Things I learned this past year:
- I learned hotels in California install booby traps in their parking lots. The hotel staff refers to these booby traps as curbs. Hah! Curbs! I call them dangerous booby traps lurking in wait for you, hoping with evil delight you break your foot when you stumble over it and your body lands splat on the sidewalk. I know. I was booby trapped and hobbled in a cast for months.
- I learned Californians are actually friendly. You realize this when the hotel’s booby trap (the so-called curb) exercises demonic power and shoves you into a graceless fall. Californians rush to help you; ask if you’re okay and help you get up while gathering your purse and water bottle and other things strewn about. You wonder. Are these nice people really Californians? The same Californians who honk their horn and shout from their car window, “Go back to Washington!” And of course, you live in Arizona so their request isn’t easy.
- I learned you don’t always accomplish all the goals you set for yourself in one year. I never slept in a treehouse, the only goal I recall out of last year’s list. Thankfully, there’s good news for those in the vicinity of my age. If you don’t remember the goals you set for yourself, you won’t feel bad about not accomplishing them. I ask myself. Did I have a goal to zip line through the rainforest in Costa Rica? Or did I plan to save money for a trip to Costa Rica? Or did I even want to go to Costa Rica? I don’t know. I wrote my list of goals a year ago. And so over the course of twelve months, I forgot what I wrote. Or where I put the list. Isn’t that wonderful? No feeling bad for me for any unmet goals.
- I learned I will never get tired of the Soarin’ Over California attraction at Disney’s California Adventure. How could I tire of a ride that makes me feel I’m actually hang-gliding over a waterfall in Yosemite, vineyards in Napa Valley, and the Golden Gate Bridge? I’m flying with my purse secure in a basket below my feet. I swoop over a citrus-fragrant orange grove while the man riding in the seat next to me yelps like a sick hyena. “Yeeeech,” he hollers as if in severe pain. I glance over at him and he glances back at me and grins. I love that ride.
- I learned I will never allow a lady in the aisle seat on an airplane to ever again flip my armrest up. She asked if I minded if she flipped it up and I said I didn’t mind. Before asking me this favor, she attempted to win me over by telling me about her grown daughter who is her only child and how she’s missing her terribly even though she said good-bye to her minutes earlier in the airport. With sympathy for her sadness, I felt the least I could do was allow her to flip the armrest up. I was completely innocent of the torture in store for me. Once she flipped up the armrest, she spread out to half of my seat causing me to squish against Jerry in the window seat. He later explained that my body plastered against his caused him to have breathing difficulties.
- Speaking of window seats. I also learned that when you fly out of Phoenix, a window seat is a must. Otherwise, if you sit in the middle seat or aisle seat, a lady wearing a yellow fedora who has the window seat will grant you no mercy. The pilot announces, “We are now flying over the Grand Canyon. Take a look out the window for the majestic view.” You turn from your middle seat or aisle seat to catch a glimpse and yellow fedora lady has her head in the window completely blocking your view. She moves her head just slightly so a sliver of purple (or was it scarlet?) canyon flashes before you. Wazz that? Wazz that the Grand Canyon? “I couldn’t see a thing,” Jerry sighs. Afterward, when the Grand Canyon view is out of sight, yellow fedora lady turns to us (me seated in the middle and Jerry in the aisle seat) and says, “Oh! Did you want to see the Grand Canyon?” In the words of Carly Simon…It’s too late, Baby, it’s too late! We think this, but don’t say, or sing. We force smiles. We’re not bitter.
- I learned to not listen to the naysayers who tell you something won’t work. You won’t sell your house. You won’t sell your book. You can’t and won’t. So don’t. I learned to do the following whenever I’m confronted with naysayers. Give their objection some legitimate thought and then follow my gut and not let the naysayers get me down. Sometimes when I listen to my gut, there’s a lot of noise.
- I learned that large-frame glasses make a statement. While I tried on frames for my new glasses, Jerry stood nearby giving his review. “Oh yes, that’s nice,” he said when I sported the dainty Linda Evans frames. He liked the Sophia Loren frames also. When I picked up a pair of the heavy-rimmed, bookish glasses~ Jerry gagged, “Argggg. I really don’t care for those big-frame, horn-rimmed glasses,” he said. An elderly lady (which means she was at least two or three years older than me) overheard Jerry and said to him, “I love these big frame glasses. They make a statement.” I wondered what kind of statement was she referring to: I’m fashionable? Notice me? I hate Linda Evans? It later came to me that changing our attitudes to caring about others and focusing less on ourselves is a better statement than changing our glasses.
- I learned also this year that Starbucks has a Chestnut Praline Latte. I have not tried this latte, but the name alone is delicious.
- And finally, I learned to be grateful everyday that I can walk, even run and skip and dance and hop. The demon-possessed booby trap didn’t win.
Happy New Year! …(leave a reply and tell me the goals you have for the coming year.)