bag I’d use as a carry-on.  The first load of laundry was done so I hung those on the drying rack and put towels in the dryer.  I went back to sit down to have another sip of coffee.  My phone lit up saying it was my move on Words with Friends.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a pile of random stuff so I started sorting through that.  I got up for more coffee and then stopped to clean up some stuff on the counter.  Are you noticing a pattern here?  I had a left my Mom a message about something so when she called, I pushed pause on my remote as I was watching an old Oprah show and answered the call.  I practically didn’t let her get anything in as I said, “Mom, my A.D.D. is kicking in bad today…sheesh, I have about 5 piles going and am all over the place.”  She just started laughing and responded, “isn’t it bad….there is a serious case of Ellenitis going around.”  I hung up the phone…went back to the pile I was working on and then got up again to put in another load of laundry.

Well, after laughing at myself and my piles….naturally, I realized this might be blog-worthy….so I once again stopped what I was doing to switch gears and grabbed my laptop to do this blog.  I’m proud to say that I didn’t stop once I started typing….but it’s already 10:00, I really should get up and shower.