And away we go…

August 1, 2013

It is family reunion time again! This year, we are on the West Coast, the coast of my birth. And I am having panic attacks!!!

I love my family more than anything else in the world. My mom started these every-three-year reunions back when my daughter was 3 and my son 9 months…our West Coast based family had slowly but surely dispersed throughout the country, going off to college and then jobs and then marriage. Now the babies of our first reunions are grown up and mostly gone and the reunions continue.

So, if I love my family so much, why am I having panic attacks? Well, a little bit of it is that I will miss my dog. Boo and I are pretty much constant companions…well, except when hub and Boo go out on the boat, fishing or just cruising. If he was small enough to fit under my seat, he would be coming with me. But he’s not and I’m just not willing to put him in the belly of the plane for a one week trip. So, I guess I am officially one of those people who love their pets almost as much as their kids.

Another bit of it is that family reunions are a lot of work. Not the cooking, cleaning, who’s sleeping where part of it…more the “how long can we all be together before old feelings poke their little heads in and things get tense so let’s all play nice” kind of work…since we only have this one little window of time to store up hugs and laughs and memories and love, who wants to spend any of it “feeling”…but there is no getting past the feeling…it is what it is.

And then there is that hideously, hatefully, silly vain me that doesn’t want anyone to see that I am older now, plumper, with wrinkled, age-spotted, droopy body parts that barely fit into a bathing suit any more…we will be surrounded by the active, athletic, enthusiastic, gorgeous YOUNGSTERS who used to be US!!!! At least those in my generation and above are pretty much in the same boat…

All that said, I wouldn’t trade a moment of time spent with my mom and other dad, sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews…so, off we go! See you on the flip side!

Advertisements

I just noticed that I haven’t blogged since May 31, and here it is June 9! Oh, my…

When last we “spoke”, I felt compelled to share a wonderful day in photos. Since then, we have had lots of planting days, with a few days of mama nature taking care of my watering. ┬áThe veggies and annuals are all in…I have a final few perennials to pop into the ground today and then I will be done until it is time for the second sowing of things. Well, now that I think about it, that’s not quite true…I’m expecting a yard of garden soil tomorrow so I can fill my 2 x 8 raised bed and then plant our asparagus! Excited to get that in.

We have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that contains every photo I have of my favorite granddaughter (ummm…ONLY granddaughter)…shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I spend a lot of time in or on my bed…it is comfy, I have a little nest for my computer on my lap, and it is where I often blog and share photos…more importantly, it is where I always have the baby with me…we live far away and I’ve only visited in person twice. However, my daughter and son-in-law are INCREDIBLY generous when it comes to sharing with me, supplying me with endless photos and frequent hangouts, so I never feel deprived. Love me some baby girl.

When I moved up here to my heaven, I left behind a lot of friends in a lot of places. Yesterday I had the chance to catch up with four dear friends in Portland…we brunched, we walked, we shopped, we sat on benches, we had snacks and libations onboard a vessel and then we left each other for our respective long drives home. It was wonderful! Aren’t friends refilling/refueling/refreshing? Can’t wait to try it again with other friends!

I get in food ruts. I am currently in a HUGE food rut. For breakfast, lunch or dinner these days, you might see on my plate a tomato, salt, pepper and mayo sandwich on good bread OR chicken and avocado with salt, pepper and mayo on good bread…as a matter of fact, I am going to use the last of the chicken I roasted a few days ago and the last half of an avocado for my breakfast in a few. I wonder what my next food rut will be?

I haven’t blogged in a long time…no good reason, just kind of overwhelmed with life.

May I just say that depression sucks? I am a lifelong sufferer. Since medication entered my life, in my thirties, I have felt better…most of the time. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a “magic” pill that works all the time. I did well on one medication for years, and then it stopped working. That pattern has continued for each med I have tried. After a few years on my latest med, I am finding myself sliding slowly but surely into the murkiness. So, as soon as I can gather myself, I will go back to the doctor and try once again to find something that will allow me to return to my preferred cheery and optimistic state.

In the meantime, I try to focus on things that I love and that brighten my world. One new thing that has enriched my life is a mobile app called Happier. It encourages me to post quick, but meaningful things that make me happy, through words and/or photos. Even as I was weeping over the devastation and lives lost (especially those of the children) in Moore, Oklahoma yesterday, I was able to reach deep and share. Thank you to the folks who created this application…it makes me very happy!

Speaking of things that make me happy…

And then there are…

Lots of reasons to be happy!

Because I really don’t want to get up and start my day, and because I have been going through scanned photos and have been thinking about my mother-in-law a lot (she died in 2010 and we now live in her house), and because I have been watching our old home videos (remember, my husband is a TV guy and my children were constantly being recruited by him for little movies, written, shot and produced by hus), I thought I would share a particularly poignant and funny memory of Molly and my mum-in-law’s prosthesis…

A long, long time ago, we rescued a black and white springer spaniel named Molly. She was 4 months old when she came to us, and we figured that she would eventually outgrow her puppy, mouthy ways…um, no, she was a springer spaniel…springers tend to remain puppyish until they are 10, then they are old…no inbetween. In those days, my in-laws lived half a year in Maine and half in Arizona. So, twice a year, they would come stay with us overnight as they passed through our area.

