Thursday, September 30, 2010

San Francisco post 6

Tomorrow will be two weeks since I landed at the airport - time moves as quickly here as it does in Arkansas, apparently. I've stayed long enough I decided to wash the sheets on my bed -

Shopped at one of the many malls yesterday - Target is competing with Wally World, evidently, by expanding into super stores - after a fashion. Seemed to me the original departments were scaled back to make room for the new grocery section. Still, I managed to find a few things! As I meandered through my first visit to Macy's, I concluded I'm a Penney's kind of gal. The price tags blistered my eyes - $98 for a purse marked 40% off?!!! I was wishing I'd brought sunglasses and Visine. Conrad wasn't with me to render his verdict on the purses' signature scent.

Wes, Airiel and the kiddos went to a different mall, only to happen upon a great sale day at Old Navy - 50% off the already reduced prices. God's grace for a tight budget. Thank You, Lord.

Airiel, Naomi, Conrad and I made the monthly pilgrimage to the giant Costco store this week. Getting there near 10 a.m. probably saved us from insanity. By the time we left 45 minutes later, it was similar to a stirred-up nest of wasps. Thankfully, Airiel is like a guided missile with blinders; she zeroed in on each item on her mental list and chunked it into the cart without slowing down. The kids and I just hung on for dear life. Conrad did sing a lot. Reminded me of Wes singing "Elvira" lustily all through Wal-Mart when he was a toddler.

Our hearts are sad this morning also - a relative in our extended family has received a very discouraging report from the latest doctor visit. I'm not trying to be mysterious, but I don't feel free to reveal the name b/c I don't have permission to do so. Please pray for healing!!!

Please pray also for Satan's power to be bound in the lives of all of our teens and young adults - the deceiver is so set on capturing our precious ones at this vulnerable time in their lives. Let's pray God's wings will gather them in and guard them from eternal harm!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

San Francisco post 5

Up early, dunking a peanut sandwich into my very strong coffee. Conrad just protested about something in his dream, but sunk back down into slumber after I patted him a little.

Naomi was hanging over the side of the couch yesterday talking to her mother. She asked, Mommy you know what? Granmama is my best friend!! Just one of my favorite moments of the day.

Wes's sermon yesterday was excellent. He examined and analyzed Christian love from many different angles and perspectives which made for a very motivating and encouraging lesson. I'm sure he'll post it on his website, if you'd like to access it. Good crowd for worship service, several visitors. Two very distinguished older couples sat near the front; both white-haired men stood straight and tall and wore suits (very noticeable among the mostly casually-dressed group). They seemed to be well acquainted with some of the older Lk Merced members. Turns out one of the gentlemen and the wife of the other were twins, and they had chosen to celebrate their birthday by returning to the church of their childhood. Actually, Lk Merced church began on 17th St. in downtown SF, then relocated at their present location years ago.

Wes and Airiel meet with their college kids every Sun night, so the little ones and I had the house to ourselves. We frolicked - well, if you call fishing frolicking. The pole is a long Lincoln log, the line a piece of string we found, the hook a frig magnet hot-glued to the string, the fish made of paper with a tiny paper clip attached to each. The pond is Conrad's Easter basket. Hey, it works for us!

Blessings to all.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

San Francisco post 4

Last night at around 8 o'clock Naomi and I were finger painting. Both of them had good naps that afternoon, so guess which little kids were full of boundless energy and enthusiasm when mom and dad wanted wind-down?!! So to give us wilted adults a little respite from two short whirlwinds we dug out the watercolors, bowls of water and sponges to happily slosh around for awhile.

Airiel was overcome with a craving for soda pop yesterday afternoon, so we walked over to a grocery store a few blocks away. Passing another young pregnant lady on the sidewalk, Airiel said, "Any day." The passer-by replied, "Not until November." Well, maybe it didn't happen exactly that way, but that's close. Conrad spotted a car that was mad - the rest of us, however, were unable to pick it out.

I'm eating a fresh date with my morning coffee, both of which we bought at the Asian grocery. The coffee can has a Samurai on it poised to kill - I think that's a warning about the contents. Boy, is it powerful stuff! No wonder the Chinese have so much energy and talk so fast.

I am keeping up with my Beth Moore study in the new Breaking Free series. Here's good food for thought from today's lesson: A crucial part of liberation in Christ means allowing Him to fill our empty places ... I want everyone to know how complete He can make us feel. I'm not talking about a life full of activities. I'm talking about a soul full of Jesus. Amen!!!

