I volunteered recently to help teach seniors how to use computers. Basic. First steps. As in, this is a hard drive, this is a monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc., and here’s the button to turn it on. Don’t be afraid of it – it can’t do anything without you. Relax.
The gentleman currently teaching the class brusquely confronted me, first thing, and asked, “What’s your background?” Dumbfounded, I said, I was self-taught, had been using computers for almost 30 years, and was good at working with people who were new to, and afraid of, computers.
I had about $50 in my wallet and with time to kill while repairs were made to my car’s interior, I split my time between a local coffee joint and, when I got hungry, the only food available within a 15-block radius. Burger King.
Located in the industrial part Portland, it was a fairly dicey looking place. Still, I was only three hours into my six-hour wait and didn’t see many options since I was toting my laptop and some books.
Californians and their cars. *shakes head* But that’s another post.
I took a wonderful walk along the American River Parkway this morning, which, oddly enough, runs along . . . you guessed it, the American River! It’s also known as the Jedidiah Smith Memorial Trail and is apparently one of the best paths for serious bicyclists. It covers more than 32 miles along one of Sacramento’s two famous rivers, the other being . . . the Sacramento. Gee, isn’t this easy? But, this really isn’t a history lesson, although with the discovery of gold near here in the mid-1800s and the pursuant gold rush, it could easily become one.
Nope, this is just a thought bubble about the little differences between my sister and I that came to mind this morning during my walk. It’s been about 40 years since we left home and at least 35 since we shared living space for more than a couple of weeks. We learned the same ways of doing things as kids but I’m always surprised to discover how we’ve changed as we’ve grown older and led our separate lives. The little things. Silly things.
I use a sponge at the kitchen sink. She uses a cloth. She rolls her toilet paper from under, mine rolls over the top. She dusts with one of those fluffy things. I use one of those magnetic cloths. I have a box of Kleenex in every room and a waste basket in nearly every room. She has tissues only in the bathroom and you need GPS to find figure out where to dispose of a used one.
She feeds her cats Science Diet (dry) and metes it out like it’s gold to keep them in shape. I put out a mix of dry food (some healthy, some not so) and leave it out and full 24/7. Her cats were skinny as youngsters and are fat oldsters. Mine were chubby young ones and are skinnier as they get older. (Her cats are disciplined, like she is. Mine are, well, like me!)
She has every hair in place at all times. She irons her sheets. I fall down laughing when people iron pillow cases and my hair is still looking for a “place.” *Please send a map.*
These and other tiny little things only come into focus when we’re with each other or in each other’s space, like now. I’m house sitting for her while she and her husband are off to see friends in Wyoming for a couple of weeks. I’m responsible for keeping her cats and garden alive. The first is easy — her cats are so easy and I love them. They have their demands, of course, what cat doesn’t — meds for one, rules for another, drinks of water from the bathroom sink every night for the other.
It’s the garden that is hard. I have a whole new respect for the woman I so gleefully dubbed the Tomato Witch even as I devoured her heirloom tomatoes. Now, of course, I know why she has such beautiful produce. She spends at least two hours a day watering and tending her vegetables, fruit and flowers. Whew. I promised to keep it all alive except for the lavender (which makes me sneeze) and the cucumbers and bell peppers which hate me as much as I hate them!
Time spent with my sister is always special. Having lost a sister, we treasure our time together even more. Being alone in her house (my husband stayed home for work) — snuggling her cats, looking at her things, tending her garden, browsing her book titles, seeing her framed art work, looking at her photo albums, enjoying the secluded sitting areas she’s created in her yard, discovering hidden statues and treasures in her flower beds, laughing at her refrigerator magnets (yup, she has tons) and just taking the time to feel my sister like this is a special pleasure.
It tells me, too, that the little things don’t matter at all. Even if she irons her pillow cases and her jeans, she’s still the kid I tried to ditch when my mom made me take her out to play with me, the one I cried to when Tommy broke my heart, and the one who was such a nerd in 7th grade that she wore a white turtle neck under everything, everywhere — even to bed — for a whole year, because she thought her collar bones stuck out and were ugly. Man, I’m glad she can’t read this blog.
Just to leave you with a beautiful tune, here’s one of my favorite tracks from the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack, my walking music this morning. Loved the movie and love the music. I know the words are actually kind of sad but the harmony and music are lovely. Sorry that I don’t know how to download just the music. Still, enjoy the movie clips.
A friend sent this to me this morning and it just made me smile. And, sing along! What a great way to start a Monday morning! See if you can make it all the way through without smiling and then have a great day.
I was too old for Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood by the time he made it to TV, but I’ve seen this video posted absolutely everywhere recently and finally decided to watch it today. Expecting some rap version of a Mr. Rogers song, I was pleasantly surprised.
I was even more enamored when I started really listening to the words and realized it’s not just for kids. It’s a good reminder for me to keep an open mind, be “available” to new things and keep my outlook positive and my thoughts fresh, creative, innovative. I liked it. See what you think.
This is for my sister and anyone else out there with siblings. Still my all-time favorite Mother’s Day wish, it’s brought to you by the ever cheeky Luke and Joe at Barats and Bareta. Feel free to copy it and send it off to your mom!