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 I had to have a meeting with the head of security at work last week.

In his office…

We decided to get some fresh air while we were doing it.

And some scenery…

He let me lead the meeting for a bit while he was researching some stuff – (full frame shot there)

And I didn’t have to use the barf bag at all – (though I was sure thinking about it – seems the resonant frequency of my tummy means 120 mph isn’t a good thing… 90 mph works fine.

Finally it was time to call the meeting to a close…

And I sat in the airport lobby for awhile – just letting my tummy settle down – it was good to let that happen.

It was fun – too much other stuff going on – I simply had to take the day off to try to decompress.

Take care folks –

Tom


No story this week.

I honestly just don’t have it in me.

It’s been a week of highs

  • I went flying with a friend
  • I had an “Only you, Tom, only you…” experience when researching a story I was writing – where the pieces came together in ways I’d never expected.
  • My leg, which wasn’t supposed to heal after all that’s been done to it (think radiation, etc), appears to be doing just that, healing…

And lows

A triple whammy of

  • my grandma being in the hospital,
  • the same hospital I spent countless hours in when my dad was there 11 years ago, (which I simply can’t face right now)
  • and rather suddenly and unexpectedly losing her leg, something I’m kind of familiar with having to face, because that was a possibility for me a number of years ago – to the point that early on the morning of surgery, dressed in the sweats I was supposed to wear to the hospital, I walked around our dandelion covered front lawn in my bare feet, to try to cement the memory of what it felt like to walk barefoot in wet grass deep into my brain, in case I wouldn’t have the chance to feel that anymore.…

I’m also hearing stories of my uncle’s health in Germany – obviously nothing I can do about that – but it hurts, realizing that people will leave your life – to live on in your memories – it’s just the transition that’s so hard.

A year ago I wrote a note to my grandma – put it in an envelope, and sent it to her.  It was all the things I’d ever wanted to say to her, but simply didn’t have the time to do.

I made the time – and told her that the little green toolkit she gave me for Christmas 30 years ago still has an honored position in my toolbox, that I could never develop pictures or spend time in the darkroom without thinking of her – she’d given them to me – they were my grandfather’s.

This is the grandma who sent me the chocolate chip cookies she’s packed in real, live popcorn – I wrote a story that mentioned that.

I told her that in the letter.  We were going to talk about it – but haven’t yet.  At least I wrote it, at least I was able to say the goodbye I needed to say if it came to that.

So while I’m hoping, and praying for my grandma’s health, I know I have to brace myself for the final letting go – and of course, I’m not ready for that.

So… No story this week.  Just trying to figure out how to deal with life right now.  Thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Love the folks you’ve got – you never know when they’ll be taken away.

Take care folks,

Tom


In honor of this upcoming weekend, I thought I’d write a little story about one of the traditions we used to have for Mother’s day, and something I, as a guy, learned about both women and chocolate.

As a guy, learning about either of these two things, and the interaction between them, can be both a stunning and humbling, if not totally baffling experience.

See, it seems like chocolate affects men a whole lot differently than it does women.  Me? I can take it or leave it.  Now I’ve talked to friends who happen to be female about this whole thing – and the word chocolate is uttered with a reverence a guy might have for – oh, say, the remote… or beer… or both… I don’t  know – all I know is that chocolate holds a place near and dear to every woman’s heart that I know, and none of the men I know really grasp the concept of how important, how heavenly, how earth shatteringly WONDERFUL chocolate can be to the women I’ve talked to.

As is often the case, it’s so much easier to illustrate than to explain, and of course, that takes us into tonight’s story, about Mother’s day, Chocolate, and a gender gap the size of the grand canyon.

We used to go down to Cannon Beach, in Oregon, and stay there for Mother’s Day weekend at a house right on the beach.  It was a neat place, and there were at least 4 bedrooms upstairs, and I think 23 couches and a ping pong table downstairs in a room just a touch smaller than the footprint of the house.

One of the things do aside from walking the beach and going out to Haystack Rock was try to have some fun stuff to eat while down there – and since there was a kitchen in the place, we’d bring food or get some locally to make while we were there.

One year my sister decided that something called Raclette, kind of like fondue – but she had it in her mind that instead of cheese, we’d do it with chocolate instead.  So a bunch of chocolate was melted, and plates of all kinds of things, especially fruit were brought out – and we – well, the guys of us, that’d be my dad, my son, and my brother-in-law and me  – didn’t quite get the whole concept of dipping perfectly good fruit into hot, gooey chocolate, but that seemed to be the thing to do.

So we did.

And I learned something about chocolate that evening.

It turns out that it affects men and women differently.

Those of us with a Y chromosome didn’t quite understand what the fuss was all about with the chocolate, and kind of half-heartedly put our little dishes up onto the grill to melt the chocolate, and then dipped our fruit into it after it was melted.

And I’d have to say, it was okay, but it just didn’t seem like “two great tastes that go great together” – and if we ate much of it at all, we’d eat the fruit, then maybe the chocolate, and pretty much forego the melting part altogether.

But it’s what the chocolate did to us (and I’m speaking of us as in guys) that was so different.  See, by the time we’d gotten to the point where we realized that waiting for the chocolate to melt for the second go around, all the sugar had overloaded our systems, and to a man (and boy) we were slowing down.

In the meantime, as if through a tunnel, we were hearing the women (that’d be, in chronological order, my mom, my wife, my sister, and daughter) laughing and chatting and just having a really good time…

Pretty soon it was clear that staying at the table was going to be a challenge – this was more sugar and/or chocolate than any of us guys had had in a long time.

We were fading, and fading fast.

Meanwhile, on the double X chromosome side of the table, the partying was going on with wild abandon.  Jokes were being told, laughter was clearly the order of the day, and chocolate flowed like – well – um….. Melted chocolate.

The XY members of the group drifted to the living room area, because – well, it was quieter, and tiredness was descending on us like a down comforter.

Meanwhile, at Party Central, those left at the table were now being regaled with stories that brought howls of laughter the likes of which I’d never heard.

For “the guys” – it turned out the living room, which we’d gone to to escape the noise, was still too loud. The call of the down comforter was too strong, and trying to keep our eyes open was a battle that simply could not be won.

The guys, The “Team of XY” all faded off to bed, with a mumbled “Thanks for the nice dinner” as we each shuffled to the bedrooms, resigned to lose not just the battle, but the war.

I put my son to bed, and heard the laughter still ringing in my ears, the sound of three generations of laughter and merriment in the distant background.

And suddenly – it stopped – as they noticed we were all gone.

I couldn’t help it. I could barely keep my eyes open.  In those few moments, my son was already deeply asleep.  I’d just managed to crawl into bed myself before falling there, but the last words I heard before succumbing to the arms of Morpheus, and I don’t remember who said them, were, “Now isn’t it just like those men, leaving us to do the dishes!”

Yup.

Just like those men.

But I blame the chocolate.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there, no matter which chromosomes you’ve got.

Tom Roush

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