Wednesday, April 16, 2014


After noting, last week, that I haven't gotten a cold this winter, when I have been surrounded by folks with colds and flu, of course I was hit hard yesterday. My throat hurt so much I swear I could feel strep creeping across the back of it like lava. 

Blessed to have sick days, I took off yesterday afternoon, and stayed in bed most of the next 24 hours--save a quick stint to do Mom's taxes--nothing like putting things off until the last minute.

Sore throat, headache, and upset stomach is now a cough and since snot is gross, I won't tell you about the snot. But the garbage can next to my bed is full to the top with tissues.

I also have a fever. At least, in my mind, I have a fever. My body temperature rarely tags up to 97 degrees, and it is often less than 96. Normally, it is, instead of a normal 98.6 degrees, 96.8 degrees. (My temperature is dyslexic.) Therefore, when I get sick and my temperature spikes to 98-something, I declare myself feverish.

 We are constantly advised to listen to our own bodies, but my insistence that, say, a 99-degree temp closer to a 3-degree spike for me than it is the normal .4-degree fever, falls on deaf ears in the doctor's office. Nurses and doctors have a hard-and-fast rule for what constitutes a fever, and it's downright irritating to hear that I don't have one when I feel so lousy. And hot. 

Irritating for one reason: Everyone knows that a fever is proof that you're sick.

No fever, no sympathy.

Well. Shut it. My temperature is 97.6 degrees right now, which is 2 degrees warmer than it was at 3:00 this afternoon. I am burning up, and if I want to feel sorry for myself, I can.

Poor baby.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Universal Laughter

Last night we attended the 70th birthday of Erica, our son-in-law's mother, in St. Louis. Erica is originally from Germany, and there were 3 family members from her hometown that flew in for the party, to join 40 or so more of us in celebration. There were 2 sisters that knew no English, and 1 nephew, who is fluent in both English and German. (These tidbits crucial later in this story.)

First of all, those 3 sisters spent all day Friday preparing authentic German food for this party. You know, you can find good food in a lot of places. You cook good food, you go out for good food, there is abundant good food, if you want it. But THIS food—this homemade rouladen (thinly cut flank steak, filled with I-don't-even-know-what and then rolled up and baked, and this homemade spaetzle, with nectar-of-the-gods brown gravy ladled over it—THIS good food brought us all to our knees.

An amazing meal, that if I had one wish for you, we could get them together to cook again, and you will be there to taste it.

Clint's daughter Jen made the cake(s) and created beautiful flower arrangements, cleverly placing the bouquets in Oktoberfest steins.

We sang happy birthday, passed cake around, and then retired to the deck on a beautiful night, drinking beer and wine, and gathering into a closer, tighter ring as the guests meandered home. By 11:00 or so, it was just close family left, and story time began. By then we were only about a dozen, and, mentioned earlier, most of us English-speakers only, with 2 speaking German, and 2 capable of acting as interpreters.

Everyone kept up at first, but as one story sparked another, they began coming faster and faster, and our interpreters could not keep up. Margo and Kate began telling a story in German, both of them laughing and screaming so hard that they could't get their breath. Our interpreters also began laughing so hard they couldn't interpret, and what do you think the rest of us did? 

The rest of us laughed along so hard that we had tears falling down our cheeks, that's what we did. We couldn't understand a single word, but the laughter was so contagious, and the realization that we didn't understand what was so funny in the first place...oh lord, we just laughed until our guts ached. It got even funnier when Erica tried to explain it all, but began mixing languages: she began telling the entire story in German again.

Laughter is indeed, universal.

That point was brought home when Erica walked right into the screen door, and then 15 minutes later, I did the same dang thing. Germans and Americans alike think that's pretty dang funny. Boy, it's a shocker when you think you're going through a doorway, but you don't, not at all. I hit that door so hard that my wine splashed out, and was all stuck dripping down the screen to make everyone laugh even harder.

Man, it was beautiful evening. Gathering with friends and family, and so much love surrounding everyone that not even a bit of a language barrier couldn't stop us.