When friendship trumps light…

A room with a view -- even at 3:30 a.m.

A hotel room with a view — early morning in downtown Denver.

Dear Diana,

When I awakened at 3:30 a.m. Colorado time, my first thought was that I was glad you weren’t here. I turned on the light, made some coffee, wrote for awhile, went for a workout, and then came back and got ready for the day. No tiptoeing, no making coffee in the dark, no hiding in the bathroom, no steaming up the bathroom with an early shower and, thus, eliminating it as an office, no having to resort to positioning myself by the tiny crack of light emitting from the slightly ajar bathroom door while I lamented my frugal choice of a laptop with a non-backlit keyboard.

But, then again, I also had no you.

(For the record, I had the same “… early to rise” difficulty when I roomed with Brittany while attending a conference in Texas. Apparently, you both need more beauty sleep than I do. :) Last year, of course,  I referred to myself as an “old fogey” because of my early bird tendencies, so I have long considered myself the one with issues. When rooming alone, however, they are less reprehensible.)

I had flown to Denver — a mere ten hour flying and waiting adventure laced with too much sitting — for a conference on technology transfer (where I also would sit). [Please tell Brittany I did not have to get frisked on this flight -- just had my purse confiscated (and then returned when the guard found and removed the water bottle that was in it)  I thought I could take a sealed bottle with me; I am learning TSA rules quite slowly, apparently.] Thankfully, a colleague and I were on the same flights, and so the flying and waiting were less traumatic. (The sitting was not. My back is still complaining.) Knowing I would be staying in a hotel room alone was the light at the end of the traveling tunnel. I could be completely selfish, go to bed when I wanted, snore if I couldn’t help myself, and, more important, turn the lights on without any thought to someone else’s beauty sleep. I knew that the two-hour time difference would come into play for my timely body — hence the 3:30 a.m. awakening.

It was a luxury — traveling for business and having my own room, despite a female colleague also attending. I positioned my long body at a diagonal on the king-sized “heavenly” bed, slept like a rock until 3:30 a.m., and then found I was wide awake. And though you weren’t here, I found myself thinking of you.

  • The drive to Orlando — with you in the driver’s seat, since you claimed I would drive too slow.
  • Our adventures in the mall attached to our hotel, where I — the fair-skinned girl with light brown hair and blue eyes — was completely out of place in a sea of olives, browns, and blacks. You trying to nonchalantly shoot our photo with the mall population in the background to record how foreign this white girl appeared in her native country.
  • The morning I spent in darkness — in part because of the Daylight Savings time change my body refused to embrace and in part because I truly am an old fogey.
  • The time in the accreditation workshop (“accrediTation,” say it correctly now) — lost in a conference of public school system acronyms but surrounded by fellow Christian school employees, so obviously God-ordained to sit with us, who pointed us in the right direction.
  • (Did I ever thank you for joining with me in the accreditation training process?)
  • The laughter, the joy, the sharing of a year well spent teaching and leading the school onward and upwards — in so many ways. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you.
  • Our designations as Lucy and Ethel or Ethel and Lucy, depending on the day’s shenanigans.
  • And the cans of Coke we shared before the company began its “Share a Coke with  ___” campaign.

I miss you.

Thank you for being a friend who can share my early mornings (albeit with eyes closed) and not hold it against me.

Trust me, I am happy to travel without sharing a room, and I know that God has led me to my new job and these new friendships exactly at this time. I am getting to know other people and enjoying the process. It is a blessing. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look back with an acute feeling of thankfulness for our friendship — and miss the day-to-day bonding as we shared drop-off duties and office space and the trials and joys of teaching and administrating at school.

Way back in my Girl Scout days, I had painted a plaque for my mother that read: “Make new friends, keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” It hung for years on our walls and its message hangs forever in my heart.

You, my friend, are gold. And just for the record, if I had to choose only between the ability to turn on the light at 3:30 a.m. while on a business trip or spending more time with you, I’d choose you and reside in the dark.

Of course, I’d probably record the experience in a blog post…

And I should probably thank you for not minding that, either.



P.S. Silly photos follow. :)


I shot a photo of you as you shot a photo of me. Silly girls!


Ah.... one of the photo attempts at the mall.

Ah…. one of the photo attempts at the mall.


Our final graduation service together…. and our first as administrators. One of our ever-respectful graduates photo bombing and Erin, our fellow administrator, in the middle.


