Thursday, March 25, 2010

C'mon, Skip Bo!

Last November, our granddaughters introduced us to the card game Skip Bo.  It's sort of a card version of Rummikub, and my husband and I took a quick liking to it.  

We've played hundreds of games since then, and somewhere along the line we started chuckling about the life lessons you can learn from playing Skip Bo:

       What I've Learned from playing Skip Bo

  • Have patience     In Skip Bo, sometimes your opponent can have a turn that seems to go on forever.  All you can do is sit there and watch and wait until they've run out of moves.  But, eventually (well, unless they finish out the game), your turn will come.
             Real life application:   Patience is a virtue that can ease your life.
  • Look around carefully    In Skip Bo, make sure, before you put down you 'end of turn' card, that you've checked the entire playing field very carefully.  Missing an available move can cost you the game.  
             Real life application:   Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay cool, and have fun    Just about any game can become nastily competitive, and Skip Bo is no exception.   We've learned it's much more fun if we cheer each other on.  
             .Real life application:   Life is sweeter when you have a smile on your face.
  • Never give up      Sometimes, especially when your oppenent has one of those never-ending turns, you can't imagine any way you'll win the game.   But there have been countless times when one of us was sure they'd lost the game by a landslide, only to wind up winning in the end.
             Real life application:    Never, ever give up-  not on your dreams,  not on your aspirations, not on love.  No matter how hopeless the situation seems, don't give up hope.

Right now, in my life, I'm rooting for Skip Bo.    I saw the surgeon a couple of days ago, and now I'm scheduled for a biopsy.   My appointment isn't until the end of April, and then we'll have to wait for the results, so we've got lots and lots of waiting ahead of us.   Patience is certainly going to be an important virtue, but, if I wind up in a difficult scenario, then it's that last Skip Bo lesson- 'never give up' that we'll be turning to again and again.

So- C'mon, Skip Bo!   Don't let me down.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Yikes!  I didn't realize how much time had passed since my last posting!  

It's not that I haven't had anything to write about.  There's actually been times when I sat down to write- I just never actually started typing.  I've got little scraps of paper all over the place, with long and short jottings of ideas for blog entries, and even some with experiences I absolutely, positively wanted to write about right away.

So I guess it's sort of ironic that when I finally pushed myself to sit down to write, the topic turns out to be 'waiting'.

We wait for so many things in life-  for a lover to call, for a child to be born, for school years to end.  We wait for smiles to start and tears to dry, for the weather to clear or for a storm to start. 

Some just simply wait for time to pass.

It's all well and good to say that we shouldn't consume our lives with waiting; that it's up to us to make things happen.   But, sometimes we aren't in control of events, and our only recourse is to wait.  We can fool ourselves by finding all sorts of things to keep us busy so that we don't seem to be, or don't feel, that we're on edge waiting for that phone call, email, or test result- but that's all just camouflage.   Waiting is hard; it's painful; it's frustrating.

I have a mantra that I use when the things I try to ease the stress of waiting don't work.  I take a deep breath, and say:

"I am patience."

Sometimes I have to repeat it several times, but eventually it helps me clear my head and push aside my frustration, and move on- at least for a little while.

Sometimes you know that the wait will be short.  Today, for example, I had to wait a bit for the roads to be reopened after the US Vice President passed by.  As I sat in traffic, I wondered if he realized how many people his entourage was inconveniencing (that was after I asked why the heck he had to travel via a major highway instead of helicopter!), but I knew I'd soon be on my way.

I've learned  ways to amuse myself while waiting on line at the post office, the bank, and the supermarket.  That waiting is always fun here, as Israelis aren't known for their patience.  I've enriched my Hebrew vocabulary in all sorts of interesting ways while waiting on those lines :-)

I have a friend who had to wait 2 weeks for the results of a biopsy.  I don't know how she made it through that wait.  I asked her about it, and she said that it wasn't easy, but she had no choice, so she managed somehow.

Unrequited waits can be tough.  We wait for our weekly Friday morning phone call from our son, and we're on edge until his call comes through.  If he misses that call, or if we don't get to speak to our grandchildren on the following Sunday, life just doesn't seem as bright.  But we pull ourselves together, and get on with our week (hmm...or should I say 'camouflage')..

I'm stuck in the midst of a very frustrating waiting game right now.  Two weeks ago, as I was putting lotion on my neck, I felt a lump in my throat.  I was able to see my doctor the next day, and he sent me for an ultrasound which confirmed the presence of the lump.  My doctor says the next step is surgery, but when he called to make an appointment with the surgeon he insisted was the best, he was told that he was out of the country for a conference, and wasn't scheduled to return for over a week.

So, I waited.  The day he returned to Israel, the surgeon's office called to set up an appointment. But the earliest they could squeeze me in isn't for another 2 weeks, so I'm waiting again.  Then, once I see him, I'll have to wait for an open date for the surgery.  And, of course, once I have the surgery, there will be that other waiting.... 

'I am patience.'