Where do you eat?

When I saw a post on Instagram about not using the dining table for meals, I passed it off as a young person thing. The poster was considering making her dining room into something else. Then, I read the blog of a woman older than me who said she used her dining table for her grandkids’ projects but didn’t eat there. I was startled. Where do people eat? Where do you put cups, glasses, utensils, serving pieces, if not on the dining table?

We have had the same dining table for over 40 years. I have replaced the dining chairs after we moved into this house, and I have had them re-caned a few times. We use our table and chairs A LOT. Every breakfast, many lunches, and every dinner when we are at home. We sat down every evening for dinner while our daughter was growing up. I think I’ve  mentioned that we seldom eat out, so that is a whole lot of meals eaten at that table.

Recently I helped a friend with a reception in her home, and as I was arriving, her husband was moving the barstools away from the counter where we would set up some of the foodstuffs. I figured that must be where they ate some of their meals, but they also had a dining table in the breakfast room and a large table in the formal dining room. It all appeared to be used.

If you have your meals at home, where do you eat?

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The demand is great

Thursday morning I was up at 5 am so as to be at the monthly school chaplain’s meeting at 7. With the time change to daylight savings, it’s again dark in the morning. This doesn’t save me any daylight! I need sun early in the day, not in the evening.

Big turnout for the meeting. We are now at 40 chaplains. There had been 42 for a few months, but two of the ladies have returned to the paid workforce, giving up their chaplain activities. At both schools, there are other chaplains stepping in to fill in for the rest of the school year, which is about eight more weeks. One of the schools was quite adamant, the chaplaincy is part of their school program and must be filled. They even want more chaplains as the upper grade teachers want to know why they don’t have a chaplain coming to their classroom.

When I got to Columbia, I chatted with the principal for awhile. One of the sixth graders came by to say hi and I gave her a pencil. She was quite pleased, and the principal said it had all the answers to her math work. I wasn’t so sure, and told her she could use it for her essays. (Writing is more my thing than math.) She said she is very good at math because last year her teacher used money to teach math. She likes working with money. The principal continued to chat with the student while I went off to see the second graders and then help a tearful first grader get her lunch.

After lunch, before I headed into the first grade classroom, I again saw the principal. We chatted briefly about the second graders who I read to once a month. “How about you come every day? We could use you everyday.”

“No, I’m retired, remember?”

Yes, the school chaplains are in great demand throughout the school district.

All who remember are gone

A friend whose mother died a few months ago was lamenting this year’s Mother’s Day. My mother died on Christmas Day in 2000, and it’s not the Mother’s Days that have since come and gone that make me sad, but rather my birthdays. My mother always sent me a card. She had always been there for my birthday.

As those thoughts ran through my brain, I was brought up short with the realization that this year my sister, the only other person who always remembered my birthday, won’t be sending me a card. The one she sent last year was so cute and funny. It had two sisters, very young girls, who actually looked like us, on the cover. The picture was black and white and inside, my sister had written, “this could be us if we were closer in age and had grown up together.” I loved the card. It made me laugh. I immediately called my sister to tell her how much I loved it and we again laughed about the uncanny resemblance to us. I was hoping to find something as wonderful to send to her on her next birthday, her 84th, but she was gone before it came.

So this year there will be no cards arriving on my birthday except maybe one from our church. The friends who made a big deal of my birthday and sent cards and took me to lunch have died. My mother is gone. My sister now deceased. This makes me incredibly sad.

Makeup work for pi day

I did not bake a pie on pi Day, March 14, 3.14, you know, that number that goes on forever….

Thursdays are busy days around here. Terry and I are both gone for most of the day, and it always feels like the end of the week for me when Thursday rolls around. That was another reason we went out to eat on pi Day this year. More about the place we went–Pieology. It’s a chain, and one that I thought was every where, but maybe not. We sure have a lot of them in the Fresno/Clovis area. The restaurant’s concept reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer came up with the idea of a do-it-yourself pizza parlor. At Pieology you order the kind of crust you want along with the type of sauce and cheese and then you get to pick from a variety of toppings. Sort of a pizza-Chipotle. The pizzas are individual size but they have boxes available if you want to eat the rest later.

Today, being the real Friday, I did grocery shopping and since I bought a bag of Meyer lemons, I thought I should make that pie that I missed making for pi Day. Sort of like makeup work! As I posted on Facebook, I may not be too good at math, but I make a great pie.