Older graduation photo… before we were administrators, clearly, as we chose not only to sit by each other but also to sit with Brittany (who is behind me) on the stage. We were asking for trouble! :)

Sara: Don’t call Mom at work…

A selfie of my mother and I on my last visit.

A selfie of my mother and I on my last visit. Not exactly flattering, but I’m glad I have it.

I made the mistake of calling my mother. I was on my lunch break from work; she was safely ensconced in her memory care facility where she receives great care but continues to lose her memory. I paced a shady sidewalk while I conversed with her. By the time I hung up and reached for the door to my office building, I thought, “I’ve lost her already,” and then had to fight back the tears that were so close. I know these phone calls are not about me, but just then my emotions felt differently. I want my mommy. The one I remember. The one who doesn’t remember me.

I hate Alzheimer’s Disease.

I had eaten my lunch quickly so I would have time to speak to my mother.

“Barbara,” I heard the worker say, “you have a phone call. It’s your daughter.”

I could hear my mother’s surprise and delight before she even got on the telephone, but I knew I would have to remind her who I was when she finally answered.


“Hi, Mom, it’s your daughter Sara,” I recited. My new normal. (My old normal was a simple “Hi, Mumsy!” — when I could assume, correctly, that she knew it was me by my voice and my term of endearment.)

“Sara?” A pause, then, “Where are you?”

I explained that I was at work, that it was my lunch break and I was calling to see how she was doing; I also named the city where I’ve lived the past nearly 30 years.

I’d say my mother gave me a blank look, but I wasn’t Skyping or Facetiming and didn’t see her face. But her voice was blank. I could tell what I was saying wasn’t registering with her, and while she sounded congenial and delighted, my mother didn’t know who I was.

Often, when I tell her who I am and where I am, she asks me questions. This time, she wasn’t trying to get her bearings and remember. She didn’t ask what has become her usual repertoire:

“Oh, how long have you been there?”

“What are you doing there?”

“Do you have any children?”

“Five? Wow. That’s incredible. You’re wonderful.”

My mother had five children herself, and she never thought herself wonderful; it was simply a blessing. I am her youngest, the one my siblings call “the favorite.” The one most like my mother in temperament; she and I became fast friends when I became an adult. I considered her my best friend, my confidante.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a trial Toastmasters meeting. (Funny, that. My mom was a Toastmaster when I was a girl; I always thought she was THE Toastmaster.) During the “extemporaneous speaking” part of the meeting, when a topic is introduced and a person selected to speak on that topic immediately after, one member announced a topic that I have been rehearsing mentally ever since:

“If you had all the resources in the world, what disease would you cure and why?”

My first thought, surprisingly, was Ebola, since that is the current hot spot in the news. But my second was my mother and the forecast for Alzheimer’s Disease. This is the speech I’ve been rehearsing ever since I wasn’t called on to speak in front of a large group of strangers:

“Hello, my name is Sara Dagen, and I would seek a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. My mother suffers from the disease — and though my siblings and I don’t have it, we suffer too. My mother is quickly forgetting — us — along with everything else. It is painful to lose a loved one before she dies a physical death. I want my mother back, and that demands a cure for this disease.

Lately, I’ve been reading several books — among them Grain Brain, The Perfect Health Diet, The Coconut Oil Miracle.  These books indicate to me that poor diet and lack of exercise may be a better harbinger of Alzheimer’s Disease than genetics. To avoid the disease, avoid gluten and all grains. Eat more fat, especially coconut oil, in addition to meat and potatoes and fruit and vegetables. Enjoy exercise daily. And then live long and prosper — with a brain that remembers. Of course, hearing that “diet and exercise” weighs more than “genetics” is exactly what I want to hear for my own sanity. That means I can prevent Alzheimer’s from touching my brain. But that verdict doesn’t help people who are already so far along the disease’s path that diet and exercise choices won’t make enough of a difference.

So while there may be a preventative for Alzheimer’s, for now we have no cure. And so we lose the ones we love — while they are still living. But if I had all the knowledge and all the resources in the world, I would cure Alzheimer’s. Today.”

Screenshot_2014-10-21-14-30-11editedThat was just a mental rehearsal — I didn’t get chosen and so did not get up and speak extemporaneously. It also was wishful thinking; I don’t have the power to cure my mother or anyone else who is suffering. And I doubt I could have given that little speech without adding a few spontaneous “boo hoos” to the non-scripted speech.

After all, I can barely muster a phone call without tears.

