Alexandra the Great's Private Papers

June 12, 2014

Mislaid Enthusiasm

Filed under: Attitude — Alexandra The Great @ 6:19 pm
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Today arrived with that marvelous feeling that arises from waking up on one’s own without the aid an alarm clock. You know the feeling, that almost physical happiness resulting from being well rested that is often accompanied by a feeling of optimism and sometimes by an enthusiasm for productivity. I had that enthusiasm today. It was strong when I stepped out of bed and it was hopeful as I sipped my morning coffee. After a leisurely morning of reading and browsing around on the internet I began to sense that it was time to make use of my enthusiasm and get to work. There was no shortage of things to be done and I meant to conquer all. It was then that I began to notice that my enthusiasm had been mislaid.

I am sorry to say that on noticing my enthusiasm gone optimism began to wane.

In the absence of both enthusiasm and optimism I soon resigned myself to the prospect of a very lazy day. Once resigned I poked about the house lethargically and told myself that as this was my first day off this week I could indulge in a day of rest. By late afternoon I realized that I had made a few accomplishments after all. Not only had I enjoyed a cup of tea from a very special cup, I had also watched an episode of Inspector Morse. I will not tell you about cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry or mopping the floor for that would wreck my story of indolence. I will tell you, though, that to neatly top off my lazy day I ate chips and salsa for dinner. Salsa is very much like salad, I think.

Tomorrow will be a brand new day and possibly an energetic one. As for that hoard of undone chores…they will still be there in the morning.

August 2, 2013

Introverts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alexandra The Great @ 9:02 am
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http://elibishop.com/2011/07/27/10-myths-about-introverts/

I came across this blog post by Eli Bishop and thought it worthy of passing along.  An introvert myself I applaud anyone who champions the cause of introversion. I was particularly amused at myth #1 as I have noticed, with somewhat pained amusement, that people with something to say won’t speak until they find someone to listen while the many who have nothing to say can’t quit talking. The shortage of listeners in the world may explain the introvert’s tendency to write.

December 30, 2009

The Homemaker and Solzhenhitsyn

Filed under: Eternity,Solzhenitsyn — Alexandra The Great @ 1:41 am

Some months ago while spending too much time online, I came across an article about the death of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Behind on the news as usual, I did not read this article until months after the event, but because it was news to me, interest in this familiar name was aroused and I thought it time to acquaint myself with the literary giant dead though he may be. Having provided myself with an excuse to shop I immediately went to Amazon.com where I found various books by the sought after author and, not wanting to commit to three volumes, I decided on The First Circle, a short read by Russian standards.

I had previously not heard of this book but was certain that, being written by Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle would not be a waste of time. The irony here is that people who spend too much time online are already guilty of time-wasting and ought not to worry that any book could affect the same wasteful results as the internet. So with the click of a button the novel was mine and I had only to wait a small number of days before I could open its preworn (yes, used) pages and embark on another journey to a far away place where I would meet new friends, and more importantly, their author.

Some time has passed since receiving Solzhenitsyn in the mail and having finished the book months ago I am left with more impression than details. The first and heaviest impression that comes to mind is that socialism is bad. Anyone who thinks that Marx promoted a grand idea needs to read Solzhenitsyn. The First Circle was long, dark, and tragic. This is no Christian comedy. If there is such thing as a Christian tragedy, this is it. No one’s hopes are fulfilled and no one’s conflicts are resolved. In fact, at the book’s end the protagonist’s circumstances go from bad to worse with no hope of recovery.

I had hoped to meet new friends as I often do in books but found that few of the characters in this story actually trusted each other which makes them a tough group to break into. I had a much easier time befriending the Pevensie children than of warming up to one of Solzhenitsyn’s characters. But that’s how it is when a state takes the place of God and secures its people’s obedience with talons of fear. Men are created to be free and without freedom they can not have relationships as they were meant to be. Freedom provides safety which enables love and security but fear imposes cold and dreadful distance between men.

One thing that Solzhenitsyn communicated well is the resilience of men under the worst of circumstances. Men strive for a sense of normal and hope for their future (even for the next meal) whatever the darkness that surrounds them. I see this in everyone I know. Everyone strives to function normally in even the worst of disasters. We all want to believe that things are not as bad as they really are. We want to feel that relationships are healthy when they are not and we cling to the hope that if tomorrow isn’t better than today than surely the day after will be. Of ourselves we want to believe, and often do, that we are grander than advertised (that we are bigger and better than we really are). All things might be against us, our government may make laws contrary to our well-being, our relationships might be unraveling and temporal circumstances fill us with hope or despair, yet eternity is written on our hearts. That is why we always know, even if only as a nagging feeling, that there is more than this. We were meant for greatness but something has gone wrong. Some malevolent will has intervened and kept us from what we were meant to be. We can glimpse what ought to have been but the vision is immediately obscured by the fog of the temporal. The serpent still speaks.

