Happy (42nd) Birthday to me…

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Today is my birthday. I actually started getting gifts toward the end of last week. I’ve got some extra cash, cupcakes, a massage, a pedicure. And from daughter, my favorite perfume. And a man? Daughter went shopping over the weekend. … Continue reading

Friday Night = High School Football Night

At least in the small town I live in.

Aunt Kate is back in town. Living in Cleveland again. And Aunt Kate loves football. Pro football. College football. And now high school football, with Son playing.

My Father, who played both high school and college sports, loves football too. Especially watching his grandson play.

So we assembled in the bleachers last Friday night for the football game.

About halfway through…

Aunt Kate: Think there’s anywhere around here I can smoke?

Me: Maybe out in the parking lot? Outside of the stadium gates?

We pondered this for a moment…

And it WAS halftime.

So Father, Aunt Kate and I headed for the bathrooms, snack bar and the stadium entrance. We wandered in our typical half-as#ed fashion.

Aunt Kate: Will they let me back in if I go out to the parking lot?

Me: I would think so. Maybe ask?

Because my father couldn’t find his cell phone, he took mine to make a call. Aunt Kate went in another direction. I headed for the bathroom. There was no plan, just to meet back up in the bleachers at some point…

After halftime, we sat back down in our seats:

Aunt Kate: You won’t believe what I did.

Me: Huh?

Aunt Kate: I asked the lady by the gate if there was anywhere I could smoke. And she was SO RUDE!!

Me: Oh?

Aunt Kate did a fine imitation of The Rude Lady. Even waved her arm around in the air, gesturing to the school campus…

There is NO SMOKING HERE!!!  This is SCHOOL PROPERTY!!!!  YOU CANNOT SMOKE ANYWHERE ON SCHOOL PROPERTY!!!

Whoa…Aunt Kate had my full attention because few people are ever rude to Aunt Kate—probably because she is always so polite and pleasant. And had the lady said it nicely, Aunt Kate would certainly have fallen in line and been polite back. But no….

Aunt Kate: Then I guess I will just take out MY FAKE CIGARETTE!!

Said Aunt Kate as she reached into her purse, whipped out her electric cigarette, took a drag and blew VAPORS directly AT the Rude Lady—then walked away. Aunt Kate left The Rude Lady standing there, too stunned to speak…

Let the games begin!!

Both the football games.

And the ‘games’ that surround my family. Spilled drinks. Lost cell phones and car keys. The whole thing. Put all of us (or some of us) together and there is bound to be adventure. I cannot remember a single outing with my family that has ever been DULL or BORING. Or uneventful.

Not sure if I’m more excited for the football tonight, or being in the bleachers with the family…

Things I’ve Been Thinking About Lately…

In no particular order, some of what I’ve pondered recently:

Why doesn’t anybody from HGTV ever stop me outside of Home Depot?

I would love a bathroom redo. A yard makeover. Pretty please with sugar on top would somebody remove my gravel driveway and install pavers, black top, or cement? They could redo anything. I would cooperate—and not get mad like some of the ungrateful people they show on the design TV shows. They could pick whatever they wanted. Plenty of projects around my house…They could even pick two.

 

 

 

 

How in the he#% does Daughter do her hair with this curling iron?

Seriously. It is in pieces. Most of them long gone. She slides the little metal tube thingy onto what’s left of the curling iron and creates curls and ringlets without burning her fingers. And it looks lovely. She used this method to achieve the look in her senior pictures. How? People go to the salon for curls like that. And should I be concerned that she plugs her ‘rigged up’ contraption into an outlet in my home?

On men, women and relationships…

Why do men see right through men and know exactly what they’re about? And it takes a woman about 2 minutes to know  what another woman is about. And yet men and women spend YEARS in relationships–without a clue. Just no idea what their partner is about. Would it not make more sense if we could read the opposite sex, as we can read our own? And yet, we often cannot. Why. Just, why?

Why can’t I find 31 gothic pickets?

