The Unchosen Companions

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Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers,

the unchosen companions not available to others.

Love and laughter, disappointment and tears,

still driving you nuts after all these years.

 

They know us at our worst and at our best,

and so often put our patience to the test.

Sometimes we hate, yell and can’t relate,

and always regret that wretched date.

 

The for better or worse choice was mine,

still it came with a judgment and a diatribe.

We all can get lost in lovers, jobs and friends,

but with luck and love they will be there at the end.

 

Shared memories and momentous fights,

often taken for granted and at times a blight.

Affections tested and a trust that can not abate,

a bond that if not tended sometimes breaks.

 

Quickly forgiven, but never forgotten,

we gode and complain and sometimes are rotten.

We defend with a vengeance and chide and deride,

those unchosen companions on lifes crazy ride.

 

Planning Our Summer Road Trip

IMG_0359 Nothing is better than a summer road trip!

I am starting our plans for our road trip to California, this will be our third annual meandering down the west coast. The anticipation is starting to build and I can hardly wait to get the dogs in the car, load up the iPod with some great tunes, fill the cooler with snacks and drinks and hit the open road.

Our Santa Cruz Beach

View out our window at our little place in the sun.

We have ended up at least in part at little place near the beach in Santa Cruz where the dogs are welcome, the beautiful beach is right outside our door, we have a little kitchen to prepare meals and an awesome burrito place just 3 blocks away.

Our route has changed the last two years, the first trip involved a trip to Arizona to visit my grandfather at his “snow bird” location in Sun City West near Phoenix, a stop in trendy Palm Springs the same weekend as the Coachella music festival (there were some sites and a crazy price for a bare-bones motel in a sold out town – sometimes timing is everything) a stop in Northwest Portland with a visit to my very favorite bakery in the world, the St. Honore’ Boulangerie for a yummy Croque Monsieur and some pastries and bread for the road.

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Mo chillin in the window seat!

Our last trip was more of a direct trip to our spot in Santa Cruz with a short stop in Medford, Oregon. We ran into a couple at one of the rest stops in Oregon, they were driving an older VW Eurovan(so jealous) and traveling with their dog. Our dogs had to smell each other, the way that only dogs do, we smiled and said hello and headed back out on the road. We ran into them again the next time we stopped to let the dogs walk and take a break. We laughed and decided to introduce our selves, they were traveling back to their home in Santa Cruz from visiting relatives that lived less than 20 miles from us. Small world. We visted, shared business cards, let the dogs sniff and play for a few minutes and then headed back to the road.

Meeting people on the road is one of my favorite things about a trip, but I have to admit my husband is much better at that (if that is something that can be rated) than I am. He can strike up a conversation with just about anyone about just about anything. I am a bit more shy and striking up a conversation with a stranger is not an easy thing for me, I guess I feel like I am intruding on their lives or maybe that I just have nothing of note to offer them. But when it does happen, I really do love it.

As I begin poring over maps to plan some possible routes and look for dog friendly hotels along the way; my spirit rises, I feel giddy inside and am back to being a kid in school watching the calendar slowly click by waiting for the day school will be out for the summer.

Do you have any summer travel plans or dog friendly hotels to recommend on the west coast?

Things I Wish I Had Asked My Grandmothers

232323232fp-94>nu=3369>734>3;9>245-7344--248ot1lsi  My Grandma Buddy and Great-Grandma Kate with Mom and me around 1967.

I was lucky enough to have 4 amazing women in my life, both of my parents mothers and two of my parents grandmothers(besides my mother of course) that helped make me the woman I am today. I learned many things from each of the women;

From my great-grandmother Kate (my mother’s grandmother) I gained an appreciation for music and dancing from watching hours of the Lawrence Welk show with her in her big white leather recliner. My first memory of being empathetic to someone comes from her as well. I was spending the night with her and she was up on the end of the bed coughing, I got up and put my bathrobe around her shoulders and patted her back. I was maybe 4 at the time.

From my great-grandmother Anne (my dads grandmother) who I unfortunately knew for the shortest period of time I gained a love of shortbread cookies, admiration for hard work(she worked in our families plumbing business until well into her 80’s) and a giggle inside whenever I hear someone refer to a child as a wee one, because she always laughed and smiled when her wee ones visited her at her home or in later years in the rest home.