My phone call to my mother lasted a mere 6 minutes, 23 seconds, certainly a record for brevity for us. Just saying goodbye usually takes us about 6 minutes. But after the initial introduction, my mother asked me when I was coming to visit, and seemed delighted when I suggested November — even though she thought it was currently summertime. It seemed she was jotting down notes on a calendar of sorts, but she asked me to send her a confirmation. I attempted to ask her how she was, but she addressed me quite impersonally and said, “Thank you so much for calling.” That was all.

Except for the pain.

And just for the record, I do want my mom back.

In the meantime, let me write a note to self: Sara, don’t call Mom on your lunch break. 


Blame it on busy…

dear betty jo

For the past month, I have been reminding myself that my mother-in-love’s birthday is coming soon. I had October 5 in my head. The thought of Betty Jo would pass through my brain, along with the word “birthday,” and I would briefly contemplate what I wanted to do to make it special. And how much time I had to get or make the gift and still get it to her on time.

Despite my loving thoughts, I failed. Somehow any time I wrapped my mind around thoughts of Betty Jo + birthday, I managed to have my hands wrapped around work or other things I deemed absolutely necessary. But Sunday morning, October 5, I mentioned to my husband that it was my mother-in-love’s birthday and that I was going to call. At least I could wish her a happy birthday and have a lovely conversation.

Later that afternoon, still encompassed with laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping to make sure I was ready for Monday morning’s shotgun start to the work week, I still hadn’t called.

“Have you called Betty Jo yet?” my husband asked, when he got home from work. (Betty Jo is Steve’s first mother-in-law; it’s a bit complicated. His first wife died too young; like Steve, I too had been widowed when he and I met. Betty Jo — always Betty Jo by name to me — and her crazy, beloved husband Tom began calling me their “daughter-in-love” and thus was born a relationship of love. I count myself truly blessed.

I stopped what I was doing and made the call. When I heard Betty Jo’s voice, I suddenly felt a bit hesitant.


“Hello, Betty Jo, this is Sara” I said, “Errr… happy birthday?!”

“Well, you’re a bit early, but thank you!”

Ever gracious, my mother-in-love.

Why do I have October 5 in my brain as her birthday? Did I miss someone else’s birthday? Is there an app for this? Would I pay more attention to it than I have any other tool at my disposal?

When she told me her birthday was Monday, October 13, I felt embarrassed but relieved — and said:

“Great! Now I have another week to get a card in the mail” and then went into my explanations about how I’d been thinking of her birthday for weeks and still managed to not do anything about it.

What is wrong with me?

I love this woman. She has blessed the lives of me, my husband, and my children beyond measure through the 20 years I have known her and their lives before that. She certainly deserves more than a passing thought or a failed intention with a follow-up phone call.

Despite the week’s reprieve and the embarrassment of the early birthday greetings, the thoughts of making her jewelry or finding the perfect gift or at least sending a card, I failed once again.

I blame it on busy. Despite not teaching, I live a shoe-horn life — where I have to fit everything perfectly into little time slots and still use a shoehorn to get all the tasks completed. Is this just how Americans live? Or is it a character flaw? Is it a lack of time management or a misplaced value system? I am not sure, but I don’t like it.

Does anyone else have this issue? Or a way to fix it?

Betty Jo, happy on-time birthday! Next year, I will attempt to turn my thoughts into action. You definitely deserve more! I love you!



Later this morning, as I was enjoying some coffee and Scripture, I found that my One Year Bible’s Proverbs reading for the day included this: “A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain” (Proverbs 25:14). Message received.

The power of a T-shirt…

2014-10-04 10.54.20editedI am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, but I do prefer to dress fashionably — in clothes that flatter — rather than dress expressively — in clothes that bear a message.

Which might be the reason wearing a bright pink, men’s large T-shirt with the message “Fight for Jill!” made such an impression.

One of my co-workers has Stage 4 breast cancer, and she is fighting for her life. Her second bout with the disease is far worse, far more extensive than her first fight four years ago. New to the office, I worked just a few days with Jill before her diagnosis, and she has been absent most days ever since. So I can’t say I really know her, although I have tried to stay updated on her battle: radiation, chemo, and a myriad of complications. She is obviously well loved by her co-workers who do know her well. Wanting to do something to show my support, I joined with others in my department by paying a small donation for a T-shirt. The goal was to collect money so she and her family could manage a family vacation before the treatments began, but doctors urged immediate medical action, and so that vacation is on hold.

