Surprise!

Yesterday I got a notice that UPS was delivering a package. Since I didn’t recognize the sender I asked Russ if he had ordered something. No, not something from or for him. I forgot about it until later this afternoon my Ring Doorbell sounded off and I looked at the video and saw a huge box on my front porch.

I thought it was too big to be anthrax and had no signs of being a pipe bomb so I bought it inside and opened it up. Inside was a giant fancy wreath. I looked for a card and could not find one. I opened the plastic envelope attached to the outside of the box and there was a return label and instructions to return it, but no invoice or gift card. So this is a total mystery.

Like the cops, I am going to withhold a bit of information about this gift. If you sent it to me please let me know and to prove you sent it tell me the name of the company you sent it from. I don’t want someone to take credit for this very nice gift who didn’t actually buy it.

I look forward to thanking this mystery person for this big surprise!


Shay Puts Herself To Bed

Shay used to be a full on extrovert. If there were people visiting our house she was with them. She would snuggle up to total strangers and say, “Hey, you can let me if you want.” She made sure they always wanted to. One deep soulful look from those big brown eyes and she could melt even the most strident dog hater. As long as someone was awake in our house Shay would be to, waiting patiently to be adored.

Things have changed. Shay is getting more introverted. If there are a large number of people I out house she will visit with them for a little while, but their presence will wear her out. She is happy if you will sit quietly with her, but eventually she will leave the whole group and put herself to bed.

This was the case tonight. Some of Russ’ teammates came for dinner. Shay greeted each one at the front door, opening the glass door to let them in. She snuggled on the sofa with the girl friend of one of the youngins’ and made the rounds around the table to see if anyone didn’t want to eat all their chicken or salmon. But when dessert came around she was plum tuckered out and she voluntarily went upstairs to bed.

There were still people in our house for a good hour, but she was done. Even Russ was still up talking and washing dishes. The day that anyone beats Russ to bed after a party is a big day for he is usually the first one to crash. I can see that his ways are wearing off on to Shay.

I guess I would rather have a dog who is tired and goes to sleep after a party than one who is so keyed up from company and can’t fall asleep, like me.


Pre-Theatre Food

Tonight we went to the DPAC to see A Bronx Tale with out friends Lee and Christy. They had made dinner reservations at Nana’s, which was a lovely choice. Since I was not driving or paying I did not even bother to bring a purse with me. Big mistake.

As I was looking over the menu I was trying to figure out what was a good pre-theatre choice.

I skipped the steak or the lamb shank as those were certain to get caught in my teeth, or might cause gas. I thought I was safe in ordering chicken. I was wrong. No gas, but definitely something got stuck between my back two molars.

There is nothing worse than having a sliver of meat caught in the farthest region of your mouth. Well worse than that is having something caught and not having any floss or tooth pick to fix it. Or triple worse is you have it caught while you are at the theatre and have no way to get it out.

I wish that restaurants had symbols on their menu that showed items that don’t get stuck in your teeth. Of course they would be on things like puréed soups, or mashed potatoes, but I need to know a good protein that is safe. Maybe cheese soufflé.

If only I had brought my purse all would have been fine since I always carry floss. If only I had been wearing a big brooch that had a long pin on it. At least then I could go in the ladies room and hide while I stuck the pin in my mouth to dislodge the offending chicken that was driving me crazy. You know how hard it is to pay attention to a show while your tongue is trying to remove the unwanted chicken?

I am considering slipping a needle into the hem of my pants so that I will always have a tool with me in case I need it. You just never know when a seed, kernel, string or sliver is going to find it’s way into a place that it shouldn’t. Oh what I would have given for a needle tonight.


Party Issues

Last month Russ asked me if I would host his company team members for dinner. It’s nice that he asks me, but he already knows the answer. Of course I am happy to have his team and significant others for dinner. As I was thinking about what to make it dawned on me that I and not entertained anyone, except the weekly Mah Jonggers since before I redid my kitchen. For the record my kitchen is not done yet because my tile is taking extra long to be made. So I have kind of been holding out for that.

So now that I am having the company for dinner Sunday I got to thinking about holiday entertaining. I love to have people over, but I don’t like to have everyone I ever met all at once.

A well curated gathering is much more fun, but what to do about people who find out about it who aren’t invited. This is the age old problem.

I have one rule, “If you have NEVER had me to your house, I don’t feel bad about not having you to mine.” Of course someone has to go first and I will have people to my house whose doors I have never darkened. But if I have you two or three times and you haven’t reciprocated don’t be surprised if you aren’t invited back. It does not mean that I don’t like you, just that I might have some people who I owe who get put on the top of the list.

Another way to not be on the list is, “You had a big party and invited people you talked trash about to me.” Usually I am happy to not be invited to a party where I know the birthday person has to walk a tight rope. It is just to uncomfortable to listen to what they say to someone’s face after you have heard what they say behind their back.