We long for the light of eternity. We look for it in many places and find substitutes that make us feel significant, such as politics, service groups, or even Twitter. The possibilities are endless. These are only temporal but the light of eternity can be found only in God. Every person has to deal with the issue of God. Who is he? Has he spoken? Those who commit themselves to denying God existence run the terrible risk of being wrong. Dead wrong in fact.

Solzhenitsyn knew first hand the oppression of communism and the black hole of prison and he could portray them realistically, honestly. But what about those of us who are in a different sort of prison, one of our own making where darkness is called light and good is called evil, where we have lost the ability to call things by their right name? God is the only one with the power to shine light into that kind of darkness, to make that kind of communism fall, and to drive out fear with perfect love. He has placed each of us in our own place and time that we might seek him.

I suppose I did find a friend in Alexander. Not a sentimental or cheery friend, but an honest one.

December 29, 2009

Chocolate

Filed under: Attitude — Alexandra The Great @ 7:28 pm

Change is  inevitable and I don’t like it. The world, against my will, is in a constant state of flux. I understand this, yet never wishing for change I find even myself involuntarily changing. Some things I want to stay the same for the comfortable sake of habit; still other things I don’t want to change because to do so will bring me face to face with the unknown and that always involves risk, something I am committed to avoiding. Finally, I regret to inform you, there are the things I don’t want changed simply for the sake of pride. Having said that we now come to the subject of chocolate.

This may sound childish to you and it probably is, but I have never cared much for chocolate and this dislike has been something of a point of pride with me. Yes, I sometimes indulge myself in petty pride. How often I do this we need not discuss. Recently, however, my childish resolve to dislike what everyone else seems to love was challenged. While waiting in the grocery check-out line I happened to see various kinds of dark chocolate bars. While I actually like white chocolate and milk chocolate if it’s filled with peanut butter, dark chocolate has been classified in my mind as a thing that one should not eat.

As I age, not surprisingly (for you who have experience with aging), I find that my tastes change. Colors I once disliked have a regrettable appeal. I now wear fabrics I once avoided. I like foods I once hated. Understanding this unfortunate trend and remembering the glowing reports I had heard on the benefits of dark chocolate I thought it might just be time to humble myself and give chocolate another chance. After all, it seems that dark chocolate may be something of a wonder drug. Not only is it an antioxidant and lowers blood pressure, but, I have been told, acts as an anti-depressant as well. Perhaps my tastes had changed. Perhaps I would like chocolate now. Besides, being long accustomed to an afternoon sweet treat I thought a wonder drug would be a suitable replacement for cookies or cake. Wanting to start out simple I chose the bar for beginners. It had no almonds, no oatmeal and raisins or other optional upgrades,  just straight chocolate. The wrapper boasted that this bar was not only organic but also 73%. I had to ask the clerk about the 73% and learned that this figure referred to the amount of cocoa in this particular bar which, he said, would be on the bitter side of things. If I liked this I may want to try the 85% bar but I would have to work up to that.

As it turned out, I didn’t half mind eating chocolate. In fact, I felt I might even be able to acquire a taste for cocoa products…might. I didn’t feel I had just been treated for depression and I have no idea how improved my health might be for having consumed all those wonderful antioxidants but I enjoyed the thought that something healthy could come in dessert form.

Wondering what kinds of toxins these antioxidants might have rid me of made me think of the spiritual toxins we are all familiar with. You know, the things that harm us yet we indulge in any way, things like gossip, envy, and the ever popular complaining. Why is it that we pollute ourselves with these things anyway? The correctives to such things, I am happy to say, are in the dessert category of behavior, a kind of chocolate for the soul. I’m thinking of things such as thanksgiving, praise,  and speaking well of others instead of creating demons in the minds of those who listen to us. Such things actually contribute to our happiness and ought to be practiced often. Not only do they improve our outlook on life but they also make us considerably more tolerable to others, a goal worth pursuing.

