Year 57, Day 1

The question of the day: do I feel any older today? Nah. Not really. As my body and being recover from our long, drawn-out move to NC, I am actually feeling better than I have in months.

I do feel truly blessed with good fortune, though. Not the kind that you can take to the grocery...not monetary fortune. The good fortune to have such loving, kind, and considerate friends and family...wonderful folks who call you on your birthday and send cards (through the mail, no less!) and well-wishes. Makes life ever-so-much sweeter, wouldn't you agree? And, the beauty of being 56...or, 39 Again, as my cake proclaimed (right) that you know what gifts count for something, really count: the love, and the caring, and the well-wishes.

Today, I plan to spend some quality time by myself. Just me and my journal (the pen-and-paper one, not this blog). It's time for me to revisit the past year and plan for the coming one. You see, I have long advised my coaching clients to table their New Year's Resolutions on the First Day of January and save them for a more appropriate date: their birthday. Additionally, as I hinted in my last post, I advise them to take a look at how the past year went before trying to determine how they want the coming year to play out. Looking Back, Looking Forward...that's what I call the exercise I ask them to complete on their birthday. Well, what's good for the client is good for the coach, right?

I think I shall take my theme for the coming year's goals from a book that my darling daughter, Missy M, gave me for my birthday. On the surface, it's a knitting book called (appropriately) "Mother-Daughter Knits," by Sally Melville and her daughter Caddy Ledbetter. But, truly it is so much more than knitting patterns. In the second chapter called "The Grape and the Wine: Thoughts to an Adult Daughter," I found the following paragraph, written by Sally, that really spoke to me.

Albert Einstein said that the most significant decision we make is whether to live in a friendly or a hostile universe. To me, living in a friendly universe means that we can have faith that life's journey, wherever it takes us, will grant us peace and lead us home.

I did a little research on that quote attributed to Einstein and discovered that Sally has "reworked" it a little. According to WikiQuote:

This has been quoted in a relatively few places on the internet, but seems to have no earlier source than an obscure web essay "Reinventing Failure: Designing Success" by Harald Anderson, where the statement seems to have been a loose summation of Einstein's ideas rather than a quote [emphasis added]: "Albert Einstein once commented that the most fundamental question we can ever ask ourselves is whether or not the universe we live in is friendly or hostile. He hypothesized that your answer to that question would determine your destiny.

Regardless of the exactitude of the wording, the underlying message will help guide me as I spend some time today contemplating the Year Past and the Year Ahead. I have always considered my world an essentially friendly place [although I've occasionally harbored doubts about the Universe at large], and I chose to live accordingly.

Before I sign off, I'll follow through with my Restaurant Review of Southern Roots in Jamestown, as promised in my last post. To recap, Mr. T had asked Realtor Bob for a suggestion of a local restaurant for my birthday dinner, and that's how he, Mom, and I wound up there last evening about 7:00ish...following the matinee of Harry Potter VI, which N/M/E chose not to attend. Imagine that.

Anyway, you enter the restaurant through the rear patio area, which is right off the back parking lot...which didn't appear to have a handicapped parking space near the entrance. That made it a bit more difficult for Mom, but not impossible. Patio was around a large fireplace...which all looked interesting, but was exceedingly HOT in the late afternoon sunset. And, a wee bit too near the giant garbage container in the parking lot. No thanks.

We arrived just as about three other parties came through the door, and we were all milling about waiting for the Hostess to seat us. And waiting. And waiting. No one offered us drinks, even though the waiting spot was in the bar area. When the Hostess did return, she took us to a table that we had to pull out/push back/rearrange, just to get seated (she left us menus and breezed away). Looking around the room, you can tell that they have crammed as many tables in as possible...and all appeared to be filled. That meant that the noise level in the room was several decibels too high, causing us to have to shout at each other in order to have a conversation. Hmmm.

The printed menu is heavy on the appetizers, but brief on the entrees. When our server arrived, she listed several fish dishes that weren't on the menu, along with a couple of other choices. Mr. T decided on the Chicken Fettucini Alfredo with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes (!); Mom went with the Fried Oyster Salad; and I chose the Grilled Pork Tenderloin with grilled market veggies.

All of our selections were tasty and well-prepared; mine and Mr. T's were piping hot to boot. But, when we asked for bread, we were told that it was a separate order and would take another 7 minutes. OK. When the focaccia with rosemary butter (finally) arrived (many, many more than 7 minutes later), it was wonderfully hot and tasty...and we would certainly have appreciated knowing that we had to order bread along with our meal. [BTW, who decided that bread was no longer a necessity at table?] We said "no thanks" to dessert, as we knew there was a birthday cake back at home.

Verdict: well-prepared and cooked meal but less-than-anticipated environment and service. It was obvious from observing the other diners that this is an upscale venue for a group of "regulars," who did not seem to mind how loud it was, nor how inattentive the wait-staff was. Because the menu is limited (we ordered about the only items that truly appealed to us) and reflects a more...shall we say, epicurean taste than we have, I doubt we will become part of that group. [Epicurean? Well that sounded better than what we usually call it; around here we use the word "frou-frou" when describing a restaurant that seems to be going overboard on the combination of ingredients to alter simple, tried-and-true dishes, not necessarily for taste, but usually for showing off.] Once was probably enough for Southern Roots.


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