I’ve needed them for a couple of months. When I DIDN’T need them, I saw them everywhere. Now that I am LOOKING for them, I cannot find them. Which means I have a partial fence. I cannot apply the fresh coat of white paint, nor can I install the arbor above the two posts that look silly. And I don’t want to complete the landscaping, because it will get in my way when I paint the doggone thing.

Pulling into my driveway last week:

Me: I’ve GOT to find those gothic pickets.

Aunt Kate: Why?

Me: Look at the fence!! I want to finish it up…make it look pretty.

Aunt Kate: But it makes me laugh every time I pull into your driveway.

I’d hate to spoil her fun…

Why is Table #6 taking such a long time?  

It has been in my garage since June. When I finally started it, I couldn’t get the stain off the top. I dumped a bottle of stripper on it over the course of a couple of days. Scraped. And scraped. Then scraped more. Then spent a few evenings looking like I took a swim in sawdust. Probably the table is ¼” shorter than it started out being. I had thought I might finish today, but I need more paint for the chairs. When I blow my nose, whats coming out is Italian Olive…the green color I’m using. I can look forward to another day of Italian Olive snot tomorrow. Because I am STILL not done!!

How long does it take to grow new toenails?

Son wore old cleats for football Two a Days. And they were too small. His toenails were a mess afterwards. And he walked funny. (Really, really funny) No idea how he played football after that. A couple of weeks later, one big toenail is completely off. And the other is 90% off. How long is it going to take for the boy to have a BRAND NEW set of big toenails? Because I think he needs them. And again, why? Surely he wasn’t the only kid who didn’t yet have his new cleats. Things happen to him that don’t seem to happen to others. But then, he is my son. I will spare everybody the photos. Looking at his toes nauseates me.

Got answers to any of that?

Feel free to share…

Senior Pictures ~ A little more sharing…

Yesterday, I shared one of Daughters senior pictures. Admitted that I can’t click-through the photos without crying…

They don’t make me sad. Not at all. Nor do I long to go back. Or regret missing out on anything. Especially my crazy hair.

And YES. I was a teenager in the 80’s. Hair was BIG. We used ‘Stiff Stuff’ hairspray to maintain the volume. My daughter was born in the early 90’s. Hair hadn’t flattened out yet.

So anyways, for 35+ years, I NEVER cried. But at 41, I tear up easily. These days, the word ‘car’ does it for me.

Here are a few more senior pictures. Click on the arrow that pops up and you can scan through the slide show. I’ll spare everybody all 375….

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Why the tears?

Because I appreciate them. Good photography is art. As a writer, marketer, designer and such, I appreciate the vision.

When I look at these photos, I don’t see a contrived smile.

I see all the expressions I’ve seen each day for nearly 18 years. Daughter has always been an open book. What she is thinking travels right across her face. Irritation. Discomfort. Sadness. Joy. All of it. She can’t hide it. And doesn’t choose to.

When she told me that during the shoot, they stopped for a moment because “Bob the Beagle” had to go outside, “to go potty” I knew which photos were shot on that trip outside. I can see her amusement in them.

So when I click-through my 375 photo gift (And they are a gift…), I’m flooded with memories. I’ve seen every look in those pictures 1000 times. Maybe more.

At Daughter’s gymnastics show, when the lights went down. The music came on. And I was dumb enough to be excited for the performance. Her class marched out. And Darling Daughter checked out. Sat down, indian style, facing away from the audience because she didn’t want to take part.

Or when she took classes at a local dance school when she was in middle school. And she was lovely when she performed on stage. I knew she was coordinated, but had no idea she was graceful enough to carry off ballet, her movements soft and flowing. I would have thought she would be too shy to open herself up on stage.

I see the girl who slams doors and stomps off. Who squirms when all eyes are on her. Who is proud when she accomplishes what she doubted she could. The determination. The aggravation. It’s all in those photos.

And I’m excited for her to be a Senior in high school. For her to choose a college and a future, to spread her wings. I’m so grateful to be a part of it. To have her in my life. She has been the most extraordinary gift to me.

And looking at those photos reminds me of that.