Though we are created to receive healthy food for the maintenance of a healthy life, few of us enjoy only that which nourishes our bodies. The same holds true for our spiritual lives; not all our habits are healthy habits. It is not what goes into the body that makes us unclean but what comes out of our hearts through the mouth. It’s no wonder we are told to give thanks in all circumstances and to do everything without grumbling or complaining. Regardless of who we are, life gets sticky, prickly and maybe sometimes even hellish, but that is no reason to self-destruct. As most any woman will tell you, chocolate helps.

July 1, 2008

The Pens

Filed under: Contentment,Enjoyment,For Fun — Alexandra The Great @ 12:49 pm

Well, Vanrensalier has posted and boasted about his beautiful pen. To see the thing for yourself, visit Saint Austin’s Pub. Though I am sure his intentions were not unkind, his post had the effect of dismantling Alexandra’s sense of well being and contentment. When I clicked on the fateful link for Goldspot a new page opened up, and with it a new world. I never knew this before, but fountain pens can cost a fortune! I had an inexpensive one years ago and enjoyed it, but now this new world of on-line buying and one-click shopping told me that I must again have that particular kind of writing instrument. I could not rest until I did. Vanrensalier must not be the only one with a pen.

As you know, on the Internet, link leads to link and before you know it, all innocence is lost as previously unknown things present themselves and disturb one’s state of mind; things such as $400 pens and nib repair. Did you know that nibs can be repaired? Neither did I. Well, since being pulled down this link trail I have learned not only that it’s all about the nib, but that steel nibs can sell for $50 and 14k gold nibs for $100. That’s more than I want to pay for the entire pen…at least at the moment. You see, I have compulsive tendencies, something I inherited from my father, I think, and if I yield to the call of the pen I shall yield with abandon and immerse myself in the subject. Soon I will not be able to content myself with pens, but will buy leather journals to go with them. Leather is what goes with fountain pens, right? This means that I will have to begin actually writing. As I mentioned in another post, I don’t write, I type, but I’ve been trying to change that which means I have not only the temptation to purchase a pen, but the justification as well.

I fully intend to buy a good fountain pen (Vanrensalier must not be the only one to enjoy such a pleasure), but until I do, to content myself I have purchased a package of Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pens. The set of three comes with blue, black, and purple ink. They are pictured below with my moleskin journal, the only journal to open flat at any page. It was a gift.

 

My Varsity Pens

These pens write well and for $8 I had little explaining to do to Alexander. Simple enjoyments have proven to be the best. Not only can they be enjoyed repeatedly but they have the benefit of offering the biggest value for the cost. As it turns out, I am enjoying my small collection of fountain pens probably a much as I would a luxury pen. Alexandra’s sense of contentment and well being is no longer dismantled. Nor do I begrudge Vanrensalier his beautiful but discontinued pen. Really, it does not take much to bring pleasure, nor should it, for if one cannot enjoy simple things, one cannot truly enjoy anything. Though I still intend to procure a good quality pen, I am reminded that godliness with contentment is still great gain. With contentment, all things can satisfy, but without it, nothing will no matter what the price tag.

 

June 9, 2008

Thanksgiving and the Rules

Filed under: Memories,Remodeling,Rules,Thanksgiving,Uncategorized — Alexandra The Great @ 3:05 pm

As you will remember if you read, “The Remodeling Project,” my husband and I have taken on remodeling a sort of sport or long-term adventure.  As of this last Thanksgiving we were four years into the project with no completion date in sight. One cannot set dates in years for which no calendars have been printed anyway. Just two years into the project we hired the Home Depot folks to come out and redo our kitchen. Cabinets were rearranged to make a larger and better work space and drawers were installed that actually slid in and out of their slots unhindered with no struggle or frustration on my part. The only difficulty created by these changes was the loss of our dining area. After two years of having no dining room table, all civility seemed to have disintegrated in our home as each family member, meal after meal, took his or her dinner plate to whatever convenient place could be found in which to consume food. Because of this, and to my dismay, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving my husband announced that we would not be home to enjoy our usual traditions. We would not have turkey, we would not have stuffing, and we would not have pie. Such a thing had never happened to me before. The rules simply did not allow for such a thing. Not having a table at which to sit is a mere inconvenience, but not being home on Thanksgiving was troubling. We would instead, I was told, spend the holiday at an amusement park. I admit that at first my resistance to this idea was high, but through willed resignation to my fate I came to accept it without whining, complaining, or taking up arms. My initial horror gave way to the anticipation of fun, and, I thought, we would certainly make more memories this way. Maybe we could break my beloved rule of being home on Thanksgiving just this once.

