OMG !!!

OMG The year in review…. A look back in time…. The most incredible year of our lives… Every year we want to be able to say “Oh my God… the last year was the most [positively] incredible year of my life.” That’s how we want to live and eventually we should be able to say “Oh my God… the last month was the most [positively] incredible month of our lives].

Incredible for some might be losing 25 pounds, conquering a phobia, or finding the cure for cancer. For me, it meant degunking the arteries of my life. We had become so intellectually and spiritually sedentary that our souls were creaking. Our blood had slowed to a crawl. Our spirits were dormant! We were comfortable, complacent, and happy. But wait a minute, except for the complacent part… comfortable and happy should be good things!

I was happy but my soul was discontented, and saying that makes me wonder if it’s possible to be happy with a discontented soul. Maybe I wasn’t happy! Maybe I just thought I was! But this is getting way too philosophically deep. So maybe I was conflicted? On the other hand, Clay just keeps ticking along without a worry in the world, which makes me think there just might be something to this meditation thing, because he meditates every day.

 Whatever the case, my sojourn in the Middle East was like rotorootering my soul, spirit, body, and mind. We cleared junk out of the house for our son to move-in, which meant an opportunity to throw out things we had been keeping just because they were too good to throw away; because we might use them one day; because the kids might be able to use them; because, because, because. We couldn’t figure out why we held on to skis that we hadn’t used since my knee surgery fifteen years ago had ended all hopes of ever doing a double black diamond out west. We gave away stained chairs that we keep for overflow gatherings and an assortment of other stuff that lined the front of the lawn for others to take away and store in their respective attics and garages. All this was done to make way for the OMG experience.

 We hiked a Wadi. We climbed a mountain. I took horseback lessons. We had countless glorious evenings walking towards the sunset along the Persian Gulf. We made as many friends in 10 months as I’ve made in the last 10 years. I became a better and more interesting teacher. We learned there are as many different types of Muslims as there are Christians. We learned that girls cloaked in abayas are the same as girls everywhere around the world.

 Streetwise punks say “I can do a year standing on my head” while referring to prison. Not to compare marriage to prison… but prior to this year, I would have said “We can do a year apart standing on our heads… because our marriage is strong”, but when faced with that decision, I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew that what made the last year magical was having him to share it with. I knew that if I returned to the Middle East without him, it wouldn’t be the same. I’m now in the process of having an OMG year right here in the US. I took a storytelling class that ended with a scared-to-death stage performance. I’ve signed up for a chorale group advertised “for those who cannot sing”, and [drum roll please] I might sign-up for a motorcycle class. Clay is working in his dream job, Director of Cyber Security at UMUC.

So… we’re busy working on keeping the physical and spiritual arteries from clogging back up. Wishing you and yours a [positive] OMG year! Aleta and Clay

Through the eyes of others

We approached the ATM at the same time. When he saw me… he sped up with a smile as if to beat me there, which he did, but then he demurred and beckoned for me to go first. He saw me hesitate and asked why. I attempted to make a long story short by telling him about the old days when banks had a drawer one could open and drop in a deposit. (Note… my local Chevy Chase bank just closed their last “drawer” last year.) He then asked if I had an ATM card, to which I answered that I did but it was in the car.

Then he told me that I could use the card to make a deposit. It was at this point, when it dawned on me that he saw an old person who did not know how to use an ATM. This forced me into a defensive position and I began to give him the long story of how the bank wasn’t really my bank and he began to explain that I can use any ATM from any bank…. But it’s not like that, I said. You see credit unions have “relationships” with other credit unions so one credit union will accept deposits for different credit unions. Plus, I’m making this deposit for my husband and I don’t have his card… and I had intended on going in the bank and making the transaction through the teller… He looked puzzled and gave up trying to explain to an “old lady” and I gave up trying to explain banking relationships to him. We walked away together smiling and talking about the weather as we went to our respective cars.

Stay tuned…

There’s a story behind everything

 Spent part of the day sorting through souvenirs from our Middle East trip. Then, just for giggles, decided to tag each item. Just as if it was an electronic item, but instead of an metatag, I actually wrote, printed and pasted an identifying tag for each item… just like in a museum. “Elephant bought in Thailand as reminder of our first elephant ride.”

 Once I got started, I couldn’t stop and went around the house tagging pictures “Morning Star Beach in St. Thomas VI (circa 1995). Memorable moment…. Being sung to sleep by frogs at night.” This exercise led to a reminder that everything and everybody has a story. In a conversation with my niece, she discovered that I used to be a skier. Known her all her life, but she doesn’t know my story. Who knows my story? Who will tell my story? Just read obituary of friend’s husband and got a chance to read his “story” (aka obituary). It was then that I realized I better get started writing my own story.

 My story, like most, has evolved in pieces. There’s the young me, but my parents have passed away so they can’t tell that story. There’s the young adult me that only I know, and then the next phase.. the married me, can be documented by my husband, but he only knows his half of that story.

 So tomorrow I begin to write my story.

 Stay tuned….