Tuesday, October 7, 2008

As Alanis Morisette once said, Isn't it ironic?

I recently stayed at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. It's part of the chain of hotels that Gaylord owns, the original hotel residing in Nashville. These hotels are well known for their biosphere-like atriums that are the centerpiece of each location. Rooms go around the sides and the sun shines in through the glass to the plants and people below. They are all quite beautiful, but if you stay for several days they tend to make you feel as if you are a specimen under glass.

At any rate, this particular hotel has one bit of weirdness. There is a lovely restaurant near the creek that runs around the interior of the hotel. With tables outside and trees/flowers all around, it seems as if you are in a sweet cafe. The best stuff lies inside the restaurant where the enormous buffet becomes a sight to behold. In fact, it is the first buffet I've seen where a section (friends, this is a section!) is devoted solely to dips. Spinach dip, crab dip, veggie dip, cheese dip--well, hello. We might as well call it as it is--the "1,000-calorie-per-bite" section! Splendid.

It is, I had some.

Anyway, once you grab your caloric plate of food, you take your seat at the tables near the creek to enjoy din-din. But wait! And what to my wandering eyes should appear?

Oh. My.

The workout room. I do not lie to you. As you eat your hefty meal of cheese dip and beef stroganoff and pretend to eat a salad, you may look across the creek to the backsides of thirty people on treadmills. I am sure you are thinking that this is not as bad as it seems. But, oh, yes. It most definitely is. There happens to be floor-to-ceiling windows with which to view those thirty backsides as they jog their little legs off.

Eating at this restaurant with that view begins to make one feel pretty bad. And so you get more dip.

But it gets worse. If you are on that treadmill acting smug, thinking that you have really made a breakthrough because you have gotten your (overly large) butt into shorts and walked down to the workout room on vacation or a business trip, no less--think again. As you workout you have the priviledge of looking at the mirrors in front of you that reflect that darn BUFFET. So, you are delirious with pride that you are working out, but in your head you cannot stop thinking about the large beautiful chocolate cake on the end of the buffet. It screams at you. The smell fills the entire workout room. Women all around you begin moaning. One falls off the treadmill and passes out from her desire! And then reality hits you. You must walk past the entrance to the restaurant on the way back to your room.

Who plans these thing? Obviously someone with a wicked sense of humor.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A little square of love

Getting away on a business trip always gives me time to think. Time to process events of the prior week, time to look out of a window at 30,000 feet and see what my life looks like. I know that during a normal week, I am most often running around like a chicken with his head cut-off only seeing two feet in front of my face. And, yes, sometimes making a face plant on the carpet when I fall over those two feet because I am going too fast.

Before I left the other night, I wrote on a bunch of little stickies and stuck them around the house. I told Zach to have a good day and to smile. I told Dan that I loved him. I reminded them to give Tyson his treats. I expressed love in the form of a 3" x 3" yellow piece of paper. As I talked to them last night about those notes, I thought later of how happy it made them.

Simple words on one of the most basic staples of life. It took five minutes of my time, but it made a huge difference in my relationship with the people I love most.

It reminded me of a story that a good friend Carol Kuykendall tells. Here husband was in serious condition from a brain tumor and a stroke in a hospital in Denver. There was a real possibility at the time that he would not make it. Her adult children rallied around them offering love and support. After they left her at home one night, she found little sticky notes stuck everywhere in her house. On mirrors, in the kitchen cabinet, on the fridge...all from her kids expressing their love and encouragement. You see, she did this for them when they were kids and they were paying it forward to her all these years later.

Telling someone that you love them is one of the most basic staples of life. They are simple but powerful words. They can change your life when you hear them for the first time. They can make the anger go away. They can break down a wall between people. They can cause peace.

Once those words are said, though, they stick.

I love you. Simple. Powerful. Don't miss the chance to say it.