I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Death of a Waterbed

Back in 1991, I won a sizable gift certificate to a local furniture store for having perfect attendance at work. I knew exactly what I was going to get. I raced out to the furniture store the next day and purchased a waterbed.

Don't laugh. They were popular back then. And I'd wanted one for quite a while. So, I finally got one and I loved it. It was comfortable. My cat loved it. And for the past 16 years, it served me well.

A couple of nights ago, the heating coil died. Don't tell my bed this, but I'd been thinking about replacing her anyway. My 40 year-old back isn't what it used to be and I'm thinking that a waterbed probably isn't the best thing for a bad back.

I'm sure I could have found a used heating coil somewhere, but I'd still have to drain the bed, put the new heating coil in place, and re-fill the bed. That doesn't sound real appealing to me though. So, I decided it was time to let her go.

I went back to the same furniture store and purchased a new bed. I had no idea how expensive they were, but I'm hoping that I'll be set for another 16 years. My new bed isn't a water bed and truth be told, it's fancier than I really need. But comfort matters more than it used to.

But I'm still kind of bummed about the end of my waterbed era. I obtained her during my long-haired heavy metal days. Ironically, the bed outlived the music. But saying good-bye won't be easy.

I'm too sentimental I guess. But I can't help it. Anytime I lose something that has been part of my life for a long time it feels like part of the history dies with it. The memories remain, but not having a tangible object to point to somehow begins the memory-dimming process.

I'm thinking I need to take a picture or two of the old girl before my new bed shows up. Farewell old friend. You'll be missed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Expanded Horizons

In recent weeks I've been traveling through different parts of the city I live in to visit a sick relative. I don't know the area of town she lives in very well and in the past I've gotten lost in this section of town on more than one occasion.

One time I had my 17 year-old niece with me and we ended up in the middle of nowhere--the place where the street signs no longer have street names but instead have numbers like P-51. That's when I knew we were in trouble. We ended up in a small town about 20 miles north of my city. That made for a good laugh and I still hear about it once in a while.

But now that I've been through that area of town so often in recent weeks, I'm seeing things I've never seen before. I noticed a department store last night that sits just off the road. And I'm starting to notice people a little more too. So many of them love to work in their yards.

The funny thing is, I've lived in this city my entire life, but I tend to only frequent a certain numbers of places. That's just the way my brain is wired. But last night, I wondered if most of us don't look at life in a similar fashion. We only listen to certain types of music, or read certain types of books, when in reality, if we opened up a little, we could be experiencing so much more.

I know that's true for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Love Story

I'm slowly making my way through The Reagan Diaries. I'm interested in the book for so many reasons; political, historical, personal--but as I read it, I'm more drawn to the love story than anything else. Ronald Reagan loved Nancy and he wasn't afraid to express his thoughts and emotions about her on paper.

Here are a few of the entries he made about her in his journal:

March 4, 1981: "Our wedding anniversary. 29 years of more happiness than any man could rightly deserve."

March 30, 1981: "I opened my eyes once to find Nancy there. I pray I'll never face a day when she isn't there. Of all the ways God has blessed me giving her to me is the greatest and beyond anything I can ever hope to deserve." (Spoken about seeing Nancy in the hospital after he was shot.)

May 16, 1981: "Nancy up at the crack of dawn to leave for Miss. & the launching. Why am I so scared always when she leaves like that? I do an awful lot of praying until she returns. She returned and I've said my thank you."

June 22, 1981: "Nancy left for Calif. at noon & I'm already lonesome."

July 23, 1981: "Saw 'Mommie' off for London & the Royal Wedding. I worry when she's out of sight 6 minutes. How am I going to hold out for 6 days. The lights just don't seem as warm & bright without her."

On and on it goes. You can actually feel his ache for her when they are apart. You can sense his lack of peace. And when he uses cliches like "the lights just don't seem as warm & bright without her," you can actually imagine the lights being dimmer when she is gone.

They had the type of love that poets write about and their story offers hope to all those who are still seeking such love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Old Fashioned Letters

Several years ago, my mom received a letter from a woman in Ireland named Gerdy (I have no idea if I've spelled that correctly) that was addressed to mom's dad. His name was Ed. Gerdy turned out to be a distant relative who was looking for Ed. He immigrated to the United States in the 1930's and she hadn't seen him since. I told you a little about his immigration in this post.

Unfortunately my grandpa Ed died in 1978, so my mom wrote back to Gerdy to inform her. Over the next several years Gerdy and Mom traded letters, filling each other in on the details of life. I'm not sure how close they became since I haven't read the letters, but I loved that fact that they were in fact trading letters. They never took their correspondence to email, presumably because neither uses email.

Last year, Gerdy wrote to tell Mom that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn't go into detail, but Mom feared the worst. Last year at Christmas, Mom sent Gerdy a letter and never heard back from her, which caused Mom to really fear the worst. One of my family members recently visited Ireland to meet relatives he'd never met, to take photos, and to document everything he could. Turns out that Gerdy died before Christmas last year.