Wes is preaching Sunday - I can't wait to hear him. He works so hard on his lessons - much, MUCH harder than he ever did on math or English in school! I'm glad. You can see the Lake Merced church bldg from our communal back yard. The apartment complex is built on a bluff which looks down on Brotherhood Way - wa-a-ay below - (the street the church bldg is on). It's nestled in between two Armenian church buildings, one liberal, the other conservative. One allows booze at their festivals, the other doesn't. There you go. Also available are Catholic and Jewish houses of worship, and another group who believes God is a woman. There you go.

I hope yall are enjoying the same type weather we're having here! Indian summer with the slightest little bite in the air. Perfect! God be praised for every good thing, and every little thing He does is good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

San Francisco post 3

I've been here almost a week - cannot believe it! Not quite feeling like home yet, though.

Last night was a time to sing at Lake Merced church. The group was small, but fellowship was great. Nathanial, a young single guy, taught the group several new songs. Some of us knew them already, so the rest learned them quickly. I think it speaks well that everyone hung around for a while to visit some more, laughing together a lot. The lone visitor seemed to very much enjoy the service. She hasn't been connected to a church for some time, but wants to begin again with her teen daughter. The brothers and sisters made her feel very wanted. I think she's found her home.

Airiel got her hair done yesterday, so she thought today would be a good time for the baby to arrive - made sense to her, but not, apparently, to Eden. She's still a no-show. Seeing that her toe nails needing trimming, Airiel thought to do it herself. And she did accomplish it, eventually. First she had to call on her past gymnastics training and the various positions thereof because for some strange reason she couldn't simply bend over and clip, clip, clip. Not only did she have difficulty reaching those toes; she couldn't even see 'em! I think at point she resembled a pretzel but by George, she did it!! Neat toe nails.

Airiel, the children and I got out early to shop today. Well, 10 o'clock is fairly early. After finding several items at T. J. Maxx we stopped for lunch at Daphne's, a Greek cafe. The hummus and pita bread, Greek salad, veggie pita melt, and good ole french fries were wonderful!

Conrad and I were checking out the purses later in Ross's (remarkably like our Marshall's), when he remarked loudly, "These purses smell bad." Then He added in a very small, quiet voice, "They smell like poop." His large, round brown eyes were a mite apprehensive, but I ignored his use in public of a private word. Since my nose was useless because of a cold, I trusted his verdict, and scooted right on by.

It's completely delightful to hear the kids asking when getting up from a nap, "Is Granmama still here?" Then upon seeing me, running toward me and shouting, "Granmama! Granmama!" Or, "I want Granmama to ... pull up my pants, fix my oatmeal, sit by me, etc." Nectar for the soul.

Monday, September 20, 2010

San Francisco post 2

The weather is absolutely gorgeous - sunny, perfect temp, gentle breeze - think I'll take Nomi and Conrad outside after they get up from their fake naps.

Airiel just returned from her doctor visit; she's dilated one whole centimeter! Baby Eden is apparently ready to have some more wiggle room - she's head down and ready to go.

The kids and I went walking in the neighborhood yesterday afternoon while Airiel was napping. Nomi worried out loud that when mommy woke up she would be so sad because she wouldn't know where we were. She must have thought we were going for a l-o-o-n-g stroll. Actually I cut it short when this seemingly disoriented young guy who was talking to himself came our way. He probably was very nice but I didn't wait to see.

Wes's car had a close meeting with another car Sunday evening. The family wasn't with him. It was the other driver's fault (yes!) and, come to find out, their insurance policies are with the same company, so the mishap is being resolved quickly. The repair shop towed the Woodell Durango off last night and brought a rental car over this morning. Airiel informed us after her doctor visit that her bb touched the steering wheel.

Hey, my hubby told me he actually washed a load of clothes all by himself today! Let's hope they turned out okay - I don't want him looking "pretty in pink."

Would yall see if you can do something about getting rid of the hot sticky weather before I head back that way in a few weeks? I'd be indebted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

San Francisco!

Finally! Time to board my flight to San Francisco! My wonderful husband had managed to schedule my place in line as A 01 - first in line (behind the pre-boards) As the boarding agent verified my ticket, he handed it back and asked, "Do you know what to do with this?” I’d already heard him joking with several, so I shrugged and replied, “Throw it away?”

“No-o-o-o!!!” he howled, as the lady behind me exploded in delighted laughter. “Give it to the flight attendant as you enter the plane so she'll know we've started boarding the regular passengers!!” At 1:30 p.m. the Southwest plane lifted off the runway. I felt the familiar awe that anything that huge could get itself up into the air, but thank goodness, I no longer experience the craven fear of flying that ruined every trip. Now the only stirrings in my tummy were growls of hunger. That bowl of cereal was long gone.

