Friday, February 21, 2014

A Debbie by Any Other Name

Can you name this yummy lunch I had in Barcelona?
Our whirlwind tour last fall of 5 European countries in 15 days began in Barcelona, Spain.

The day Spouse and I arrived with our friends Bob and Sandi, we were hungry and oh-so-tired after our 10-hour plane ride. So after checking into our hotel in the heart of the city, we snoozed a few hours then hit the sun-drenched street in search of sustenance.

We came upon a lovely little bistro exuding mouth-watering smells, so we gathered around a marker board at the entrance that listed a dozen or so lunch items.

Well, dang. They were all in Spanish. Go figure.

There were random food pictures on the walls, but we didn't know the names of anything we wanted and by reading the menu, we didn't know what any of the written names meant. So we ended up taking a stab in the dark by ordering heaven's knows what based on which words we could pronounce best. Luckily, mine turned out to be a pizza-like thing that was every bit as delicious as it looked (above).

Everyone knows you're a tourist when you start taking pictures of the food on your plate.

Names are important, aren't they? I realized just how true this is when I visited my parents' church last Sunday and my 88-year-old father introduced me to his friends by my sister's name. No doubt it wouldn't have mattered to them, but I was surprised at how much it mattered to me.

"Daddy, you only have two daughters and I'm not that one," I gently rebuked him. "I'm Debbie."
"Well, you sure are, are you?" he replied, squinting to get a better look at me. I had been sitting beside him for the entire hour-long church service.
"He's never known how old I am either," I said to Daddy's little old friends.
"How could I?" Daddy quipped back. "It changes every year."

I recently did a personal Bible study on the name of Jesus and was struck anew by just how important His name is to those of us who call Him Lord. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Jesus was given His name by an angel before He was even conceived (Luke 2:21).
  • We are gifted with eternal life by believing in the name of Jesus (John 20:31).
  • We're baptized in the name of Jesus to signify our commitment (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 19:5).
  • There's healing power in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10, Acts 4:30, Acts 16:18).
  • We find courage and boldness by using the name of Jesus (Acts 9:29).
  • People risk their lives in the name of Jesus (Acts 15:26).
  • We dedicate our lives to the name of Jesus (Acts 21:13).
  • The name of Jesus joins the hearts of believers together (1 Corin. 1:10, 1 Corin. 5:4).
  • We find grace through the name of Jesus (2 Thess. 1:12).
  • We're forgiven and remade by the name of Jesus (1 Corin. 6:11).
  • We are able to love the unlovable through the name of Jesus (1 John 3:23).

Yep. There's power in a name. Especially that name.

P.S. I'm considering investing in a silver plated name tag as a subtle reminder for my next family gathering - what do you think? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Even Dirty, Dirty People Need Valentines

Chuck and Deb enjoying a Barcelona sunset
After 35 years of marriage, you think you know everything there is to know about your spouse, right?

Nay, not so.

Why, just last week I learned something I never knew about my main man Chuck.

It happened when I walked into the bathroom to find Chuck standing there staring at the towel rack with a befuddled look on his face.

Now our towel rack is actually a free standing hat rack that we converted to towel usage because two measly little wall mounted metal bars just weren't enough. Apparently we are dirty, dirty people.

The towel rack stands in the bathroom corner draped with my two pink towels and his two brown towels. They're usually spread apart just enough for drying purposes. Usually. But not always. (Incidentally, in case you care, the point of his towels being brown is because he seldom remembers to throw them in the wash. After a while, his previous white terrycloth robe turned brown anyway, so I cleverly went ahead and bought brown towels this go round.)

I told you we were dirty, dirty people. 

Anyway, back to Chuck's conundrum as he stood there presumably watching the brown towels sprout green fuzz.

"What exactly are you doing," I asked."Teaching the towels tricks?"

"I just don't know what to do," he answered, shaking his head and stroking his silver chin hairs.

"About what?" I responded in my best trying-to-sound-interested voice. The following revelation astounded me.