 

Leaving early in the morning and assuming that something would be open on Thanksgiving (this is America after all), we planned a breakfast stop a mere forty minutes into our jaunt.  Arriving at McDonald’s, I got out of the car to visit the mini-mart next door while my husband and children got into line in the drive-thru. Exiting the store upon the completion of my errand I walked over to the drive-thru’s exit where cars departed one at a time after what seemed like a long wait per vehicle.  I imagined disgruntled employees inside shuffling their feet, in no hurry to satisfy hungry customers, and wishing they didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving.  After waiting some time for my family round the corner, I began to wonder what had happened to them when they finally came into sight. Passing the pick-up window my husband was in a fit of laughter as I joined him in the car. I could see that he had no food, and though math has never been my strong suit, I can still add two and two; and so, concluding that the restaurant must be closed, I inquired into is laughter. I havenever thought hunger to be funny, especially my own since it makes me grouchy, but he’s the one with the sense of humor so I accept his judgment on these matters and try to see thing his way. The events at the drive-thruthat tickled his funny bone so much we later thought to be a sad commentary on American society, but because we proved to be just as warped as the other people waiting in line, we enjoyed the comedy and continued to laugh about it throughout the day. As each car pulled up to the order-kiosk-thing, it parked there for an unusually long amount of time until its driver came to the realization that nobody was home, the lights weren’t even on, the restaurant was closed. Each car then drove away, rounded the corner and continued their search for breakfast elsewhere while the next car in line, with its unsuspecting driver, parked in front of the order-kiosk-thing.  This drill repeated, car after car, and nobody bothered to warn the next person in line that the restaurant was closed. It was as though each person, after getting skunked thought, “If I got mine, why shouldn’t Schwartz get his?” And so, like the others, we too drove away in a continued search for breakfast. Later in the morning, I am happy to say, we were able to find an open McDonald’s. America had not let us down.

 

Previously I had been told that the best day to visit an amusement park is Thanksgiving because hardly anybody is there. Being something of a traditionalist I was not interested in this information as I intended to never put it to the test to find if it was true or not. I now have enough experience to tell you that it is only half true. Relative to summertime, hardly anybody visits an amusement park on Thanksgiving; however, relative to Thanksgiving, hardly anybody is in the park on a Monday in January, or even another weekday in March. I’ve tried both those days and they are far better days to visit an amusement park than Thanksgiving if you are interested on walking onto rides all day long without annoying, patience-testing lines to interfere with your fun. The downside to spending Thanksgiving at an amusement park, however, is a divided family. Some of my family likes thrill rides, and the others don’t; so while my husband took my teenage son on all the big roller coasters I took the two younger kids on the older, less heart-pounding rides which was a lot of fun even though I like roller coasters even more than my husband does.  On our third ride aboard the Grinder Gearworks that spins people round and around plastering them to a wall at a 45-degree angle something interesting finally happened. America may not have failed me earlier in the day but America was about to fail a Japanese tourist who might later have wished he had gone to Disneyland instead. Three teenage foreigners speaking what I assumed to be Japanese were behind us in line as we waited for our turn to get nauseous. Most rides lock seated passengers into a compartment with a series of protections such as a seatbelt and harness that goes over the shoulders that keeps a person’s head from rattling around too much but really just gives one a headache. The Grinder Gearworks is different in that riders stand in a slot of a large round roofless room with a token safety strap hooked across their waist. The strap doesn’t even touch most people and it doesn’t need to because the force of the spinning is enough to keep the machine’s victims pinned to the wall. It may even push brains to the backs of skulls but I’m not sure of this because everything was so fuzzy when I stepped of the ride. As I mentioned, people are supposed to stand.  I didn’t realize this before, but standing is a rule the ride operators take seriously and if you don’t stand you get kicked, booted, or otherwise thrown off the ride. Another thing I didn’t realize is that not all foreigners speak better English than we do.  As the ride began to pick up speed, one of the Japanese kids sat down, probably thinking the ride would be more fun that way, and as he did so, a loud voice came over a speaker saying that if he did not stand up the ride would stop and he would have to get off. Oblivious to the instructions given, the youth continued to sit while the voice repeated the warning. The riders opposite him, being of better character than the people in the McDonald’s drive through, shouted to him to stand up and made arm signals that could be understood in any language. Staring at them with a perplexed expression the boy continued to sit, and slowly, the ride came to a stop. Apparently thinking that the ride was over, he and his friends proceeded to leave while looking around themselves with looks of bewilderment as the other passengers remained where they were. Once the offenders had exited, the ride continued. The incident was a small one that left me feeling bad for the bewildered boy who clearly had no idea what was happening around him or why he and his friends, of all the riders, had to get off.  He probably has no idea, even to this day, what happened back there.  It reminded me though that everything has rules, even things requiring no training or skill; and rules have to be obeyed if we are truly to enjoy anything.

