Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's Easter

I was in the bank yesterday and the teller, obviously wanting to make conversation, told me she liked Easter better than Christmas now that her son is older. “Christmas is for children.” She said. Apparently she has forgotten the true meaning of both these holidays.

When my children were little, I took them to all the Easter and Christmas services at church. I aroused them from their warm cozy beds, and we went to the Easter sunrise service outside in the chilly air. It was awesome. Daughter was a bit of a tomboy so the only dress that I could force her to wear was on Easter Sunday. During Christmas week I walked them through a living nativity in the evening at our church.

As teenagers, the last time I took them to a church service on Easter Sunday, something struck them funny and they got the giggles the rest of the hour.

We’ve always had an Easter egg hunt. The Easter bunny would come early on Easter morning and hide plastic eggs filled with jellybeans and chocolate eggs in the backyard. The hunt, and competition, was on. They even found an assortment of little items like sunglasses, fancy shoelaces, books, stuffed animals… It all had to even out, because you can bet they would count to see who got more stuff.

As adults at ages 33 and 38, the bunny still comes to hide plastic eggs in the backyard, this time containing gold dollar coins and quarters. The hunt begins whenever they both arrive at the house, usually mid afternoon. I used to buy lots of candy to put in their Easter baskets. This year is a healthy year. I went to Sprouts to buy treats such as fruit snacks, beef jerky, granola bars, cocoa dark chocolate, ginger candy, and chia squeeze vitality snack. Boy, are they in for a big surprise. It took me awhile to make my choices because I had to read all the ingredients. Daughter is a vegan, so I had to check for milk, and son just became allergic to peanuts, so I had to check for nuts. I think they will enjoy the six packs of IPA beer I hid in the refrigerator.

One year on the big hunt I finally understood a very important economic lesson, the law of diminishing returns. The bunny hid about 100 eggs. At first these two adult children went wild to see who could find the most eggs. After about the first 75, they started loosing interest. But it was fun watching them count the eggs in each other’s basket to see who would be the winner.

Easter is the beginning of new life…a renewed beginning for all. Enjoy the day, weekend, year…and remember what the holiday is all about.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


I am standing in a line with all the others. There are about 50 people in front of me, and thousands more behind me. I worry about what I am going to say. I practice my speech in my head, over and over again.

As if standing in line to buy tickets to a concert, the people around me quietly start chatting and sharing stories. We wonder what our fate is going to be when we finally reach the long white table.  Someone states that one of the questions will be, “What did you do yesterday, and what would you have done differently?” After thinking about it for a few minutes, this is what I prepare to say:

What did I do yesterday: I cleaned the bathrooms and vacuumed the living room. I fed the dog and prepared for my classes. I watered the garden and emptied the dishwasher. I watched the news on TV and drank a half bottle of wine.

What would I have done differently: I hijacked my son and daughter from work and drove them to the airport. They accepted this as though it were an every day excursion. We flew to Virginia Beach, Virginia so I could show them where their father and I used to go crabbing by tying a chicken leg on a string and enticing the crabs to join us on the sand. We watched the day dawn as it rose over the water and shivered in the cool morning air. We experienced a new beginning – a new adventure – the beginnings of a marriage and life together. We feasted on fresh crab legs, Pinot Gris, ice cream, and chocolate brownies.

We boarded another plane and flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was my beginning – where I was born. The Sandia Mountains are my fortress and my strength. They stand tall and emit an ever-
changing kaleidoscope of light, orchestrated by the sun as it sinks below the horizon – green, then pink, purple, then dark blue, then black. It will never falter and will always stand strong against adversity. We feasted on enchiladas, margaritas, and flan.

We drove to Lake Powell where family and childhood memories are etched into the red stone like the petroglyphs from years ago. The lake was man made, but the sheer cliffs were formed by a
greater force – much like our lives together. We watched the moon as it rose over Castle Rock and twinkling light crystals danced on the water beyond our reach. We feasted on baked potatoes, steak, and drank red beer.

I realize that I have finally reached the long white table. Everyone who was standing in line before me is gone. Beyond the white table are white clouds that are slowly disappearing into a vortex filled with yellow light. The clouds wrap around me and I move along with them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

There's An Oil for That

There are a few things in this world that are essential: a comfy pair of shoes…the right hair color…chocolate…and…oils. No matter what your ailment, there’s an oil for that. Burned your hand?...rub lavender on it. Have an upset stomach?...drop some peppermint in your bottled water. Arthritis in your knee?...drink ginger tea. Mosquitos bothering you?...rub eucalyptus on your bare skin.

A friend of mine started selling essential oils, so I invited her over to demonstrate her product for my daughter and me. My daughter is a natural yoga/vegan/no leather/hemp purse kind of a person, and I thought it would make a good Christmas present to buy her some oils. Friend told us all about the oils – I learned that oils can be used topically, taken internally, or diffused into the air. Some oils are much stronger than others and should not be used on the skin at all or should be used in conjunction with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive or avocado. Nothing like a yummy face salad before going to bed. She demonstrated with a drop of lemon oil on a Styrofoam plate. Within 10 minutes, the lemon oil had eaten a hole through the plate. I may not be a fast learner, but I quickly concluded that one does not use lemon oil to get rid of wrinkles.

Once we received our oils, we were very excited to start our daily regimen. I put lemon and peppermint in my water every day to purify my digestive system. I diffused cloves as an antioxidant protection. Daughter began her facial routine.

For our convenience, these little bottles of oil are somewhat color-coded. Lavender for lavender (duh), yellow for lemon…well…you get the point. However, there are a lot of green oils – sage, oregano, rosemary, eucalyptus – each one having its unique therapeutic benefits.

Daughter was preparing for bed one evening and grabbed her oil of choice to invigorate and purify her skin. She mixed it with some coconut oil and proceeded to rub it all over her face. HOLY MOTHER of ROSEMARY! DOUBLE FACE PALM! SCREAMS! Only after-shave Kevin in Home Alone could relate to what was happening. Daughter had picked up the bottle of oregano instead of the eucalyptus. Oregano is used to kill fungus and help kick a cold. You can imagine what it did to her face. Visions of lemon oil versus Styrofoam danced in her head. Her first instinct was to wash it off with water – no – wait – oil and water don’t mix. More coconut oil – where’s the Costco-sized bag of avocados? - grab the bottle of olive oil. There’s gotta be an oil for that!

Essential oils are great – but it is essentially imperative that you are careful when using your essential oil of choice. No essential oils? Eat chocolate.