It began with an eye appointment. Well, if you want to be REALLY specific, it began with me LEAVING my eye appointment to head home, clean my apartment, eat a quick dinner, and then go to my weekly advanced swim lesson.
Every August like clockwork, I go to see eye doctor for a routine check on my eyeballs. I never really thought too much about my vision until over five years ago when I woke up to feeling like my eyeball was getting squeezed to death. The diagnosis was an ingrown eyelash that was scratching against my cornea. Who knew that a tiny piece of hair could make me want to rip my eyeball out?? My eye doctor and I have a very amicable relationship where we talk about scuba diving, swimming and, now, thanks to my kitty cat Ricky, we added cats on our list of conversational pieces.
A bright yellow exclamation point appeared on my car as soon as I started the ignition. At first I thought it was the eye drops that my doctor had given me that was making my eyesight blurry. Nope. No such luck. The truest of luck was that I was only 5 minutes away from home. Once arriving at home, I whipped out the Owner’s Manual and read that the yellow exclamation point was due to low tire pressure.
Hmm….low tire pressure, I thought. I immediately got out of the car and began to examine all the tires. None of the tires looked low or flat to me. I called my service and an impatient woman on the other line who was more than ready for closing time disagreed with me that I could have a low tire. “No,” she said adamantly, “It can’t be a flat tire. It’s probably just weather change. Come on over tomorrow and we can fill it up with air. Not today. We are about to close.”
Rain was starting to come down hard and the rumble of thunder was in the distant that made me know without a single doubt that my advanced swim less. My swim coach confirmed that in a text message so I did the next best thing to swimming: I baked. Lemon Ricotta cheesecake. It was my first time crushing graham crackers to make a graham cracker crust. It was the first time to use ricotta rather than cream cheese for a cheesecake. It was the first time making lemon ricotta cheesecake. And, yes, there are first times that can be simply amazing. So, as rain pellets fell down outside and sweat dripped down my face from the humidity and the high temperatures of the oven, I waited for my cheesecake. Leave it to me to eat rather than exercise, but I like to think that all my hard work and sweat into that cheesecake was an intense workout that I had never experienced before. It did not disappoint. I was in cheesecake heaven.
I did not think much about the low tire pressure again until I was face to face with my car and a visibly flat as a pancake tire on the driver’s side. Perhaps surprisingly, the first thing I thought about when I saw that flat tire was someone must have been watching out for me. I could have been driving out the previous night in a rainstorm to my swim class to have to deal with a flat tire in both bad weather conditions AND nighttime. But, no, it had not been that situation because my swim class had been canceled AND I had enjoyed my evening with cheesecake. On the contrary, it was a new gorgeous sunny day and my car was easily parked and planted in my parking spot for me to handle this flat tire. Without a mere pulse of panic, I called my car’s roadside assistance and spoke with a jovial gentleman by the name of Mark who clearly had his caffeine already while I did not.
“How long is it going to take?” I asked.
“About an hour.”
“An hour?” I sputtered. “I could probably get faster service with triple A.”
“Shhh….don’t say that word!!” Mark hissed.
Confused, I asked: “Why?”
“Because that’s my competitor!”
I let out a burst of laughter! I could not believe I was laughing in the midst of what some may have seen as a crisis. In less than an hour, a hulking, huge guy by the name of William came to change my tire and replace it with a “donut.” I was fascinating as he cranked up my car and removed the flat tire. I grilled him with questions about donuts, mileage, and cars out of my relentlessly curious and teetering on pain in the ass nature. He happily answered my questions. Another guy with caffeine. Then, driving diligently at 50 MPH with blinkers on (Papa Wu always says to put ‘blinkers on’ when in doubt), I drove all the way to my car dealership where I reunited with Jordan. Jordan was this cherub-faced kid in his 20’s with a toothy grin who always greeted me as “Miss Wu.” Jordan did not disappoint. I turned out that the culprit was a nail that had flattened my tire. Only one tire and NOT four tires needed repair. Almost two hours later where I was so fully caffeinated from tea that I peed at least twice, I was on my way back to work.
It took what seemed
like unfortunate events of a rainstorm and canceled swim class from the night
before to be my saving grace to stay in at home at night rather than go out and
have to deal with a flat tire. And, I
got to create and make ricotta cheesecake for the first time. It took three gentlemen (Mark, William, and
Jordan) with each of their very own expertise to get me back on the road again
from one small nail that had flattened my tire.
It took a whole morning and close to 5 hours to get everything repaired.
It took time, patience, and the right
people. It took all of this to solidify how
it takes many who have their own skills and gifts to help solve a problem
rather than be the problem and how it could have always been a worse scenario,
but turned out even better than ever. We
may not see it when we are going through it.
We may not even see it when we are looking back at it. We may never see it, but, if we do see it and
can make sense of it in the best of ways, isn’t that the greatest luck,
fortunate, and blessing of all?
It takes more than us
to be the solution to a problem. When
did you have a problem that seemed so small that actually became bigger than it
was, and required others to use their knowledge and skills to solve a
problem? When did you look back to what
could have been a much worse scenario that you managed to dodge or avoid,
because something or maybe someone was bigger was looking out for you? Do
you believe that someone or something is looking out for you?