 

My beloved rule, as explained earlier, was that we must always be home on Thanksgiving. I could imagine nothing else and wanted nothing else. I realize now, looking back, that there is a higher rule to a day set aside for thanks than staying home and working harder than any other day of the year save Christmas. The rule happens to be thankfulness. And so, after hours of play and spending $75 on a lunch that included hamburgers, fries, and soda , a record cost for Thanksgiving dinner, we sat down to a non-traditional feast in an amusement park. I never would have chosen it myself but the rules turned out to be different than I thought they were. Even though we were not at home enjoying turkey, stuffing, and pie, we were feasting and we were thankful. As I imagined, we did make some good memories that day, and though it wasn’t our usual warm and cozy Thanksgiving experience, it was truly enjoyable and one of the many treasures we’ve collected along life’s way. For this I am Thankful.

February 1, 2008

The Marshmallow Incident

Filed under: Kids,Marshmallows — Alexandra The Great @ 11:18 pm

Always thinking creatively, my children never fail to amuse themselves.   My two younger children are not only creative, but they have also taken an interest in cooking.  Their skills have developed far beyond pouring hot water into a Styrofoam cup and waiting for the noodles to get soft.  For breakfast they can not only make toast but fry an egg to go with it.  They can cook oatmeal as well as follow the directions on the Hamburger Helper box to make dinner when their mom is busy.  Unlike their mom, they don’t burn it either.  They know how to make popcorn on the stove and a variety of sandwiches.  For dessert they can even follow a recipe and make cookies.  Gingersnaps were easy enough but Spritz proved a little tricky until they abandoned the uncooperative cookie press. Things moved along well after that and we soon enjoyed a sweet treat.  Being creative and adventuresome, they have even experimented with a few of their own recipes.  

Their latest adventure in cooking moved beyond the kitchen, into the back yard, and involved digging a hole.  To those of you who have read, The Seven Foot Hole to China, this may not be surprising.  You might even be thinking that these kids are learning the art of deep-pitting, but that will have to wait until a find a pig.  Remembering that I forbade them from lighting their pyre in the back yard two summers ago, they took safety precautions this time and dug a two feet deep hole to make their fire in; and to make extra sure that their plan went well, they did not tell me what they were doing.  Having built their fire, they then came into the house for marshmallows and forks.  Unnoticed, they returned to the back yard and got back to work.  Like Mrs. Tabitha Twitchet who unwisely turned her kittens out into the garden before tea, I was unaware of my children’s activities until my oldest son came inside and informed me his siblings were roasting marshmallows.  Their father, because he is a man, would have encouraged this activity.  But I am not a man.  I am a mom and no mom since Eve has wanted her children playing with fire.  I learned also that not only did they start a fire, but they were also roasting marshmallows with plastic forks.  Naturally, my imagination flared up and I was sure they would poison themselves with melted-plastic-toxic-marshmallows as well as burn themselves and the house to ashes.  Risking becoming an enemy of my children, I put a stop to it (using my prayer voice of course).

When my husband came home I told him of our narrow escape and he was delighted.  “It’s great,” he said, “that the kids are so creative.  I would rather them do things like that than play video games.”   The vote was now four against one and I had the feeling I had just moved into “check”.  I had to admit that he was right and maybe, just maybe, I had quenched a good thing.  Apart from the fire, this is the sort of thing we have encouraged. Next time I think I will send out real forks…and maybe a fire extinguisher.

December 8, 2007

Because I Said So.