When I got the T-shirt, I hung it on the wall near my desk, as I had noticed others doing — letting it remind me and others to think of Jill. Yesterday, I got the “FYI” email indicating that today was pink shirt day to encourage Jill, who is out of the hospital but feeling somewhat low. The plan was to send her a photo of our group in pink so she would know we were thinking of her.

I got dressed at the health club this morning, after a pre-work workout, and the T-shirt prompted questions from a variety of friends and new friends in the locker room. I shared what I knew of Jill’s story, and the women’s faces were displays of concern.

“So please pray,” I ended, “because that’s the only way I know to ‘fight for Jill.'”

Many concurred verbally that they would, and one woman got out her cell phone.

“My pastor told us about this app on Sunday,” she told me, holding her phone so I could see “Echo.” “You know how we say we’re going to pray and then often forget? This free app reminds me.”

I was so thankful to see her type in the prayer request.

As I was leaving the health club, I saw my son’s former basketball coach. He said, “Nice shirt,” and I was glad that hot pink in October, especially, communicates commitment to “breast cancer awareness.”  All I had to say was, “It’s for one of my co-workers. Please pray for Jill.” He said he would.

I was close to tears.  I left the health club, knowing I was fighting for Jill by raising up a small army of prayer warriors on her behalf and by remembering her in my own prayers. All day long, I was reminded of her need simply because I was wearing something comfortable, but out of my fashion comfort zone.

The T-shirt was larger than I thought — at least in its impact. Message received. I’m fighting for you, Jill.

A blog by any other name…

Some of the blog names of bloggers who follow my blog.

I typed in some of the blog names of bloggers who follow my blog to showcase the variety, not to offer endorsements. Just for the record, I entered the names of sites in once, without emphasizing a thing. The inexplicable algorithm of Tagxedo did the emphasizing.

My infant son left the hospital as “No Name Dagen.”

“I have to see the baby before I can name it,” my husband had insisted before this child’s birth.

Apparently, it wasn’t “name at first sight,” because we left the hospital without a decision on a name for our baby boy. In fact, it seemed to take days of voiced ideas and rejections before we agreed on Adam John: the first because our second son suggested sharing his middle name, Adam; the second to honor my father, John.

My aptly named son, now 18, expresses his disappointment that I didn’t fall for his father’s suggestion: “Let’s name him ‘Gunther’ and call him ‘Gun’ for short.” (This from a man who proposed to me after asking, “Would you like to see my gun collection?” I should not have been surprised. When he returned from “getting his guns” with a small box in one hand and then got down on one knee to ask me to marry him, I was too afraid to say no — even though the box held a ring, not a miniature weapon.That’s my story, and I’ve stuck with it for nearly 20 years so far.)

But Adam didn’t choose his name — nor, I would purport, has any infant. But we can choose our online identities.

Nearly daily, I get updates on who has decided to follow my blog, and the names of these fellow bloggers intrigue me. Some bloggers are clearly following me to aid their business — with names like “Pharmaceutical Marketing Companies,” “Easy Finance,” and “Bad Credit Instant Loan.” (Forgive me for not quite understanding how following me can help them, especially when their sites seem to be missing when I go looking. Are they trying to sell something?) Others begin following me because I’ve posted on a specific topic — Zumba or yoga or baseball or running or parenting parents or parenting children or teaching or learning or saying goodbye or … or at least their names seem to reflect that and they choose to follow me soon after I’ve posted on a subject.

Some by name seem like logical followers of mine — “Godinterest,” “Iron Buttz” (ha!), “Taking the Mask Off,” “Mount Zion Radio,” “God’s Principle,” “The Happy Lifeaholic,” and many others… although sometimes the name doesn’t reflect the blog content — or at least what the name brings to my mind. Other names make me wonder how they ever stumbled across my blog or why they chose to follow me — you can probably look at the Tagxedo word art above and guess with me.

Some blog names are simply interesting enough to make me want to check them out to see what they are really all about…. These are just a sampling: “Mike’s Boredom” a blog proclaiming “where motivation goes to die.” “Crazy Letters from Grandma,” so far with just a few entries but definitely worth the read. “Dramatic Toothbrush” with its amazing photos and occasional, thought-provoking text. “Modern Jane Jetson” with her eclectic mix of recipes, beauty tips, photography, and written takes on life. “Imodium Abuser” with his hilarious — and frightening — tales of Imodium dependence and his goal to be the face of diarrhea. And heart-touching “Beneath the Smiles” who shares her struggles with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and a host of mental health issues, including cutting.

