Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More thankfulness

I failed to mention my daughters-in-law in my Thanksgiving post. That is not to say I am not enormously thankful for them. I have always enjoyed knowing the individuals singled out by my children as interesting enough to date and become romantically involved with. It goes without saying that once deep relational commitments are made—long term permanence taking the form of marriage or partnership—I willingly open up my heart and home to our augmented family members and go out of my way to impose no conditions on their acceptance.

My daughters-in-law are completely individual, each one with different backgrounds and life experience. Each of them bring a richness to our family that is unique and treasured. All are especially gifted in the “acceptance” factor.  When we had our reunion at the ocean this summer, I was able to see their inclusiveness in action. It was a heartwarming observation.  

So thanks, Eleni, Denise, and Candra for the texture, detail, and color you add to our family tapestry.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


It’s easy to grumble, and grumble I do. Hardly a day goes by . . . no, make that an hour . . . when I don’t find something about life that isn’t to my liking. Sometimes it’s stuff at home (cobwebs blowing from a spot on the ceiling impossible to reach, a pile of lint slow dancing beneath the dryer, a stinky smell from somewhere in the back of the fridge), and sometimes it’s stuff in the news (impasse in Congress, pepper spray at Occupy Wall Street, a local favorite for City Council defeated).

I can be short-tempered at the supermarket when I discover it no longer carries my favorite brand of pancake mix, and long-faced when the driver in front of me is straddling two lanes and traveling under the speed limit. The older I get, the harder it is to stay on an even keel and smile through the thick and thin of days.

Then here comes Thanksgiving, the day we’ve set aside as a nation to pause in grateful recognition of the many blessings we take for granted. I don’t need to tell you what about each of the grumbles above I could turn around and be grateful for. You can do that yourself. But I can enumerate some special of the people, events, and things that have made me feel especially blessed recently.

Our family reunion in Oregon: I’m grateful to Andrea for making an alternate plan so she wouldn’t need to miss any facet of the gathering, and grateful to Matt for driving so many “toys” (outrigger canoes and bikes) to share with all. I’m grateful to Phil for driving two days to get there, and Pete for taking such a far-flung vacation with his family. I’m also grateful to Nick and Tony Gorini whose enthusiastic report on Rockaway Beach, Oregon, encouraged me to take a risk and rent a house sight unseen, in an Oregon town site unseen.

Rock Concert: U-2’s 360 Tour. My first (and maybe only) rock concert! Such a treat, never to be forgotten.

My blog: I love having a place to spout and spew whatever’s on my mind and a place to tentatively offer tidbits of self through the written word.  This year has brought some gratifying reactions from strangers. One stranger lives in Israel and read something I’d written about a now-deceased mutual friend, another from California was trying to locate information about my son’s Pumpkin-on-Pikes Halloween festival, a third offered to help locate the machine I needed to transcribe my father’s letters. I’m still working on that . . . and I’ve had some lovely comments and e-mails, as well, from friends.  It does beat talking to myself.

My Writers' Group: Two wonderful women read everything I submit to them and gently, positively encourage me. They slog through poetry, wade through essays, and critique with always a positive, helpful manner. And after seven years of working together? They have become dear, dear friends, who know more about me than many family members do!

Group Health Cooperative: How lucky I am to have access to healthcare through an organization that is modern and responsive. Plus, there’s follow up and low co-pays, and no paperwork! It’s there for us—whether we need emergency care while traveling, or urgent care outside of office hours. We are so lucky to be able to afford healthcare and this group is remarkable.

My husband: Even though he and I can snipe at each other with words (sometimes it can be fun), mostly we treat each other with respect and love. We have a deep and lasting bond. Lucky me. He is supportive and helpful and always willing to help me.

My children: They pay attention over the miles by calling, sending e-mails and texting, and visiting when they have time and means to do so.

My granddaughters: Three independent, smart, funny, thoughtful, talented girls—each different, but each with that Glerum ‘glint.’ I love them deeply and desperately, and feel amazingly lucky to know them, let alone be related to them!

My sister:  Having known me all my life, she remembers things about me I can’t possibly know, and shares our collective memory of  our together-ties. I love having her near.

My neices: They treat me like the Queen Mother.

My friends: I wish there were more days in the week, so I could have even more time to spend with the women who not only put up with me, but come back for more.

Now that I’ve started, I can barely stop . . . but this blog posting is QUITE long enough.

May yours be a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Suppers for Solos

Here is my latest venture: Suppers for Solos. Rather than start from scratch explaining it, I am going to reprint (in yellow) the e-mail I sent ten days ago to the residents in our Homeowners' Association who currently live alone. They are all within a half-block's walking distance from my house--in townhouses similar to mine. Some of the people I knew slightly; some I knew not a all.

Dear ___, ___, ___, ___, ___, ___ etc.

As some of you know, Hubby travels quite a bit for his business. That means I have many dinners alone. Usually I make something very simple: maybe heat up leftovers, or microwave a ready-made dinner from the supermarket, then I watch TV or read while I eat.

The other night as I was scrounging through my fridge for food, I found myself wondering how many neighbors who live alone were doing the exact same thing as I—at the exact same time.

I wondered if, once-in-a-while, other solo residents might like to bring their food to my house so we could eat together. If you just brought whatever food you’d be eating anyway, we could have the pleasure of companionship and conversation without any fuss and bother usually associated with” hosting dinner."

To test out my idea, I called one of our neighbors and invited her for a trial run.

“ Bring your own fixin's to my house. You can cook or heat them here: I have a toaster oven, a microwave, a stovetop and an oven.”

“Can I bring my wine?”

“Of course! Bring whatever you’d like, but remember—you don't have to share anything.”

We discovered this is an idea that works! I heated my dinner, and she heated hers. We sat down at my table and talked for a couple of hours. When she departed, we agreed to try it again, this time including everyone in the association who lives alone. We picked a date—November 9, Wednesday. This is NOT a potluck!

You don't need to bring food (and drink) for anyone but yourself. Bring only what you will consume. You can even take home your own dirty dishes!

I don't need to do anything either except: open my door; show you the kitchen; provide plates, glasses & silverware; heat water for coffee and tea; share conversation.

I hope this will appeal to some of you. If it does, grab your food (whether it’s cheese & crackers, leftovers from last night’s restaurant, Lean Cuisine, etc.) and just show up at my house about 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9. No need to RSVP. 

Well, that was earlier this evening, and I'm thrilled to report our first all-inclusive "Suppers for Solos" was a huge hit! Three neighbors arrived, each bearing their own food--some in bags, some on plates. Two people even  brought their own silverware. What fun it was to sit around the dining room table eating completely different items--chatting about various topics of interest. Everyone agreed it's great to get to know your neighbors and very nice to have a conversation during dinner. I'm hopeful we've started something that will continue.