when life throws a curveball, squeeze it till the lemonade flows

     As I wait quietly in a nursing facility room watching my mother-in-law doze, I read. Today's selection is a delightful memoir by author and chef Marlena di Blasi recounting her time in beautiful Venice. Here is the paragraph I'm taken with at the moment. She is speaking of her husband's plan to grow olives in Tuscany when they relocate:
     “He has planted in little plastic pots twelve eight-inch-high olive trees that he plans to transplant down the western slope of the garden. He’s calculating that his first harvest will happen, if all goes reasonably well, in twenty-five years and will yield a cup and a third of oil.”  An excerpt From: Marlena de Blasi. “A Thousand Days in Venice.” Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013-05-21. iBooks.
     Marlena, you're killing me, girl!  Just the notion of starting over is massively appealing. Her reasoning makes me laugh, as she and her husband are past middle age. Feelings of wanderlust swell somewhere deep inside, stirring envy mixed with the desire to just jump up and go... But here I sit.
     Life boldly throws curve balls whenever it chooses. It's rude like that. Life shouts at me, Hey, don't get too comfy. You don't really think you're in control, do you?
     Head and heart know only Jehovah Jireh, the Living God Who Provides, is truly in charge. He's not only large and in charge, but He totally understands my traveler's heart. (After all, He made all the magnificent things I want to see.)
     He also knows how impulsive I would choose to be.... you know, if I were in charge of the world. (Hey, isn't that a Dr. Seuss title?) I want to go, to explore, to learn more and to be someplace new. Every single day.
Lovely 'Lita, in better days. Easter Sunday 2012
     The past two years has seen drastic change. My husband's little 86- year old mother is declining in health and bed-bound. Specifically, the last seven months has seen our entire family taking turns sitting by Lita's bedside, caring for her every need, attending doctor visits and hospital stays... waiting, waiting and waiting.
      A while back, she and I reminisced about better days, discussed family history and laughed at our attempts to get her legs to work again... (a very long story.) Now she struggles to even speak. I feel her frustration... Her sharp mind and strong will crave control, but that frail, little body isn't cooperating at all. We spoke of irony... Lita's 93-year old brother, my husband's Tio Miguel is physically healthy as a horse, but Alzheimer's disease has slowly purged his mind.
Our girlies with their Abuelita. Easter 2013
     Recently, I've missed quite a few work days. I only managed fourty-two posts in 2013  and thirty-seven the year before. Ouch!  And I've read. Oh boy, have I read! My literary choices have ranged from non-fiction, cooking essays and fiction to memoirs, travel essays and Scripture.
     I've also played countless word search games. Efforts to keep my sanity while increasing my vocabulary are progressing quite nicely. Ha.
     When life comes at you with alternate plans you hoped were years away, all you can do is hold on tight and shout, WHEEEEEEEEEEE! A good attitude, hopeful spirit, compassionate nature and stubborn perseverance is what's required. And lots of prayer. And a second-hand iPad.
The Fam with 'Lita and Uncle Greg. Easter 2013
"1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I {ever} need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength, {
every single day.} He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. {
Right in front of them!} You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. {Better blessings than I could ever think up and way more than I deserve.}
Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever." 
{Amen and amen}
Psalm 23. New Living Translation, {with bracketed emphasis added my moi:}

Lita with Claire, 2012

let's review: molly macpherson's richmond hill

     We decided to go out for dinner Saturday night. BIG date night... not even leaving the Hill, we hit Dollar Tree and headed for Molly's on Highway 17 in Richmond Hill. We're just two wild and crazy kids!
fish and chips with Guinness (photo compliments of MMP)
     We've dined here several times and consider it to be the best all around restaurant in town. That's right. You aren't seeing things... I said, It is the best place in Richmond Hill, Georgia for a nice dinner. Not fancy-shmancy, but a great meal for what you pay and lovely, knowledgeable staff. Consistently good food is important to me. I know who to count on.
     I always order the same thing... Honey Thistle Chicken paired with neeps and tatties, and a freshly steamed vegetable selection. (And a crazy-good yeast roll served with honey butter. Yum!) Neeps and tatties are turnips and potatoes whipped into glorious submission. The hubs likes to mix it up and orders something different each time, so I decided to be brave and do the same this time.
     I asked if the herb-crusted salmon could be grilled instead, with the cucumber-dill sauce on the side. It is served with potato scones and the veg of the day. Oh, and the roll. I'm now brave and full... Grilled is the way to go!
     He ordered Steak and Guinness Stew. It was so good, it made me want to rush home and make some! Steak, potatoes, carrots and onions in a hearty gravy. The yeast roll perched on the side of his bowl, ready to swan dive into the rich sauce. (The plate was clean when we left.)
     We love Molly's pies. Chicken, Shepherd's, Steak and Guinness. The meatloaf is good, a huge portion large enough to share or save for a second meal. And if you fancy something sweet to end the night, go for the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
photo compliments of MMP-RH

     Stop by Molly MacPherson's in Richmond Hill, just of I-95 on Highway 17. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
 Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon