Sunday, December 30, 2012

Selfless or Selfish...

After recent horrific acts to our fellow mankind there has been a renewed push for random acts of kindness.  The idea is to leave a note and let the recipient know the good deed was in honor of the victims of these terrible events.  Sort of a new play on "Pay it Forward".

Maybe it's my Midwest upbringing but isn't this just being a good person?  Don't get me wrong.  I think it is an amazing opportunity to treat those, with whom we share this earth, with kindness.  But why do we need a tragedy to occur to be reminded to be nice.

I think back to the way we were raised by our parents.  My Dad always shoveled for Mr. McCoy next door.  In the summer we would mow his lawn as an extension of our own.  I would circle the yard at my grandparent's home and continue over into their elderly neighbor's property.  We would help the Hansens and Kleinschmidts across the street.  Even when we were a military family you helped your neighbor. If you had extra you shared.  Bountiful gardens. Successful hunts.  There were no notes left.  You didn't toot your own horn.  You just did it because it was the right thing to do.

This morning we enjoyed a taste of the Midwest with a little snow. Of course with snow comes a date with the shovel. After yesterday's inside activities, I found myself looking forward to some outdoor time (and the exercise). I allowed my shovel to lead me where I needed to be.  No messages left behind. Just the warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart and my brain cleared of clutter. 

I'm thankful my husband's youth was filled with similar moments, even though he was in the Pacific Northwest... just one of the things that drew us together - the belief in helping our family and neighbors.
Of course, there is one difference - in the Midwest we are a bit less creative when it comes to snow removal...  

I know our children were raised with our beliefs.  Pay it forward was more than a movie in this family.  And now with their spouses, they have found someone with the same values. They help friends and family with projects even when it means putting their own day's plans on hold.  I hear of them stopping to help strangers on the side of the road, checking on stranded motorists and helping coworkers even when it means they miss a little sleep because things didn't go quite as planned.  I love how they do for others, how they are caring and practical, and how they don't expect anything in return.  I love the fact they don't flaunt their possessions. I love how they are comfortable in their own skin and don't have to share every "don't I look good" moment on social media.  Instead they share with one another. They don't forget their family.  I see these same values in so many of our extended family too.  These are the same ones I know if we called and said "we need you", they would respond. It's not about calling yourself a good Christian, or doing something to be noticed. It's about setting a good example.

I hope they all know how proud I am of each and every one of them. They are all independent, secure individuals who find success in their less-than-public achievements. I love how we stay close - using each other for sounding boards, venting, sharing and philosophizing. I love that our relationship doesn't stop when "out of sight, out of mind".  It doesn't have to be about what we have.  It's about family.  It's about caring and love.  It's about being a good person all the time - not just when someone is looking.

The fresh air and activity got me to thinking...  as wonderful as the random acts of kindness are, to do for others, how about an addition to the original challenge...  let's be nice without being noticed.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas to all...

Our wish for you is a joyful Christmas holiday and a New Year filled with bright days and great memories yet to be made!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red Means Stop

Mike went to a meeting in Middleton Thursday night.  He rode the motorcycle since I was working. This is not normal practice but we were busy at work with cases and Mike and I were unable to connect before he had to leave for his meeting.

He was coming home east bound. While braking for the red light on Chinden at Linder (Fred Meyer corner) the light turned green so he started accelerating. Typical of so many intersections here the car going south bound ran the red light. Mike was prepared as he approached and was watching for the car. Mike braked hard and dumped bike. It rolled a couple times.

Fortunately Mike was wearing his full helmet and leathers. The visor broke off and the side of the helmet is scraped. The wind screen frame is bent. There is a signal light broke. The highway bar did its job protecting the bike but it too is bent and scraped.

Thank goodness some folks stopped and helped to stand the bike - and check on Mike. The other driver did NOT even brake, let alone stop!

Mike initially tried calling for the Roadside Service but its an East Coast number and no one answered. (Guess we will have to check that out...). He accessed the damage to the bike, determined it was still rideable so headed for home. Didn't feel any pain - adrenaline rush?!

The roads were wet - a skiff of snow was starting. He doesn't normally ride this time of year at night. Daylight only - cold to a point but not freezing. We just didn't get our schedules organized this week.

Once home he didn't say anything to me when he came in. I'm not in the habit of checking him over after a ride so I had no clue something occurred. He said he was chilled and went up to shower. It was nearly bedtime so nothing was suspicious about finding him in bed reading.

In the morning he usually is up before me otherwise I would have gone off to work without a clue anything happened to him. However as I came out of the bathroom he had his back to me across the room. His upper hip was swollen out the side. I walked over to him saying "What the heck... " and saw a big bruise starting on his leg. When asked he said "I may have dumped the bike last night." Sheez - MAY HAVE?!

He laid back down because he felt nauseas. I asked if he hit his head. He confirmed the helmet damage and broken visor. Enough said... I called work to say I would be in late and told him we were going to the ER.