SPECIAL THANKS: To the ex, who set up the experience for our Daughter. And graciously paid for it.

THE LOOK: For those who wondered yesterday…Daughters creamy peach dress was from Tiffany Rose Antiques in downtown Willoughby, Ohio. A  vintage 1950’s party dress. She also wore 1970’s Sarah Coventry jewelry that I got at an estate auction last winter–and that she wore to prom last spring. Daughter has been won over to my affinity for retro & vintage. I’ve sold it online for years and I’m in the beginning phases of setting up shop locally…

How ‘bittersweet’ it is…

My aunt and uncle moved back to Ohio last Tuesday, after living near Washington D.C (in Leesburg, Virginia) for the past 8 years.

And I’ve been so excited, that I’ve repeated myself for months.  Honestly, it was NEW to me every time it came out of my mouth. Didn’t realize I was repeating…

KATE IS COMING…

Kate is coming soon.

Kate is coming next month. Next week.

Then finally.

Today! Kate will be here today!!!

My children said it was like a child telling everybody Santa Claus is coming. And really, it HAS felt a bit like Christmas. Especially since Kate arrived. My wonderful uncle, too. It is a HUGE gift for our family.

And yet, we’re sad. Wrung out.

One of Kate’s dearest friends (A close family friend to all of us) lost her 24-year-old son last week. He passed away unexpectedly. And my aunt and uncle got word on Tuesday, while they were driving their cars back to Cleveland.

Which made last week bittersweet.

Aunt, Uncle, Cousins, Daughter and I gathered around the kitchen at the New House several nights ago. Had dinner. (And cupcakes…) But our hearts were heavy.

As a family, we’re heartbroken for those parents. We know ‘these things’ happen. But they aren’t supposed to. And certainly NOT to a family such as THAT one. Happily married a million years, dedicated, loving parents and partners. The best. And yet, they are without their beloved son. Left with only memories.

Losing a child isn’t the natural order of things. It isn’t something any parent imagines—or cares to imagine.

So I’ve spent the past week sick to my stomach one minute. Thrilled to have Aunt Kate nearby the next.

The movers arrived at the New House on Saturday morning. Five days after they packed the last box in Virginia, which is typical for a move from one state to another. They unloaded the truck, set up beds and placed furniture and boxes in the New House under my uncle and cousin’s direction.

And while they did so, Aunt Kate and I attended a funeral mass. Followed by a service at the cemetery where a young man was laid to rest. Far too soon.

We watched two parents cling to each other. When one faltered, the other supported…with words, a hand gently rubbing a back, an arm wrapped protectively around a shoulder. They comforted one another. Their bond was obvious and true. Always has been in the nearly 20 years I’ve known them.

They carried themselves with more dignity, courage and grace than most could muster under similar circumstances.

And so my family begins this week intact. Overjoyed to be living near each other again. We can gather for dinner, to watch The Olympic Games, take a walk in the woods. Simple things.

But another family is left with a gaping hole. And that type of loss isn’t something that is ‘gotten over.’ More something people learn to live with. They were (and are) a close and loving family. A family who spent time together, appreciated the moments.

The words “You never know…” roll off the tongue easily. Everybody says them. Everybody has heard them over and over.

But we don’t often stop to think of their meaning. How uncertain life is. We take this precious thing called ‘time’ for granted. Or waste ‘moments’ being angry, bitter, unhappy or dissatisfied. Instead of choosing to be happy, or grateful.

Certainly, I cannot make sense of this past weekend–though I have tried.

I know there is nothing I can do. Nothing anybody can do to. But I’ll make a special effort to support our grieving friends. To be kind and thoughtful.

And I’ll embrace having my aunt and uncle living just 10 minutes away again. I’ll continue to enjoy and appreciate my children—and other favorite people. As long as I am lucky enough to spend time with them.

Which is just what I did last night.

Because I COULD.

I gathered in my family room with some of my favorite people in the world. (The dogs, too.) And we watched The Olympic Games. I got teased. Some laughed until they cried…

And I felt very, very lucky.