"Well, I always hang my towels in the east-west positions. I use the east hook towel on odd-numbered days and the west hook towel on even-numbered days so I don't use the same one twice in a row. But today's the 9th and I took three showers yesterday, one already today and I'm about to take another. I'm just not sure which towel to use."  

Oh. Wait. What?

I can't believe I've lived with this man three and a half decades and never realized he had such a complex towel usage system. I mean, I toss my pink towels up there and they land willy-nilly wherever they may. Sometimes they even land on - GASP - another towel. The towel I choose for use next is completely random. Really, does it matter? I have two. I figure when a hole gets worn in one, I'll start using the other.

I suppose it shouldn't surprise me; I've always known we were opposites since the day we met in 1975. It was my very first day of college. I was 17 and he was 20 and he arrived just as we did in a car driven by the boyfriend of my only friend at the university.

I'll never forget it. These hunky college boys pulled into the parking space next to ours. My heart zinged at first sight of the cute fellow with long wavy hair brushing his shoulders, carrying a guitar and wearing jeans and a flannel shirt rolled up at the sleeves.

It took nearly a whole semester to make him notice me (he was, after all, a lofty senior and I was a mere baby freshman), and another month or so to reel him in for the catch. But then the rest, as they say, is history.

It's been a wild ride these 35 years and more fun than a barrel of hoppy toads.

I must say I find it exciting to keep learning new things about my husband after all these years. Can't say I've ever been bored. Now excuse me while I make a run to the store for a few new brown towels for my dirty, dirty Valentine.     

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tribute to a Legend

Karen and Richard Carpenter
This morning over my bowl of granola, I was tapping my toes as my den clock chimed one of my favorite oldies from The Carpenters, "I'm on the *(downbeat) top of the world looking *(downbeat) down on creation ..." when I came across a tiny notice in the newspaper that today is the anniversary of Karen Carpenter's death in 1983 at the age of 32.

Coming of age in the 70s as I did, the Carpenters played an enormous role in my life as the backbone of my dating life, romantic fantasies of the man of my dreams waiting out there somewhere for me, and even just fun, feel-good music to bop to with my best girlfriends in my living room while we nibbled on Sugar Babies and sipped coke floats. 

To this day, The Carpenters Christmas Album in my seasonal fave.

Somehow a tiny obscure notice doesn't seem like enough to memorialize Karen Carpenter.So I did a little research and put together a few interesting tidbits about the life of one of the most amazing honey-voiced contraltos the world has ever seen. 

  • Karen Carpenter was born 3/2/1950 and died at age 32 of heart failure related to anorexia and bulimia.
  • As a child, Karen loved playing softball as a pitcher. She continued that hobby throughout her life, pitching on the Carpenter's official softball team at the peak of their popularity in the mid-70s. 
  • Karen played drums in high school and according to her brother Richard, always considered herself a "drummer who sang." 
  • The first two albums cut by Karen and Richard had Karen singing from behind the drums. Producers finally coaxed her out front to a microphone against her will and wouldn't let her go back, replacing her with another drummer.
  • Those same producers constantly goaded her to lose weight, although she was 5'4" and weighed 1968. By 1975 she weighed 91-lbs. 
  • Karen collected Disney memorabilia and lived with her parents until she was 26.
  • She considered singers Olivia Newton-John and Dionne Warwick her besties. 
  • The Carpenters had to take a year off recording during the early 80s while Richard got his drug addiction under control.
  • Karen dated Tony Danza, Mark Harmon, Steve Martin, and Donny Osmond's older brother Alan. 
  • Desperately wanting to have children by age 30, Karen was married for 14 months to a real-estate developer who hid the fact from her that he'd had a vasectomy.
  • After a slight decline in their popularity (largely because they'd disappeared from the limelight due to Richard's drug problem), by 1982 Karen and Richard were working hard on a comeback when Karen suddenly died of heart failure at her parents' home. Her death brought about increased public awareness about the dangers of eating disorders, which were largely unheard of at the time.
Who were your entertainment heroes growing up? I'd love to hear some of your happy memories!