No matter what, not everyone can be invited, everywhere, every time. The answer is throw some parties of your own. In the case of the party I am throwing Sunday I didn’t have to decide who got included, it was the whole office. So if you drive by my house on a Sunday and wonder, “Humph, I wasn’t invited,” don’t get your nose out of joint. It is a work party.


Belonging

Tonight was the Reality Ministries dinner where my friend Lynn invited me to join her. I have been to this dinner before and once again I walked away inspired. Reality Ministries is a community of friends with and without developmental disabilities who come together to experience belonging.

I first got to know Reality years ago when I did a story on Susan McSwain, the founder, for Durham Magazine. Her grace and clarity about the need for all people to belong, be loved and accepted was like a light in the darkness. That grace has not wavered in the eleven years the center has been open.

My friend Lynn started volunteering a few years ago and I feel has found her calling in spending her time in friendship with the participants. Tonight I got to meet one of Lynn’s special friend’s Bonnie. It just happens that Bonnie’s last name is Lynn’s daughter’s name. I don’t think there are any coincidences.

I got to sit next to one of my favorite people from church, Nancye, whose son also visits Reality and served us our dinner tonight. In the last couple of years Reality has started a farm a few miles away from the downtown center. We ate some of the vegetables they grew on the farm for dinner tonight and as someone who has practically given up of growing produce due to the heart ache, I was very impressed.

Susan McSwain talked about the problem of isolation for people with developmental disabilities, but as she was describing their loneliness I felt like she could be talking about any young people today. The lack of social interaction, connection to others and friendships is something that many people face. My wish is that all people able bodied, or not, mentally capable or not can find people to connect with and have a sense of belonging. It is not easy, but look for community and join in. It is what humans need.


2020 Election is One Year Away

One year from today is Election Day and it is going to be one of the most important ones in the history of this country. Lots of air is going to be sucked out by the Presidential race and rightfully so, but there will be other important races that we need to keep an eye on also.

Tonight a Russ and I went to an event at Brad and Missy Brinegar’s house for our Governor Roy Cooper. It was a good group of civic minded people who are interested in a North Carolina being the best state we can be. Governor Cooper gave an excellent talk about the issues and his plan to continue to improve things. I was pleased with all he had to say.

When he was running for office four years ago Russ and I went to a similar gathering of a small group and then Attorney General Cooper was not as eloquent on the issues and how to solve problems as he was tonight. He was still better than the incumbent who was the creator of the “bathroom bill” which made North Carolina a joke in the world.

Cooper has had a tough time being a Democrat Governor with a Republican legislature, but he has held the line. We need this next election to flip a few more seats from red to blue, while keeping Cooper in office so we can make headway on education, climate change and healthcare.

The national election is important, but all politics is local and we can’t let our state go backwards. Thanks to Brad and Missy for opening up their beautiful home and for Michelle Berrey and Richard Smith for also hosting along with a large group of other generous people. We can’t sit back and let politics happen to us. We must work for the country we want to live in.


Shay Acts Self Sufficiently

Sometimes I wonder if Shay needs me at all. I had a busy day out of the house. First I went to meet a woman for coffee who is networking to find work in the non-profit area. Then I went to vote and met up with friends at the polls.

From there I went to lunch with my friends a Christy and Angie. It had been so long since I had seen Angie. Her daughter Liz played basketball with Carter and graduated a year ahead of Carter. She went on to be a walk-on at Carolina and has continued to be a superior person. I spent so many years sitting in the bleachers with Angie and her family who are the most supportive people. They used to cheer as loud for Carter when she made one basket as they did for Liz when she made twenty baskets in the same time period. It was wonderful to catch up with her.

From lunch I went to needlepoint where I spent time at the stitchers table with my friends I have seen so little of due to my absence. Tomorrow is Nancy McGuffin’s birthday and I was glad to get to spend time with her in pre-birthday celebration.

On my way home I called my Dad to discover he was trying to get his computers fixed. He told me he had been on the phone with Apple for more than a week without any remedy. He told one of the Apple people on the phone he was going to take three computers and one iPhone and throw them in his lake and the tech’s response was, “Don’t do that, it might kill the fish.” My dad thought the tech didn’t have the right concern for his not working equipment.

I finally got home after four. Shay did not bother to come greet me. She remained on my bed upstairs. I got to work prepping food for Mah Jongg lunch tomorrow. That was when I realized I was short one ingredient. I left the house to go back to the grocery and came home. It had been over seven hours since I had seen Shay and she had gone out. I went up to my room and she jumped up and greeted me. When I suggested she come down stairs and go out she just looked at me. Once I said the word dinner she changed her mind. I guess she does need me, but not without prompting.