Sunday, March 30, 2014

I might have forgotten to remember

I have made a conscious effort over the past 18 months or so to improve my health. It's an effort I have to make each day, and some days are better than others.

I'll write more about that another time but suffice it to say it's a work in progress.

Along those lines, Wife and I had a discussion yesterday about one component of the aging process -- memory. We are fortunate that, as far as we know, we don't have any signs of Alzheimer's or any form of dementia. Not yet anyway.

But we both acknowledge that our memories aren't what they used to be. I can remember what I did on a certain day in, say, first grade, but oftentimes can't recall events of the same day. Oh, it will come to me after a while, but the instant recall is rusty.

Wife was going to a local mall yesterday to make a return of something and on the way she totally forgot why it was she was going to the mall. Fortunately, the item she was returning, placed in the backseat of her car, jogged her memory once she got there.

With me, I notice it when I get sidetracked, especially at work. I'll be working on something and get a phone call. When I get off that call, I'm lost as to what I was doing before the call came. Like Wife's return item in her car yesterday, an incomplete email or some papers on my desk will bring me back to reality.

Names of folks I haven't seen in a while just seem to go to a file cabinet in the back of my brain. They will eventually come to me but it takes a while to get the file cabinet open.

I've heard that brains need to be exercised just as other parts of our body, so I continue to work the Jumble and Scramlets every day, and the occasional crossword, to hopefully keep the mind sharp, or as sharp as possible.

That's all for today. I might have had more to say but I can't seem to remember.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best laid plans

Anyone who has read this blog for some time knows that Wife and I love to travel, whether it's a real vacation that lasts a week or more, or just a weekend or few days away. We like to go back to some of our favorite places but we also enjoy visiting new ones.

This past weekend it was The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. We left Friday afternoon and drove most of the way, spending the night about an hour and a half out. We arrived about 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Greenbrier is a large resort nestled in part of the Allegheny Mountain Range, built in the late 1800s, and calls itself "America's Resort." I found it to be a bit like stepping back in time. The hotel is a huge white structure with massive columns which, at first glance, looks a bit like the White House.

The inside is massive and the recurring decorative theme is floral which is a bit dated, but as I said, going there is like stepping back in time anyway, so it works. It's all very crisp and clean and everyone who works there epitomizes southern charm and hospitality.

We were able to take advantage of a special themed weekend -- "Antiques Roadshow," which we saw hardly a sign of -- which allowed for some great rates.

It is a beautiful setting and there are three golf course that are part of the compound. There are great places to eat and there's a casino that was added about ten years ago, as well as upscale retail shops. There are great walking paths all around the grounds.

Wife and I likened it to being on a cruise ship (although everything is a la carte, pay as you go, and it ain't cheap), where everything you would want to do is right there on site but you're not floating and don't have to worry about getting seasick.

Wife and I began enjoying the lovely surroundings upon our arrival. We went to a cooking demonstration, right up Wife's alley, walked around and through the massive lobbies with the repeated floral patterns, comfortable groupings of chairs and sofas and big fireplaces.

I went to a class where I learned how to tie a bow tie. We talked to an author who was signing copies of his book.

After lunch we took a walk around the grounds. It was cool-ish, with temps in the high 50s, but the sun was shining and it was beautiful.

As we were walking, one of the resort employees greeted us, commenting on the beautiful weather.

"Can you believe how beautiful it is today?" she said. "Hard to believe they're predicting 6 - 8 inches of snow!"

With the kind of winter this country has had this year, we had watched weather forecasts before we left. Everything looked good. Our plan was to stay until mid-day Monday.

After talking to the employee we began to watch updated forecasts. Every weather map we looked at showed a big part of West Virginia as part of a band of snow and ice that would hit about 2 p.m. Sunday and last through 2 p.m. Monday, with all of the trimmings -- accumulations of snow and hazardous road conditions.

We could not risk getting stuck. As much as we hated to do it, we packed up and left about 3 Sunday afternoon, just as the snow was starting and temperatures were dropping. We drove in snow for about two hours until we got out of the band of the storm.

As disappointed as we were, we managed to pack a lot into the time we were there. Sunday afternoon would have been leisurely. We probably would have each found a comfortable chair by a fireplace and sat there with books. We would have had afternoon tea, gone from there to Happy Hour and from there to dinner (as we had done on Saturday). It would have been dreamlike to wake up to all the snow Monday morning.

But we both had too much on our plates at home to risk getting stuck or delayed. We followed the prudent path and cut if short. Got home late Sunday night.

Sometimes following that prudent path is just the right thing to do.

We still look back on the weekend with fondness and will add The Greenbrier to our places to revisit.