Saturday, April 17, 2010

South Side Diner

When I came home from work, I was thinking we would eat left overs. Tom suggested that we go out to eat. Lizy did not feel like going out & requested that we order in. What to eat, where to go...when you do not have a repertoire of places to go or things to eat other than fast food, it becomes a problem; Kentucky Fried chicken? Steak & Shake? Pizza? Don't ask me. I would always call for Asian food.

Lizy suggested South Side Diner at the end of the block. We agreed. In my mind I was getting ready for a typical cafeteria type of American food; Hambergers & fries, Meat loaf & mashed potatoes, fried chicken...just OK, another meal of bland American food.

When the waitress recited today's special, Tom said you need to look at my wife. This is her type of food. I ordered today's special Sea Food Delight.

Soon I was presented my meal; steamed shrimps, oysters, and clams along with steamed red potatoes & corn on the cob with salad. My eyes pop-ed, my stomach danced and my mouth watered as I opened the hot pot placed in front of me. Oh how long has it been since I ate oysters and clams and those large shrimps. I started to dig in. I was so engrossed in eating and every once in a while I looked up. Tom was sitting across from me. He was thoroughly enjoying the sight of one lost in eating heaven. He had Ruben Sandwich basket and Lizy had Turkey Croissant Sandwich basket. Neither of them were interested in tasting my bonanza.

Tom said, "I guess we found Jack Pot of restaurant!" We always meant to visit this place so close & we finally did.

All Because We Fell In Love

To day we went to Maple Syrup Festival in Wakarusa; Tom, Gifford his dad, Lizy, and I. It was cool and breezy. We were going through little shops with interesting wares, browsing through food vendors, and walking around eating pop corn, chicken wrap and buying things like roses made of wood shavings, dress made by Indian hands...

Tom called me. Shop of plaques had wood carvings and one caught his eyes. Isn't that beautiful? he asked. All because we fell in love...
I looked at it for a while. As he walked away I noticed another one. Grow old with me, the best is yet to come. This one moved me deeply.

I am not a poet. I don't know the rules of poetry yet I am inspired.

All because we fell in love
was it marriage made in heaven?
Could not imagine anything could go arye
We dreamed of future in bliss
A young hopeful hearts

All because we fell in love
Four beautiful children came into being
The joy of watching them grow as they explore life
The pain of watching them as they fall
And smile as they pick themselves up

All because we fell in love
you and I were intertwined
When we were tossed in icy storms
And thought we would be torn apart
Shimmering sun brought us back.

All because we fell in love
A patchwork of art; you and me
I am from East where everything is so foreign
You are from the West where things are a puzzle
And we try to make sense of our differences

All because we fell in love
As life turns in direction we cannot see
We continue to love when things don't make sense, a miracle.
Somehow our love deepens
Darling, Grow old with me, the best is yet to come.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Trip to East Coast - Day with John & family

Today was a busy day. After a lazy breakfast, we went to a park where Zach and Asia played soccer. Once Zach's game was over, we sat & watched Asia play. John and we came back home for a barbecue lunch. Elise stayed behind for Asia to finish off her game. After a quick lunch at home we went to Zach's violin recital. It looks like he has potential to become a great violinist.

Back at John's home we had couple of hours before we headed back home to Goshen. John built a fire on their patio. Oh it felt so soothing to absorb the warmth of the glow in the cool of the afternoon.

Christian (age 26), Lizy(15), Zach(9), and Asia(7) were lost in their playing.
They were building forts, playing with ball, and they were so occupied all the way till it was time to go home.

It was a wonderful trip.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Trip to East Coast - Breakfast at Irish Diner

Seth is able to see us this morning for breakfast. He took us to a very interesting Irish diner. It looked very much like what I would expect a diner to look like. They brought us very interesting breakfast, each dish unique to sight and very delicious. I love to watch my kids as they are eating and totally enjoying themselves. I thought of who they are. Christian, Seth, and Elizabeth. None of them have the drive nor ambition that consumed me as a young person and as an adult which brought a lot of pain and kept me a tortured soul( a term I learned from John, my brother in law). Seth is so intelligent; will he be a philosopher? Christian is so creative; will he be an artist? Elizabeth has love for animals and wants to be a wild life biologist.