From my grandmother Jean (my dad’s mom), who was one of the most elegant and beautiful women I have ever met; I learned to play chinese checkers, love green peppers and received my first bottle of perfume(Charlie by Revlon).

From my grandmother Buddy (my mom’s mom) who I was so lucky to have in my life the longest I learned; to play Gin Rummy and Cribbage, to pour a drink, to make potato salad and love blue cheese. I flew on my first airplane with her and my rode on my first train. She helped me with my golf game, worried about my love life and always rode my ass about things I was doing wrong.

I really wish I could ask them so many questions, but here are ten I would love ask:

1.) What brought you the most joy in life?

2.) Who was the love of your life?

3.) What regrets do you have if any?

4.) When and where were you the happiest?

5.) What did you enjoy most and least about your occupations? (All of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had jobs outside the home at one time or another)

6.) What advice would you give me now to live a happier and fuller life?

7.) What would you tell me to quit worrying about?

8.) Who was your first boyfriend, your first lover, your first kiss?

9.) How do you make this dish? (each of them had a specialty and unfortunately I only have a couple of the recipes)

10.) What part of you do you see in me?

If you have special people in your life, ask the questions now don’t wait until it’s too late.

If you have lost someone special in your life, are there questions you wish you had asked?

 

My Brother’s Pride

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I travel to my brothers party,

ready to laugh loud and hearty.

His daughter today has made the grade,

and now it’s time to throw her parade.

He brings her friend since second grade,

to grow the fun that they have made.

A suit and tie he does not wear,

for a picture made with flair.

She slips away from the family she knows,

bold and beautiful with a heart of gold.

He stands near his girl with pride,

thinking of the day she’ll be a bride.

The girls a woman now so smart and brave,

my brother’s pride he cannot hide at what he’s made.

 

Travel Patina

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Opened senses and a shaken balance.

Strange toilets and a tested palate.

A touched soul and a blistered toe.

All whims allowed and a nap condoned.

Lust for the new and the comfort of old.

Twist your tongue and engage your brain.

Let it seep into your pores and in to your DNA.

Get a travelers life and add a little patina.

 

They Snore, They Snore

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They snore, they snore, I want to get up and head for the door.

One is a puff, one is a rumble and the other is a dull roar.

They snore, they snore,  I can’t take it anymore.

I give one a stroke and over they role,

the other a poke and they are quiet awhile.

They snore, they snore, I count sheep and try to ignore.

To sleep with my pups and the love of my life

a symphony of snores is the cacophony I endure.

They snore, they snore, and sleep I’m yet to score.

To hear them rest sweetly is the sound I yearn for,

but for a good nights rest it is not a cure.

They snore, they snore, but I could not love them more.

Are You Afflicted With Smart-Ass? I am!

IMG_0672  Hello. My Name is Shari and I’m a Smart-ass!

Do you ever beat yourself up for things you have said or done? I do, all of the time. It’s usually because of a smart ass comment I’ve made in a meeting that I meant to be funny and people did laugh. But then, afterward, I worry, was someone offended? When the joke isn’t at my own expense, I hope I picked a target with a sense of humor and a willingness to play along. But still, sometimes it nags at me and I feel like I should track the person down and apologize.

I am a smart-ass from way back. I think, quite possibly, I came out of the womb with a raised eyebrow at my mother asking what took her so long. When I came out of my shell, in junior highschool, I might have been considered one of the class clowns; always popping off with something to get a laugh or reaction.

I also constantly use humor, self-depreciation or a silly comment to try to deflect from a difficult situation or when conflict arises between other people or when god-forbid someone gives me a compliment. I think it stems from spending my formative years in a house with a lot of conflict, with parents that spelled swear words at each other. I’m not sure if their thinking was that it would protect my vocabulary because they spelled out F-U-C-K-E-R at each other rather than said the word. But, fucker is actually one of the first words I learned to spell. I spelled it out for my grandpa’s neighbor, Mr. Fox, he was not impressed. I was immediately marched home and exposed. My grandmother laughed when he told her what I was spelling and I was told to go outside and play.

An environmental impact from my youth that continues to afflict me today!

Are you afflicted with anything?