Injuries assessed revealed the swollen bruise on left hip, right bruised wrist and thumb and pain under left arm in his chest.

The staff drew blood and X-rays were taken of hip and chest. Orthostatic's taken. (Blood pressure and respiration laying down, sitting and standing). No blood found in his urine. Heart was running good.

No cracks or breaks. Contusion of the ribs causing the shortness of breath. Just the ugly bruise on his hip. Hallelujah there was nothing broken under skin. No internal injuries.

He was sent home with Norco for pain and told to hydrate, rest and ice his bruises.

When we got home we checked the Harley in the daylight. Most (maybe all) the damages currently visible may be repaired at home. Thank goodness for insurance. After we called we learned they will even replace the helmet and we hadn't even asked.

His leathers are in good shape. There is a scrape on the side on the jacket which correlates to the point of pain in his chest. He must have hit something - maybe the handlebar - going down.

Now for the 'talk'. Daylight riding in good weather only. We will have to be more proactive about scheduling things. We've never had a problem making it work with just the Tahoe for inclement transportation.

He spent the past couple of days following doctor's orders... Hard to believe. I think he is hurting a tad more than he lets on.

The bruising on his leg has increased dramatically over the past couple of days but the motion in his arm and pain in the chest is improving.

There is no doubt about it... Mike has an angel riding with him (Thank you Rex) AND God definitely is not ready for him yet.

Top - Friday 6am - Middle - Friday 9pm - Bottom - Saturday 9am

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scents of Christmas

Much to my surprise, flowers were delivered to our doorstep this morning. 
The card read "To Deb from Michael". 
I looked at my husband and asked "Are these from you?" because quite honestly I figured he owed me an apology for his ommision Thursday night (a story to be shared soon).
Mike tried to assure me they weren't from him.  Admittedly there are a few Michaels in our life.
He said they were from my brother Michael.
In all my years, I've never received flowers from my brother. 
I silently grinned.  What a thoughtful gesture.
(Hand raised) and yes  - I did go on-line and check our credit card account
because I really didn't believe my husband.
I even texted my sister and asked if she had received anything from our little brother.
She did! And soon after I learned our Mom got flowers too. 
If he were 13 and not 43 I'd wonder if he were up to something. 
I've always known he has a soft side. 
I love how he stays in touch with his nieces and nephews. 
I love how he helped them with book money when they were in school.
I love how he wanted to stay with Matt and Brit when he visited this summer for the wedding.
I love that he sent us flowers!
Merry Christmas little brother.
I love you. 

Decorations Up...

 So how do two empty nesters (one who has no business being on a rooftop and the other who is afraid of heights) manage to make the outside of their humble abode look festive for the Christmas holiday?  Well since you asked I'll share - You hire a Rooftop Ninja

Our usual high.altitude.aerial.stunt.marshall was still working out of town but we were fortunate to have a contingency plan.  Actually I think the back-up has been the go-to for the past couple of years by default since he's now local.

I'm delighted to add, this Rooftop Ninja is reasonably priced and worked us into his newlywed schedule for the mere cost of Chicken and Dumplings. 

A very skilled Rooftop Ninja
Meanwhile inside preparations were being made for payment in full.  No PayPal account required for this transaction. American Express is not accepted.  Just a few ingredients...

Carrots, celery and onion

Idaho's finest potatoes
Chicken pieces simmering in the stock.

(Insert Jeopardy time clock music here...)

Voila - a ultra yummy smelling pot of chicken and vegetables
It's not a meal I grew up eating because my Dad over-indulged on it's inexpensive fixings as a youth and no longer cared for the meal.  Since our move  to the West, it's become a cold weather staple.  And it is traditionally our First Night Meal at Kalaloch. (Thank you Oregon Shaw's for the introduction!)

When I think of chicken and dumplings, OUR version includes a biscuit-type dumpling cooked on top of the soup mix.

Recently I saw a version on a cooking show which was made with a similar recipe except the dough was rolled out flat, cut into noodles and dropped into the boiling soup mixture.  One of these days I just might step up my routine and try the noodle dumplings.

Of course I could always use the same dough and roll them into one inch oblong beads - this is how Rosa use to make her dumplings in Venezuela. I found them comforting but Mike, not-so-much.
With the dough mix dropped into the top of the boiling soup, it cooks covered for a spell and then uncovered until the 'dumplings' are done. 

Dumplings - nothing easier...  Bisquick and milk
And because I love both of our Rooftop Ninja's I diligently made bought a Razzleberry pie from Auntie Marie to serve up with our homemade (seriously are you kidding?) vanilla ice cream.

FAIL (did I mention I hate my oven!)
 On a lighter note - the outside of the house resembles a beacon for lost and weary travelers - and our Christmas trees inside stand straight and tall adorned with our memories of trips we've made as a family and special reminders of family and friends.
LED's are much brighter than the old type...