Chilly pi Day

The sun has been shining the last two days but it is still cold. I’ve had to wear a sweater to school and also when we went out for an early dinner on Thursday. I think the wind is blowing off of the snow in the mountains, putting a chill on the Valley air. The weather man says it’s will be in the 60s and maybe even the 70s by the beginning of next week. I sure hope so as I want to work in the yards and even take a walk without piling on a jacket. The little girls at school were still wearing their boots and jackets, and I noticed a big pile of coats underneath the hooks for backpacks and coats. There just isn’t enough for all the coats the kids are wearing. Winter, be gone!

The dishwasher didn’t have to be unloaded this morning as we weren’t home on Thursday nor did we eat dinner at home. Going  out for dinner sure saves on the housework around here! Although we went early for dinner, there was still a crowd at 5 o’clock due to the pi Day specials. I had a coupon at Pieology for a free salad or pizza if you also bought one. However, I ordered the small salad so the coupon didn’t get used. That was okay, we’ll go back another time. Most of the people were ordering two pizzas as you got 50 percent off the second one for pi Day. I don’t eat much pizza so I didn’t see a reason to order one, even at the lower cost. I nibble on one of Terry’s slices and ate my salad.

Besides the coupon, another reason we chose Pieology for dinner is that it’s in a very lovely outdoor shopping center with landscaped walkways. We thought it would be nice to take a walk after dinner, but when we exited the restaurant we were met with that cold wind. We made a quick trek around the building and back to our car. Maybe next time.

The first Monday of Daylight Savings Time and Lent

It’s a good thing that the Zodys are retired. We didn’t get up until 7 am on this first weekday morning of DST. I certainly wouldn’t be able to make it to work if I was still teaching. Of course, there are lots of things I wouldn’t be able to do as I did when teaching. The energy level just isn’t there any more. On this Monday I don’t have to leave the house until after 10:30 and Terry will be leaving around 10. Very much a good schedule for this old couple! What is sort of funny, though, is that on Sunday we were up at 6:30 DST because we had to be at church. I guess it’s all in the motivation.

I have heard of people giving up social media or other luxuries for Lent. What is the point? I don’t give up anything for Lent but rather add more prayer and reading. More charity. To me, walking the road towards the cross means taking care of those I come in contact with on that walk. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Visiting the sick and incarcerated. Looking at my world through a Jesus-lens. Reaching out more, not less.

When I hear someone say they will give up social media for Lent, I think to myself, how about electricity? Give up electricity. Or, how about automobiles? Give up traveling. Stay in one place. No, I don’t think so. As Jesus headed to the cross, He worked. He moved on. He cared for people. He taught and healed and saved. That was the social media of the day, and He used it.

My hope is to do better in the next few days–getting up at my regular early time. Going out. Doing work in the community. Meeting up with people. Like today, even though I got a later-than-usual start, I’m having lunch with my retired teacher friends. Then I’m shopping for cookie-making ingredients. I was informed yesterday, at church, that the freezer is low on cookies for coffee fellowship.

Celebrating a life well lived

Saturday I went to the memorial service for a lady I’ve only known for five of her 83 years. I met her when I became a school chaplain. She had been doing the job for two years and had the best test scores of any of the school chaplains. I “shadowed” MaryLou to see how she did it before I ever entered a first grade classroom. She did it with lots of love. Which is how she lived her entire life. Lots of sass and lots of love.

Even though well-scripted, the memorial service ran almost three hours.  MaryLou wanted all of her family to get a chance to speak. She had given them perimeters and timelines, but they all had so much to say. Also, she had a big family–four sons, two daughters-in-law, six grandchildren. She had sprinkled in eight pieces of music. There were about 800 in attendance, too. The woman was well loved.

I was so surprised when I learned of MaryLou’s death as she was in good health and living a vibrant life. Her mother had lived to be over 100 years old so it just seemed reasonable to believe that MaryLou would do likewise. She was ready to go, though. Her children and friends spoke of her longing to go home to Jesus. To be in heaven. When she suddenly fell ill and was hospitalized, the doctors gave her little time to live which pleased her. Then her church friends and the pastors were called and they prayed for healing miracles. MaryLou, although unable to speak, became distraught and communicated to her sons that she did not want that prayer. She knew where she was going and she was ready.

MaryLou will be missed by her family and her friends, but we know she has gone home, that she is with her beloved Jesus, and that she is dancing in heaven.

MaryLou and me, in our chaplain uniforms, five years ago.