Because fellow bloggers have chosen to follow me, I’ve visited sites I may have never discovered. Their names are the biggest draw — or sometimes the strongest repellent. I find it interesting, in my perusal through my list of followers, that many are nominal bloggers, bloggers in name only. Those sites are merely the prefabricated WordPress theme left wholly unedited or an error message indicating the site has been deleted.  Others have written a few posts or offered a few photos — and then stopped. Numerous others — like me — are committed to contributing to this blogosphere and we regularly publish the offerings of our minds and hearts.

In the Bible, people were named for a reason. If something changed, they got a new name. Simon, for instance, became Peter, which means “rock,” because Jesus told him, “On this rock, I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).

I called my blog “Sound Off” at a friend’s suggestion; the story is on my “About” page. But what’s in a blog name, really? Is it just the hook that draws us in? William Shakespeare declared that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In reality, I may visit a blog because of the name, but it is the content that keeps me reading or returning or makes me click “Follow.”

When I first started considering this post, I was wondering what God would call His blog if He wrote one. What is the name of His online presence? Surely, since He is omnipresent, He is in the blogosphere… Right? Do I visit? Do I keep reading and returning and click “Follow”?

Maybe He is present the same way He was present in the story of the Sheep and the Goats, as told in Matthew 25:31-46: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. … [and] Truly I tell you, whatever you didn’t do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (25:40, 45).

Maybe. I know God cares about names. He has a bunch of them. Unlike my son, Jesus was named before He was born: Emmanuel, God with Us. Actually, he was named before He was conceived: Wonderful. Counselor. Almighty God. The Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace. He was called many names, including the Word, the Word of God, the Word of Life.

And as a lover of words, I love that He is the Word. I love that He cares about names. I suspect He cares about blog names, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that He cares for the bloggers.

My son, for only a short time called No Name Dagen, simply is Adam John. He (jokingly, I think) tells me he is disappointed we didn’t name him Gunther, nicknamed “Gun,” and I suggest (jokingly, I know) he work out his biceps a bit more and earn his “guns.”  When we left the hospital with this 7 pound, 10 ounce baby, we could have called him anything but could agree on nothing. Now Adam John seems to be a perfect fit — even if he has guns. :)


Thursday night. Minutes after I published my post, I got an email from my niece, who is spending four months in Chile teaching for the first time of her life. In honor of the occasion, she has begun blogging; she shared her link to her site and it is beautiful! I am so proud (and somewhat jealous). Check out Wanderblonde, and you will see what I mean. I can’t figure out how to follow her, but I have definitely asked…. Yes. New name: Proud Aunt Sara.




The circle of praise…

circle of praise blog


My son just got offered a promotion. It would mean working more hours in a congested city away from those he loves, but he is proud of the offer and should be. In his case, a promotion means a significant raise and a leadership role in his profession. It is a vote of confidence, a round of applause, a hat’s off, and any other idiom that means “good job!” His company is offering him praise in a tangible way.

And a chance to get his parents’ affirmation.

He called both my husband and me to give us the news individually. He then visited us at home and gave us more details. It was THE topic of conversation through the weekend. Why? In addition to our advice, my son wanted our praise.

Likewise, my youngest son, knowing that his older brother was coming to visit, casually placed his last two trophies earned on the coffee table. In May, he had been awarded “Best Pitcher” from the varsity baseball coach; the next day he was named “Best Actor” for his role as the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast.”

He has since graduated from high school and begun college, but he thought enough of those accolades to get them from his bedroom and place them conspicuously in the family room where they were sure to be seen.

When his older brother didn’t seem to notice them anyway, my youngest son pointed them out.

“Did you see my trophies?” he asked, as he lifted them for his brother’s inspection while explaining their significance.

“You graduated, right?” the older one said, as if the significance of these trophies had diminished with the passing of a few months.

My youngest had just wanted his brother’s affirmation. I’m not sure he got it.

This week at work, the Marketing Associate began sending emails to celebrate the number of inventions that our office had licensed or optioned. My job is creating marketing campaigns for those inventions, and I was curious as to whether our marketing campaigns had influenced the various companies’ decisions to purchase the licenses to market our inventors’ ideas. Part of my desire to know is just good business: Does marketing make a difference? Is the paper campaign effective or are we attracting more potential licensees via our online efforts and social media?