My father's words ring in my ears, do not become anything that cannot lead you to a financial not waste your life...Yet as I watch my children I have come a long way, to just love them as who they are as their lives unfold before them. Yet I still struggle with desire to push them to more secure future.

I wish for them that they could experience financial security and job security. I have to lift them to God. I can hear the longing in my mother that her grandchildren were doctors, lawyers, engineers so many children of her friends.

I Snap back to reality and oh how sweet this is. We take Seth to library and we are on our way to Gettysburg PA. We drive all afternoon to Gettysburg PA. Tomorrow after breakfast we will visit Gettysburg Park. We only have couple of hours at the Gettysburg Military Park. One of the battles of the Civil war that occurred on this site changed the course of US history. Once we got to the park we realized there were too many things we wanted to read, too many sites we wanted to visit and we did not have time. We will come back here and spend a whole day or two.

We are on the road again to John and Elise's house. My kids adore their children. They cannot wait. Now we are traveling through hills and mountains and even through the mountains. I love hills and mountains. It makes me very emotional. I absolutely love hills and mountains.

We pull in at John's driveway. Meeting of excited cousins begin. John has made a reservation at an Indian restaurant for dinner. MMMmmmm so delicious. Elise works full time from home. Some times when my health interferes with life, I too want to find a way to earn a living from home. But how?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trip to East Coast - New York

Tom drove us to Union Station at New Haven, Connecticut. This was the familiar train station he used as a child. Christian, Lizy and I will be taking a train to New York. This station is quaint. It probably was built during the era of trains as the mode of transportation. To go to New York city is bit unnerving, yet there is strange excitement.

New York, Manhattan, down town felt very much like down town Chicago except that there were at least twice as many people and a large fleet of yellow taxi cabs. It appeared that there were more cabs than ordinary cars. Could it be much dustier and dirtier than down town Chicago? Christian told me that Chicago downtown has areas that are dirty like this. We were walking a lot in the dust and in the heat (New York hit record heat of 90+ degrees that morning of early April). The dusty buildings on either side of us and a long stretch of concrete road ahead of us filled with cars and cabs. Sidewalk teamed with people so dense that you could smell the surrounding pedestrians. We stopped to buy hot dogs from street vendor. Oh what a disappointment. I always loved Chicago style hot dogs. How could they ruin taste of hot dog like this.

From the Central Train Station we were to go to our fist sight, elevated park; an elevated train track turned into a park. Once we climbed the stairways onto the elevated park, I felt warm breeze. It felt wonderful. Looking at sparse patch of greenery did not do much for me. Yet I was glad that in the midst of concrete jungle there was a walkway with greens. After a little rest, we continued on in the elevated park. Soon bushes and trees welcomed us, then many attractive benches and more dense greenery and more trees. At the end of the park, I looked down through glass wall the bustling downtown of concrete jungle and it's people and cars.

I should not judge a park by first impression...

I told Christian that I wanted to see Central Park next. Even after being at an elevated & crowded park, I wanted to experience the majesty of nature, old trees, rocks, ponds etc, yet surrounded by New York skyscrapers. (Yes I realize that Central Park is probably man made). Christian who was leading the expedition said it will be a long walk to there and we will pass Times Square and Madison Square Garden. When we arrived at Times Square, the famous land mark of Manhattan New York, my impression was busy neon lights of pictures of Hong Kong, or bustling downtown of BuSan Korea. Christian told me that this gives him impression of a busy megapolis of some city in China. There was a man dressed in just his under ware and guitar and cowboy hat. Christian said "That is New York naked cowboy. He was very famous many years ago. He is still around. He could be the same guy." Many women were in line to take pictures with him. I guess that is how he made living.

When we finally reached Central Park, it was getting dark already yet light enough for me to see what could be breath taking beauty. I imagined away all the garbage that was overflowing from visits of humanity during day hours. I saw the early morning before any crowd comes to this park, the serenity and peace that calmed anxious souls. Everything about it was grand; the trees, the water, the rocks...and the park seemed to go on & on and somewhere far away you could see tops of tall buildings. I would love to come back here and enjoy this early in the morning.

