Monday, October 28, 2013

A Humbling Experience

Last month my husband and I were in LA visiting our son and his girlfriend.  They're wonderful hosts and we always have a great time.  There are certain things we always do when we're out there and wouldn't  feel like we've been to LA if we didn't do them.  We have a favorite italian restaurant we always go to.  And we HAVE to go to Venice Beach.  You never know what you're going to see there and it's so much fun to people watch.

We also usually do one or two new things.  This year one of the new things was to go to the California ScienCenter.  There was so much to see; it was fascinating.  But the big prize was that this is the new home of the space shuttle Endeavour.  The first glimpse of it just took my breath away.
It's size is impressive.  But looking at it and knowing where it had been and what it and the people in it had seen, was surreal.

I could envision this enormous craft traveling through the expanse of space, looking like a spec of dust in the vastness.  Most humans think everything revolves around them and that our world is the most important thing there is.  But this craft and the people in it saw our Earth from a whole different perspective.  They could look at it like we look at the moon.  It looked beautiful, but small.  In the vastness of the Universe, Earth is nothing but a spec.  Imagine what each individual person is.

It must make you realize how unimportant all your trials and tribulations really are.  Looking at the big picture - as they were able to from space - HAS to make you change your priorities.  It HAS to make you realize that the things we think are a big deal, really aren't.  If ALL people could have an amazing experience like this, maybe there wouldn't be wars, budget problems, in-fighting in congress, fighting of any kind.  People might realize that in the big picture, these "problems" are just silly.  I would love to be able to talk to these space travelers and see how their lives and personal perspectives have changed.

Just seeing this incredible space ship made my head spin.  Imagine actually traveling in it.  It just boggles my mind.  What a humbling experience.

Love,  Paula

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Tradition Lives On

When my kids were in grade school they would always get a day off in October.  My mother had an aunt and uncle that lived in Hermitage, Pa.  On that day off in October we would go down to visit mom's aunt and uncle, have lunch, then go to this department store called Kraynak's.  Kraynak's is an interesting place.  They sell toys, gift items, snacks, candy, plants, Penn State, OSU, Browns and Steelers team paraphernalia and ALL THINGS CHRISTMAS.  Besides that, there's this wonderful "Christmas trail" that you can walk through.  There are several different themed scenes.  It's magical and fun... even in October.  This became our October tradition.

My oldest child is 39 years old now with children of his own.  Last Monday was his son's October day off.  Guess what he did?  He, his son, his wife, my husband and I
went to Kraynak's.  We saw Santa's Workshop, Disney Christmas, Woodland Christmas, M & M Character's Christmas, Christmas Vacation and The Nativity, just to name a few.  As a parent you always hope that you're making wonderful memories for you children.  By taking his son (my grandson) to Kraynak's, the tradition lives on.

Love, Paula

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Eye Opener

I had the most incredible experience the other night.  I was asked by a friend if I was able to volunteer for a fundraiser for The Sight Center of Northwest Pennsylvania.  I had nothing scheduled for that evening so I said yes.  They do an interesting event called Dining In The Dark.  The idea is that all participants are blindfolded so they can experience what dinner might be like for a blind person.

I was a table coach.  It was my job to lead my blindfolded table-mates to their table.  I helped them find their seats.  I also helped orient them to where things were located on the table:  forks, spoons, napkins, water glass, wine glass, etc.  I let them know when something was served.  I watched to see if they needed assistance with anything and then assisted them.

While I was acting as a coach, it was interesting to me to hear the comments of the blindfolded participants.  When something was served, they would try to discern exactly what it was or what was in it.  For example, when the salad was served they tried to identify each and every ingredient in it.  The soup was easy, pumpkin soup with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.  The main meal was pork shank, risotto and turnip cubes.  As coach, I wasn't allowed to tell them what anything was.  It was interesting to listen to the discussion about whether the meat was  veal shank or pork shank and whether it was turnips or potatoes.  They immediately identified the risotto.  Although I enjoyed coaching, I envied them their experience.

After dinner, when everyone was allowed to take their blindfolds off, they were telling me about their experience.  One woman in particular said how difficult it was for her to not see the color, texture, or presentation of the food.

It's amazing the things we take for granted.  Those people  had this experience for 2-1/2 hours and had a difficult time with it.  But they did it knowing that shortly they would have their total eyesight back.  Think about the people who have to live this way all the time.  They are courageous.  I have such a new found respect for them.  I guess that was the whole point of this event.  I have to say, it was a real eye opener.

Love,  Paula

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Special Evening

Where I live, I'm so fortunate.  I live on Lake Erie.  We have beautiful, natural beaches, the lake, the bay, and some of the most fantastic sunsets in the world.  My son and daughter-in-law have a boat and  asked my husband and I to help them take it out of the water to get it ready to store for the winter.  We met around 6 PM and took the final ride of the season.

It was a perfect boating evening.  It was sunny and 80 degrees in October in Erie, Pa.  As we were leaving the marina, we saw the Niagara coming through the channel.  For those of you that don't know, the Niagara is a replica of a tall ship that was involved in the Battle of Lake Erie during The War of 1812.  It calls Erie home although it travels all over for Tall Ships Festivals and PR for Erie.  It's so impressive to see.  What an unexpected gift!

I frequently talk about the blessings and magic that are all around us if we only open our eyes to see them.  I experience it daily, but some days seem extra special.  This was one of those days.

Love,  Paula