But part of me wanted credit. I wanted at least the personal knowledge that my efforts had contributed to the numbers marking our company’s success. I wanted praise.

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Dear new golden sick days…

Sick days, sick days

Dear new golden sick days

Sniffling and sneezing and hacking cough

Kept me at home on a rare day off.

Were I a teacher I’d go to work

Share all my germs, make my illness worse.

But the job I have now I can duty shirk

Without hurting a classroom of kids.

– (my revised, working girl version of the 1907 song “School Days”)

My current list of home remedies: coconut oil in lukewarm orange juice, hot tea with raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon, and Zicam.

My current list of home remedies: coconut oil in lukewarm orange juice; hot tea with raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon; and Zicam spray.

Yesterday I went to work even though I felt terrible. My head was aching, my throat was sore, and I knew I was battling something. But I had an afternoon meeting I didn’t want to reschedule, and I knew I could muscle through the day with a little help from ibuprofen and friends. My symptoms weren’t visually apparent, and I tried to keep mostly to myself so as not to share the joy. But when I mentioned to my supervisor that I was feeling a bit under the weather, she said, “Go home!”

I didn’t, but it struck me that I could.

I am a technical editor with eight hours of work daily. I get to work early and sometimes scrimp on my personal lunch hour because I like to get work done. But I have generous deadlines, an equally generous, perpetual pile of work, and I leave work daily knowing I did the best I could and that I can take up tomorrow where I left off today.

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Sincerely selfie…

I was hastily looking through my post-high school photo albums searching for a picture of me when I first wore glasses. Apparently, I wasn’t that proud of my bespectacled look, for I never found one. But what I did find, not surprisingly, was a “selfie” or, rather, an “usie” (a selfie for two):

2014-09-11 17.47.17

This photo includes me (at a slightly younger age) on a date with my beloved Bill. (My first husband died of complications from ulcer surgery at age 25, too few years after we shot this precious selfie while on a date.) We had too few photo opportunities — as we mostly dated long-distance via cards and letters and infrequent, expensive phone calls and even less frequent, expensive visits — and, though we had the occasional friend or stranger shoot a photo of us in those cherished moments together, we often resorted to selfies, our cheek to cheek “usies.”

Just looking at this photo and its caption brought back the precious memories — but it also made me laugh at myself. Not only was I happy to be in the photo with Bill (who became my husband), clearly I also was proud of my ability to shoot such a photo, for I included the “secret” of the shot in my caption. (I should have patented it. Obviously, more people have looked through my photo album than I thought.)

The photo was shot in the late 1980s, back in the days when a camera’s lens only pointed away from you. (Why do I feel the need to explain this?) If you were using the viewfinder on the camera, you were not shooting a photo of yourself. If you were shooting a photo of yourself, you were not framing the shot by anything but guesswork.  This was so long ago that we used film; we had no idea what we’d shot (or the quality of the shot) until we developed the film. This was also before such luxuries as one-hour photo developing, or at least before one-hour photo developing became affordable. 

The funny thing?

Though I shot this photo back in the ’80s, I didn’t put it in an album until 10 years later… and I still thought shooting a selfie unique and unknown enough to include the “how to.” Just ten years after that I would be putting together my daughter’s life album as a high school graduation present — and find I had to make it a two-volume tome because she had so many selfies of herself alone and with friends to fit within the pages. The first fourteen years of her life were in one album; her high school (and selfie) years were in another the same size.

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Sara Beara, not Yogi Berra…

Yogi Berra quote with background 2editedSara Beara.

That may be the first time I have typed that term of endearment, occasionally bestowed on me (and likely many other Saras or Sarahs the world over). But it never stuck. One of my nephews, when he was learning to talk, called me “S’ra,” which his mother then affectionately used for me at times. One of my nieces called me “ReeRa” before she could pronounce my name. But no nickname ever stuck.

Certainly no nickname that included “Yogi.”

That was reserved for baseball player Yogi Berra (and the cartoon character Yogi Bear, which led to a defamation lawsuit against creators Hanna-Barbera, later dropped when the producers declared the name similarity a coincidence. I have a niece named Hannah Barbara, just in case the producers want to file a suit against her.)