As the attendant began handing out snacks the guy in the aisle seat pulled the top off a round container that looked suspiciously un-airline-ish. The heavenly smell of grilled chicken wafted under my nose. I looked at the miserable peanuts I was munching on, then leaned across and said to the guy drooling on his salad, “You could get attacked for that, you know.” He looked at me and mouthed, “What?” I repeated my warning, but he didn’t seem to take me seriously and shoved a huge bite of that cluck-cluck in his mouth right in front of me.

A white-haired man next to me was going home to Sacramento, repacking, then continuing on to his daughter’s wedding in Oregon. “It’s just a formality, really; they’ve been together for quite a while.” Then with a sigh of resignation, “Things sure are different nowadays. Times have changed.”

Three hours later we set down at the Las Vegas airport – very large because of all those slot machines in every nook and cranny, as well as many of the aisles. I traipsed at least a mile through a maze of corridors and blinking lights to B 9 (sounds like bingo) gateway. Ah! Just right. Few minutes to quit huffing and puffing, then settle down to pretend to read as I watch all the, well, interesting people before boarding for San Francisco. Wasn’t to be. A guy in the adjacent gateway brought us up to date on our flight – delayed two hours. But … if we’d like to hop on one leaving in 20 minutes, just come see him. Some people who can make up their minds quickly jumped up and hurried over. I tried to organize my gray matter. What should I do? A woman next to me moved in that direction, then a couple joined her. My competitive nature kicked in – I wasn’t going to be left behind!!

The airline guy told me my checked luggage might not get transferred to this flight in time to go with me. Or maybe it would. He added that when he glanced at my face. He issued me the necessary paperwork, plus a blue flimsy rectangle. “You can pre-board with this – IF you get there in time.” I thought, get there in time? From this desk to the boarding line six feet away? Then he enlightened me: “You’ll be leaving from C 12.” C 12?!! At least two miles back the way I’d come! And the plane leaving right away!

I speed-walked around corners, in and out around people enjoying their stroll through the airport, and hoped my heart would hold out. Finally I saw that beautiful sign: C 12. The pre-boarders were long gone and regulars were on their way in. I gently pushed my way up to the boarding agent and said “Am I too late to use this?” With a sweet smile she assured me I could go right on down that ramp. White hair and wrinkles come in handy sometime. It was a short flight on to Frisco. I’d hardly eaten all my peanuts when the captain ordered us to lock everything up and tighten those seat belts.

A litte later as I watched for my stuff, I noticed that a lovely family, also luggage-less, were speaking to each other in a beautiful language I couldn’t identify. Finally I just asked where they hailed from – “Norway,” was the answer. They were tall, handsome people, the daughter a striking blond almost the height of her father. I urged them to read Lauraine Snelling’s books about Norwegian immigrants who pioneered in North Dakota. Lauraine ought to give me a commission.

My luggage elected not to travel with me from Vegas, but would, I was assured, show up in an hour. So my "with-child" daughter-in-law picked me up curbside (more gorgeous brown eyes also welcoming me from the back seat), and we headed for the nearest Old MacDonald’s to while away the time.

Inside, several Hispanic teen boys were snacking on piles of burgers and fries trying to make it to supper, and an Asian gentleman with a very long goatee was chilling at a table. Just then a tall, thin older fellow stalked in, commanding the spotlight. His long flowing mane was topped by a black cowboy hat, and chains of all lengths dangled here and there. His ankle-length black leather coat smacked of the OK Corral and bunkhouses. But his tiny sidekick, who pushed past him, ruined his entrance. She made some uncomplimentary remarks about his person, which motivated him to tell her to watch her tongue (fairly quietly). She then told the teen boys clustered together not to be so loud. They apologized to her. She told them some more things and they apologized some more. The cowboy strode back and forth, alert to any problems he could deal with – other than his whip-cracking wife. She got the food and ushered him way to the back. “Well,” I said to Airiel, “this isn’t the crowd you see in the Searcy MacDonald’s.”

I still don’t know if I ate my chicken nuggets.

We returned to the airport through the heavy traffic and misting rain. When I exited the car, Naomi and Conrad protested, thinking I was leaving – mighty short visit, they thought. I claimed my suitcases, heaved them into the vehicle, and finally, we could go home. Yes!!

Naomi wanted to sleep with me; after all, her brother’s little bed was next to mine, while she was all the way across the hall. After careful consideration, I weaseled out of having a bed partner, hoping my name wouldn’t be mud forever. I’d bunked with Naomi before (although she was much younger) and was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle her bountiful energy since I was absolutely wiped out by that time. Thankfully, she graciously and sweetly conceded, armed with the promise she could wake me up come morning. Nite, all.