We spent the whole day and into the late evening, visiting shops and enjoying all the bustle of the infamous New York. Meanwhile Tom had dinner with Seth in quiet Middletown Connecticut.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trip to East Coast - Lunch with Gifford & Jane

We were talking about where to visit in New York. This morning Tom told us that he did not want to go to New York. He wanted to stay back in the hotel with Sammy (our little dog) and tomorrow would be a good day for an outing to NY if we wanted to visit. I was profoundly disappointed. I was debating whether I should go there without Tom. Well it will be our adventure.

What to do for today...(We did not plan out anything for this trip)and Seth was very occupied with his classes. I called Gifford, Tom's oldest brother. He just got laid off from his job as a carpenter so he and his wife is able to see us today. Jane prepared a quick last minute lunch but it was wonderful. We ate and talked as if we had all the time in the world. We went out to their yard and Jane showed me of all her plants and vegetation.

Tom, Christian, Gifford, and Lizy were very much involved in their conversation. Jane and I talked about our life, our marriage of 30 years...we both were married that long. I got to know Jane more this time than ever before. We talked about coming out again and going on a hike with them.

During our visit, Henna called us en route to Croatia and Seth texted us that he does not have time today until 10 pm. He got excited when we told him that we will meet him at 10pm and go out for a snack.

At 5pm we drove to a scenic river bridge at down town Hartford. River walk was created at 2nd floor level. There were Plaza, blooming trees, flowers, grass and shrubbery along manicured walks. So pleasant on this lonely path. How could such a location in downtown Hartford be empty of humanity? We were the lone family breathing in all the beauty. Tom said, well they just had a flood, and it's Monday evening. Somehow that did not seem like a satisfactory explanation.

Christian is taking a lot of creative pictures. He is really enjoying our travel. Then we drove on to a dream shop (Cabela's sport & goods). Gifford said it was like a museum. You could see all the stuffed animals and .... If you hunt, this is your place to be. I stayed behind to jot down the last 3 days events...

Seth took us to a Greek diner after 10pm. We ordered a dish of appetizer for 2 and Seth ordered a sandwich. Oh my... we had so much food left over, it seemed like Seth will be supplied with food for next day. It was fun. I commented of how I love to have all my children together, well minus Henna. By now I was thoroughly exhausted. Tomorrow will be a full day in New York ...without Tom.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trip to East Coast - To Middletown CT

At 10 Am we drove to Middletown CT. We stopped at a Chinese fast food place for lunch. I know Tom did this to make me happy (I always prefer Asian food). Unfortunately the food were less than satisfactory. We nibbled at it and packed it for later use (hopefully it will taste better.)

Once we reached Seth's campus, we hiked up to a hill, a cemetery. Some tombstones dated back to 1700s and 1800s. My active imagination went to work as I looked at the names of the deceased and their family and extended family.

When Seth got out of his class, we all went to his apartment. It was so good to see him. His roommates hung around to chat with us a bit. Due to time constraint on Seth's part, we opted to eat our left overs today. The food tasted better. Probably hunger factor did it.

Seth wanted us to trim his hair which I did and visited with him as long as we could. We will take him out tomorrow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Trip to East Coast - Stop at Ohio

The plan was to have everything ready and leave by 8:00 am. On Friday night I came home after 10pm from work and very little was done to prepare.

Our first stop would be in Cleveland for the Easter conference for afternoon meeting which would continue the next morning. On Sunday afternoon we would meet Patricia and Tom at their house for lunch. Tim and Christy Barker with their little baby Sophia came to see us. Julie gave us big hugs and updated us about so many exciting things happening in her life. The weather was beautiful. I realized it is these moments that I must capture and treasure. It is relationships that must be fostered. Relationships can be so fragile, broken by just being so busy with life.

We had wonderful time just talking... of what is happening in our lives. Julie is in the midst of changing jobs. She is looking forward for an interview in South Africa for humanitarian organization. Tim got a new job as a mechanic for airplane upkeep and repair. He seems to be at a very happy stage in life, a secure job and a new family. After lunch we viewed photos of the kids when they were toddlers (Tom is capturing the negatives onto digital format). Where did time go? A day well spent and memory captured.

During our drive oh about 7 hours to Scranton PA, Henna and Andrija found a way to still buy our home in Chicago through land contract...I hope it will work.