The Next Cup

To write about things you like is fun.  To share what others have written about things you like is fun. To hear back from others about what you like is rewarding (and fun).  Probably the most fun of all is when others are stirred to do something, maybe something surprising, that acknowledges they have read what’s been posted.  They take advantage of the opportunity to engage, respond and, well… be nice and have fun.

My recent post on coffee was reblogged from James Radcliffe and in describing the perfect cup of coffee that he had made, he mentioned that he uses a hand grinder to grind the beans.  Tonight, I got a text from the husband telling me that he found a coffee grinder outside our door.  He didn’t know who it was from at first but did notice a card in it a little later.  I LOVE SURPRISES! And I didn’t have a hand coffee grinder.  I can’t wait to have that next cup of coffee with hand ground beans!  Thank you JCB, Cracker Poemer, for reading and following up with a fun surprise that made my day, just sayin’…

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We shall have to write a poem about this…

A Different Kind of R & R

It often means rest and relaxation to others. Not to me. I can’t even rest and relax when I’m asleep.  My R&R is responding to randomness.

Randomness has a couple definitions, some of which I apply to my life and some, not so much.  The one I like is “random is often used neutrally to describe that which is done or occurs by chance but also suggests that one is receptive to the possibilities of the unexpected”.  I often have to make decisions about going places and doing things that are not my usual routine. Truth is, I don’t know what my usual routine is anymore.   Something unexpected is always happening, it seems, and those are the things to which I love to respond.

I have four younger brothers and a couple weeks ago the oldest of them called.  He lives in the same state as I do, but it’s been years since we devoted much time to each other.  We are more often at family gatherings with crowds of other people to divide our attention.

“How would you like to help me drive up to Wisconsin?  I’m taking a truck and trailer up to get some equipment and I thought it would be a time for us to get in a good talk.” I had to agree that 30 hours of drive time would amount to a pretty good talk.

In my mind I’m tallying up the things I would need to reschedule or back out of.  “Well sure, I think I could do that but let me have a day or so to work on it. I’ll let you know.”

Road trip!!!

And that’s how things get started.  After telling several people what I was considering doing I had to call him back to find out why we were doing this in the middle of winter, trying to get up and back between blizzards.  Also, was I actually going to be asked to drive the truck with the 30 foot trailer or was I just going along to keep him from falling asleep?

The truth is, I love family adventures more than any other kind.  Should I not take any opportunity to get to know these people with whom I share genetic material? And how better to get to know them than to actually be doing something with them?  Appalachian hikes, trail rides on horseback across Florida, camping across the country and picnicking at 12,000 feet  in the Rockies, cruising with everyone for a 50th anniversary – all these things started with a somewhat unexpected idea, to be rejected or embraced. Thankfully, most of my family is of the “bring it on” nature.

My randomness is by no means purposeless or unplanned.  Just unexpected.  In fact, planning and anticipating is at least half of every adventure for me.  Sometimes it takes weeks, and other times it gets pulled together in hours.  There’s a lot of variety.  Because of all this I have actually forgotten how to be bored, well, almost.  The brother I planned on starting the trip with tomorrow morning has already called to delay our departure because of unforeseen circumstances BUT it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he showed up at the door, ready to go tomorrow morning.

There are really two reasons this lifestyle works for me.  One is that I do need a lot of variety, whether at work or at play. I have very few routines and don’t do them very consistently. I love surprise!

The other reason is that I don’t claim to have control over my circumstances, so it never disappoints me when I don’t.  Those circumstances are in the hands of God, whom I look to kind of like a writer and director of a big story, and the only one who has read the whole script.  When I get up in the morning, I’m not always sure where my part is going to be played out but I know the director is going to direct me.  After all, he’s given me a part in the story because he wants me there.  What seems random to me is in no way random to him.  He is the ultimate planner and takes care of all the details.  I just have to respond and follow directions. There is a lot of peacefulness and freedom to have fun in that.  And sometime tomorrow I will probably be having fun, somewhere on I-75, talking with my brother.  Just sayin’…

My four brothers lined up in back.  On the left is the eldest one with whom I will soon be reacquainted.
My four brothers lined up in back. On the left is the eldest one with whom I will soon be reacquainted.

A to Z Challenge: Surprise!

It was a really pretty evening, the sun had gone down gloriously and the sky was now darkening with stars and moon getting brighter minute by minute.  They were on another of his goofy dates.  They had both stayed on campus that summer for their jobs and he had been coming up with casual, out-of-the-box ideas to get them together.  This time he had driven them in his green Econoline van up to a scenic overlook where there were a few cement picnic shelters.  So why the briefcase, she wondered?  He opened it up and drew out a bottle, two glasses and a candle and proceeded to set the table and pour the wine. One more thing from the briefcase – a small black box, which he opened and turned toward the candlelight.  Surprise!  Yes, it was.

It had been a tough, challenging winter.  Finances were tight and the eldest child needed some therapy that they just couldn’t afford.  It had been a nice break when her brother and his family came to visit. The mood lightened and they had fun, all of them, but they were gone now.  Everyday reality had been happening all day as she cleaned up the house, putting away the post-company clutter.  It was about time to quit for the night and she went into the bedroom to turn down the bed covers, only there was an envelope on the pillow.  She knew it would be a thank you note from her brother, and it was, but there was also a check inside for an exorbitant amount.  Surprise!

They were excited, pulling her out to the driveway, telling her to cover her eyes.  It was her birthday. Her daughter and friends had been gone for a while and now they were back and who knew what they had planned out for her?  She was led out to the truck parked in the driveway and given permission to look.  There it was!  She had seen and remarked about it any number of times as she drove past the abandoned building where the Loyal Order of the Moose had met.  It had been dangling, high on a pole by one chain at a rakish angle. And how had they ever gotten it down?! And now it was hers – a 8 foot long plastic sign with the word MOOSE in large red letters. Surprise!

She sort of viewed life as living from one surprise to the next.  There had been quite a few and she was not afraid to think there would be more.