Keep smilin’ until we
Approximately two weeks ago to this day, I tried whiskey for the first time in my life. I thought I was going to burn up in flames.
It was Jameson whiskey. Because, as my Whiskey expert friend advised me, if you are going to have whiskey then you have to have the best there is. I totally got that. To me, that is like dessert- if you are going to have dessert, then you are going to have the absolute best there is. Fat. Butter. Sugar. I get it. When that drop of whiskey liquid touched my tongue and slowly slid down my throat, a slow turning burn began to fill my entire body. Mind you, that was a sip…no, no…pretty much a drop of whiskey. The whiskey was so pungent and so infused with an earthy, rustic, and fuel-like taste that I could not tell the difference between the dancing fiery flames of the fire pit under a sky full of stars in front of me and myself.
As you can well tell, I am not much of an alcoholic beverage drinker. My first introduction to alcohol was wine coolers, and that already in itself made me quite wild because I LOVE sweet and fruity. I guzzled those down like water and would end up dizzy and sleepy. I tried a shot for the first time just five years ago. I tried vodka for the first time on my 34 birthday—I didn’t have to pay for it, so why not?? As a child of 10-years-old, I remember that my grandfather had a thing for XO Hennessey. I remember downing that so fast when my aunt gave me a small swirl that I looked down with blurry vision as to if I had withered down into a bunch of smoldering ashes. My aunt scolded me: “No, Mary, you aren’t supposed to down it like that. Not so fast. You are supposed to nurse your drinks. Gentle and slow.” Suffice to say, I go for the solid food and not the liquidated beverages when I am at a social gatherings. People offer me wine, cocktails, and even as something as simple as a sweet non-alcoholic beverage and my quip is: “I’m H20 Happy and a cheap date. H20 Please. Fill it up.”
But there was something about Whiskey.
I think it is because Whiskey was a starting point depth of conversation with a very good and close friend of mine who I went glamping/camping with two weeks ago. She promised she would bring the whiskey on our weekend trip while we meticulously checked off must items to bring, and then she suggested: “You should probably bring a sweet beverage to ‘chase’ the whiskey taste down with.” Confused, I asked: “Why does whiskey need chasing?” She laughed and said, “Well, it may be strong for you so you want to drink something after it that tames down the strength of the taste.” I was even more intrigued by whiskey then.
Under a milky midnight dark blue black sky dotted with stars that spilled over so bright that I could actually count and see them, I fulfilled three of my ‘Live List’ items: 1) Glamping/Camping, 2) Be so close to the stars that I feel like I could touch them, and 3) Drink whiskey WITH s’mores over a fire with my one and only friend who introduced me to the magic of Whiskey. But, unbeknownst to me, that weekend that I spent with my friend was laden with ventures, newness, and processes that surprised, shocked, and exhilarated me. We used a propone gas stove for the first time to make rich and cheesy Mac N’ Cheese. We walked to the greatness of waterfalls in the company of Mother Nature. I went on a see saw for the first time in my life, and realized that the soothing up and down motion could only be accomplished with my friend; You can’t have a see without a saw and a saw without a see. We grilled veggie burgers and crab cakes and toasted buns. We made our own fire with flames so high that we were in a hypnotized and mesmerized trance with our glasses of Whiskey in hand and smoldering s’mores and marshmallows coming out extra roasty toasty.
And this is where my kinship with Whiskey lies. The newness. The process.
Whiskey (perhaps like
all ‘hardcore’ and ‘strong’ drinks) requires the brutal and arduous process of
malting, mashing, stirring, grinding, fermentation, hot and high heat, distillation,
and darkness. And, most of all, time. And, even after all that time and challenging
processes, that rustic, earthy, and strong as strong can be Whiskey may not
come out as intended or hoped for. Or,
it can come out stronger than ever imagined after a most vicious and
time-consuming process. But, that is
what it is all about: The Process.
We are faced with newness
and challenges every single day that require the power of our minds to process
and then execute OR maybe not do anything.
Some newness and challenges slam us right in our face. Others creep up on us and knock us down so suddenly
that we are crawling and struggling until we can get back on our feet to walk
again. Everything/Everyone is a
process. More often than not, the process
can be hard and as hurtful as hell on earth.
It can also be another process on top of a process and even on top of
that of just when you think you are there and finally being blinded by the
light at the end of a dark tunnel that you can be sucked and brought back in to
such pain and suffering that you have to restart and rebuild to heal and fight
to come out stronger. A friend once said
to me that if a certain process is not working then you have to break certain
patterns and come up with a new process. Life requires that flexibility,
adaptability, and bending to not break. We work to be firm in our convictions and
decisions with what we are faced with in life, but to always tread gently,
carefully, patiently to trust the most difficult process. It is
about HOW you do it and the ‘HOW’ comes from our minds and how incredibly
powerful the mind is. It is about
trusting the process.
What were or are some
challenges and difficulties you can recall that required quite the
process? Have you had to break certain
patterns in order to start a new process?
Are you giving yourself time to heal and rebuild? When
were you like ‘whiskey’ of coming out stronger from an arduous and brutal process?
Keep smilin’ until we