Filed under: Parenting,Teenagers — Alexandra The Great @ 10:40 pm

From the other room I just overheard my husband explain to my son that cats don’t like to get stepped on.  Why do some things need to be explained?  This reminds me of conversations (tiffs, spats, arguments) I’ve recently had with our other son whose store of knowledge exceeds his parent’s by the same great volume that other fifteen-year-old’s knowledge exceeds their parents’.  You get the picture.  It seems that whatever the issue, my logic just just isn’t up to par.  Any parent of a teenager knows that most conversations go something like this: “Why do I need to get dressed if I’m not going anywhere?”  Never thinking of a good answer such questions I respond something like, “Because you have to get dressed everyday.  That’s just the way it is.”  To this he might reply, “That’s not a reason.”  I then might hear that I refuse to discuss such questions because my logic can not match his.  That is probably true, but I’ve come to accept (and he must also) that I don’t need logic because I have authority.  Authority is the parent’s trump card, used universally by those unthanked and worn-down folk who financially support and morally guide the teenagers in their midst.  When all else fails, we pull out our final card and say, “Because I said so.”  That answer will have to suffice until they have kids of their own and put it into use for themselves.

November 25, 2007

A Good Conversation

Filed under: Blessedness,The Past — Alexandra The Great @ 9:05 pm

Forgetful that Sunday School was cancelled on account of the Thanksgiving holiday which takes too many people out of town, I arrived at church today forty-five minutes early.  At first I was disappointed but quickly I realized I had the opportunity of a conversation with the priest; and as there are few things I like so well as a good conversation, my disappointment quickly turned to delight. 

We spoke of the Episcopal church, not so much of its current disaster (check the news), but of its rich history that helped to draw each of us to her years ago.  That would be seven for me and 50 for him.  We spoke briefly of church Fathers, ancient hymns, and our downward slide that began some thirty years ago.  We spoke also of my evangelical background.  As a fundamentalist I wasn’t given feast days, fast days or liturgy; but I was given a solid respect for the Bible and the expectation that one had better know its contents better than all other things. 

Coming into a church so rooted in history as the Episcopal Church is, I enjoyed the awareness, that now I was not just an evangelical, I was an evangelical with a past.  As happens with many of us when we arrive at a new place, a different idea, or a better time I dismissed, rejected or forgot much of what went before.  It is too easy to forget that where and who we are today is only a reality because of our past.  Yesterday’s experiences shape who we are today just as yesterday’s choices impact today’s circumstances.  This morning’s pleasant conversation resulted not only in a greater appreciation of where I am now, but also in a remembrance and a renewed appreciation of where I was prior to this. 

It may be a cliche to say that God works in mysterious ways, but He does.  None of us knows the completed story God is writing for us.  We can only watch Him work in our lives directing our steps, making use of our failures when we ignore his direction, and restoring us when our lives have become an indisputable disaster.  While we should neither glorify nor resent our history, we must remember what God has done in and through our past to make us the people we are today and will be tomorrow. We must also give thanks because if our lives are indeed a work of grace, then whatever has happened, God will use it to bring about a good result to the glory of God.

November 18, 2007

The Box

Filed under: Memories — Alexandra The Great @ 12:06 am

We’ve been going through a box of pictures.  This is the box of pictures, as in the only box we’ve accumulated through the years.  It seems our photo albums (all two or three of them) have been put into storage, and so going through the box with the help of my daughter, I’ve been putting together another album.

The thing that struck me the most while looking at these pictures is how young my kids were not so very long ago.  They were really, really, little at one time.  They were also happy.  I was blessed to look at these old pictures and see my children’s happy faces smiling back at me.  “Those were the good old days,” I thought.  Am I really old enough to have “good old days?”  I guess I am.

I thought about ten years in the future and what about today I will remember then, and what, perhaps, will be recalled only through the aid of photographs.  Will I remember our pressing trials?  Probably only vaguely.  Will I remember the strain of paying surprise bills, or of my frustration at throwing out a burnt dinner that was abandoned in the oven while I visited some other world?  I doubt it.  I will probably remember, though, the special sound of the smoke alarm (I’ll tell you the popcorn story sometime).  What I will remember is not the difficulty of paying for Christmas, but that there was Christmas…and Thanksgiving, and Easter, and all those glorious time-markers we value so highly.  I will remember the frustration of having teenagers but, rather than looking back with annoyance, I will remember the things kids do with humor.  After all, many times I have promised myself, “I’ll laugh about this one day.” I will not remember most of what I possessed, but I will remember the people I knew. 

Life creates many memories, most of which are worth keeping. Unfortunately, as my mind weakens with age and new things crowd out the old, I will lose some of those treasures.  But then, that’s what pictures are for and I had better take more of them because when I am an eccentric old woman I want to have a reminder of my “good old days.”

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