Her husband is still alive and Mom plans to begin writing to him, which I think is a pretty cool thing to do. A couple of days ago I told Mom that she needs to get her letters from Gerdy into an album of some sort because she's in possession of family heritage that can never be replaced. She's promised that she'll do so. I'm thinking that I might be following up at some point just to make sure.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On Hospitals

Some people don't like to make visits to hospitals to see sick friends or relatives. They don't like to see their loved ones incapacitated and I can certainly understand that. But in my experience you get a chance to see a side of people you don't ordinarily see. People are willing to talk about things like death, money, religion, relationships, sins, and regrets, just to name a few. I find such realism to be refreshing and while I'm not a great small-talker, I love deep meaningful conversations.

I also love the way the smallest things can bring laughter to both the patient and the visitor. I visited someone recently who is undergoing physical therapy. She was supposed to be using a small rectangular-shaped sponge to strengthen her left hand and arm. While we were watching television, I picked up the sponge from her tray and placed it into her left hand to try to get her to squeeze it. She'd already been in physical therapy all day and wanted nothing to do with the sponge, so she threw it across the room. We both cracked up laughing.

I've also experienced some of the most tender and miraculous moments while visiting someone in the hospital. After my grandfather had a major stroke many years ago, he was in a near coma-like status. Doctors didn't know if he was aware of his surroundings or not. After he remained in that state for quite a while, they concluded that he probably wasn't aware. I grabbed his hand one day and whispered into his ear. "If you can hear me Grandpa, raise your eyebrows." When he raised them ever so slightly several times, everybody in the room got teary-eyed. I told him that we loved him and that we wanted him to hang on and fight.

Hospital rooms are often messy. And what goes on in them sometimes is even messier. But life is messy and by digging into the messes you can often find diamonds.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Molly Ringwald

I was flipping through television channels on Saturday morning when I ran across a movie starring an actress that looked a lot like a grown up Molly Ringwald. Remember her from The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink? I've seen The Breakfast Club so many times that I think I could recite most of the lines from each character.

Anyway, it turns out that the actress who looked a lot like a grown up Molly Ringwald really was Molly Ringwald. I don't think I've seen her in a movie since the 80's, but here she was in a movie called The Wives He Forgot. I didn't sit around and watch it because I had work to do, but I was intrigued so I did a quick Google search and discovered that she's been in a ton of movies since her 80's fame. And she's done some theatre work as well.

That impresses me. She could have concluded that she'll never reach the level of success she had in her teen years and that could have kept her from acting, but it hasn't. Instead, she seems quite willing to take parts that intrigue her--even in made for television movies that she knows will never reach the status of her previous work.

She seems like somebody who is doing something she loves simply because she loves doing it. Imagine how much happier all of us would be if we did the same thing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Slow Reader

As you've probably figured out by now, I love books. I love to read them. I love to underline important passages. I love to make notes in them when a line speaks to me. I love the smell of books. I love the way they feel. And I love what they do to my mind. They challenge me, encourage me, and inspire me.

I've always been a bit of a slow reader though and that really used to bum me out. I know one woman who reads 100 books a year. She works full-time and is active in her church, so I have no idea how she does it. I know several writers who read 50 books a year (about one per week). I'm nowhere near either of those totals. I usually shoot for 24 books per year and I usually fall 5-7 books short.

I didn't get bummed out over the fact that I couldn't keep up with others, but instead I'd get bummed out because my pace wouldn't allow me to read everything I wanted to read. The same goes for movies I wanted to watch, magazines I wanted to browse, and nearly every other form of entertainment I'm interested in. But I've come to a conclusion recently. I've made my peace with my slow pace.

If I don't engage in these activities slowly, I miss important elements. And I need time for reflection. In fact, I crave it. That's why I often re-read books or watch movies several times. I want to catch everything I'm supposed to catch. If I don't, I hardly see the point of consuming it to begin with.

Have you noticed that you have your own pace? Is it fast, slow, or somewhere in between? How does your pace help or hinder your personal edification?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I attended a party while I was in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago and had a great time seeing old friends--some of whom I only get to see once a year at various writer's conferences. One of the friends I saw was a guy I met at a writer's conference four or five years ago and I can still remember our first meeting. He told me that he was a speaker who wants to be a writer, but he said that he is "grammatically challenged."

I began to tell him everything I knew about the industry and what he could do to improve his writing skills. He soaked up all of the information and kept asking more questions. Over the next few days, whenever I saw him, I'd stop to see how things were going for him at the conference. We kept in touch afterward and still do to this day.

At the party a couple of weeks ago, he asked me if I'd ever heard of a practice called "coining." I said I hadn't. He explained that in the military (he's a former military chaplain), soldiers award a special coin to fellow soldiers/warriors who do something courageous or meaningful for the giver of the coin.

After my friend explained the tradition to me, he took out a beautiful shiny coin and handed it to me. I'm not much of a trinket guy, but with the exception of saying "thanks," I was moved beyond words as I took it from him. But words weren't really necessary in a moment like that.

I'm still carrying the coin around with me everywhere I go. Here's a picture of it:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lack of Posts

I've edited this post for privacy reasons. I'll be back soon.


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