Yogi Berra, who played for the New York Yankees for nearly two decades, was born Lawrence Peter Berra but was nicknamed Yogi because he sat like a yogi while waiting to bat or after losing a game. Many consider him to be the best catcher ever, and he also had amazing stats out in the field and at bat. After playing ball from 1946-1965 and spending time coaching, Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.  Since Yogi played his last game of baseball before I was born, I admit I was more familiar with Yogi Bear than Yogi Berra, but my Bing commercial moment during yoga class this week — and the subsequent search that followed — has left me fascinated with this player.

This was my computer search engine overloaded brain at work during yoga (and, yes, I know I am supposed to be “completely present” and a mere spectator of those thoughts when practicing yoga). My train of thought:

  • I hate yoga. Why? Because whatever we do on one side, we will do to the other. It’s like the Golden Rule for exercise. “Do unto the left side what you did unto the right.” I personally hate knowing that something difficult on the right side has to be repeated on the left. “It’s like deja vu all over again.” Who said that?
  • [Breathe and focus, Sara. That is the key to yoga.] I hate yoga. Yoga. Yogi. Yogi Bear. Yogi Berra. Sara Beara. Nicknames. Sara Yogi Beara. Like never ever. Was Yogi Berra his real name? Yogi Berra. Yogi Bear. “Hey, now, Boo Boo…”

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Four eyes or why I see clearly…

12 photos in glasses“How many pairs do you have now?” my friend Connie asked me.

(She hadn’t noticed I was wearing a new pair of glasses until I mentioned them.)

I had gotten this pair the day before in the mail. The mail, you ask? Yes. I “tried on glasses” via a website, where I uploaded my photo, looked intently at frame specs (ha! see what I did there?), and made a decision — after deliberating for two months.

This is the fifth — and, my husband hopes, last — pair of glasses I have ordered online for my current prescription. Five. For me. In just over one year. I know, it sounds rather ridiculous that a person would need that many glasses. Four should be enough, right? The everyday pair, the polarized sunglasses, and a pair of reading (computer) glasses for home and a pair for work.

It’s just that the pair I originally chose for everyday use kept stretching out of shape and threatening to fall off my face if I looked down or sweated, which I make a practice of doing, apparently. I wanted a pair of beautiful, light, strong, hypoallergenic stainless steel frames that would flatter my face and hold up to the wear and tear my klutzy self likely will deal them.

I think I got them.

Stainless steel frames with progressive, no-line bifocal lenses that are photochromatic and have a premium oleophobic anti-reflective coating for a mere $136.26 shipped to my mailbox in two weeks or less. Zenni, you should hire me to advertise for you.)

Stainless steel frames with progressive, no-line bifocal lenses that are photochromatic and have a premium oleophobic anti-reflective coating for a mere $136.26 shipped to my mailbox in two weeks or less. Zenni, you should hire me to advertise for you.)

Actually, I know I got them. I have been wearing them.

My first full day with the glasses, I walked the stairs at work — which I do often to relieve my back from the torment of sitting in front of a computer all day — and then slipped outside to walk for a few minutes, smiling because I was so silly.

“Did you just go outside and walk after climbing the stairs?” the receptionist asked me when I returned. He was utterly amazed, of course, at my physical prowess.

I then confessed the purpose of my mini jaunt to the outside world:  I just wanted to test my photochromatic lenses. The lenses are so clear when I’m inside I was afraid the manufacturer had made a mistake and sent me regular lenses. But to my delight, they turned dark outside in the sunlight (I took them off in the sun to check; I wanted to see their darkness rather than just see through their darkness) and became clear swiftly when I returned inside.

Amazing technology. I am not going to throw away my polarized sunglasses, mind you, but I will keep them in my car instead of my purse, trusting the photochromatic lenses to get me to and from the parking lot. No more awkward transitioning from one pair of glasses to another when walking from sunlight into store light. No more awkward wearing of sunglasses in the grocery store because I forgot my regular glasses in the car.

When I first started wearing glasses, I could see without them. Now, twenty years later, not so much. Just last week I had to have a friend open my locker at the health club when I returned from the shower, sans eyeglasses, because I couldn’t see the numbers on the combination lock. As much as I hate wearing glasses, I love being able to see.

Just this week I read a blog post by Alicia Bruxvoort in which she admitted rifling through her craft supply closet and using her hot glue gun to attach “googly eyes” and “wobbly watchers” to the salsa jar and the milk jug, tissue box, egg carton, and tubes of toothpaste. She wasn’t pulling a prank on her family; she was merely reminding herself that God was watching.

 For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

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