Now I need to go back a little…my mum-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy when she was, if I remember correctly, in her late 60s. As a result, she had a breast prosthesis that she wore in her bra when she was out in public…and visits to us were deemed to be public.

OK, back to one of their twice-yearly visits…we had a wonderful weekend together and waved the in-laws off on their journey back home to Maine. After they left, we were returning the house to its normal state when we caught Molly happily pulling the filling out of what looked like a fluff-stuffed bean bag. We were absolutely baffled as to what the thing was, gathered up all the pieces and put them aside for later consideration. That evening, when my mum-in-law called to tell us they had gotten home safely, she asked me if I had found the breast prosthesis that she had inadvertently left it behind. I told her I would look for it, hung up, and BAM! The lightbulb went off…Molly had found the missing prosthesis and that was what she had de-fluffed. ┬áThe hus and I frantically stuffed all the fluff back in, I painstakingly stitched it back together and we sent it off to my mum-in-law with fulsome apologies and offers of replacement…included in the package was a hus-drawn cartoon of a penitent Molly holding an eviscerated prosthesis in her mouth. This became a family joke, and just the mention of Molly’s name in mum-in-law’s presence elicited fits of giggling.

I loved my mum-in-law’s ability to laugh…I think of her so often and cherish all the memories that make us all smile.

Happy birthday to me…

March 13, 2013

We are not big birthday people in our family. I am so NOT a party person and after the kids got past the birthday party stage, that was it. I do, however, like my birthday to be about choosing…I get to choose without feeling guilty that I might choose something that was not someone else’s preference. Perhaps because I am the oldest of four girls, I learned early on that life went more smoothly if choice was ceded to the sister who cared the most. Or perhaps it is because that is my personality, my comfort zone. It would certainly explain why I was most comfortable working in solo law offices, directly with one person, ensuring that that person’s life went as smoothly, as comfortably and as pleasantly as I could make it.

However, back to choosing…for my birthday this year, I ordered a pair of shoes which will probably never see the light of day on my feet. I ordered a pair of brightly flowered, HIGH heel, peep-toed pumps. And when I say high heel, I mean a 4″ heel…me, who has trouble keeping my balance walking down the driveway in my comfie boots…I may never wear them, but they will be mine…they will sit in my closet and brighten the lives of my ordinary, comfortable but not stylish shoes and boots. So, there.

Happy birthday to me…

scan0043 (2)

Emptynesting…

February 28, 2013

I read an article on Boston.com this morning about women who find new paths in life after their children are grown and gone. Count me in…

I waited a long time (well, back then it was a long time) to have babies. I finished college, met the man of my destiny, moved with him across country (in the old Volkswagen bus with the dog and the cat and everything else we owned in boxes in the back) with nothing in our minds except someone’s statement that there was good community theater to be performed in New England. We moved and married and moved and moved…one day, we woke up and knew it was time for babies. We were 29 when the first was born and 32 when the second arrived. And then we moved and moved and moved and moved. We followed, as hus’ career dictated fairly frequent market shifts.

In amongst all that moving, I bore babies, nursed babies, raised babies and worked different jobs (weekend morning anchor on news station, secretary at construction company, commercials and voice work)…once the babes were old enough for daycare, my jobs became more “normal”. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that legal secretaries not only made more money than some other office workers, but “legal secretary” also carries with it a bit of cachet, an aura of intelligence and competence…a job that could also stimulate my mind. So, for the next million years, I worked outside home fulltime and parented fulltime. My life was their lives…I chose jobs that were more flexible, told employers up front that I was an active parent and accepted lower pay for quality attitudes towards me…I drove to away soccer and softball/baseball games and swim meets, injured my tailbone (seriously!) sitting on concrete bleacher seats and attended every concert and performance with bells on.

I loved almost every moment of that part of my life. It was really hard, often frustrating and I was not the perfect mother I wish I could have been. But we certainly did something right, launching two amazing, caring, loving, hardworking human beings who have each found and married another amazing human being. And so it goes…

But then my dad-in-law needed us…he was a great guy, I had known him for what seemed like forever (we met when I was about 21), he and my mom-in-law had been so gracious and loving towards me all my married life…and he needed us…which meant another move. The fates conspired to have us sell our house before it even went on the market, and my husband’s job mainly requires him to be near a major airport (oh, how we thank our lucky stars for his employers). All that was left was for me to quit my jobs…and therein lay the rub…

I had to quit a job that I loved for so many years, working with a solo practicing attorney who played the piano and sang and loved the arts and who appreciated me for what I had to offer…that was excruciating in so many ways. Plus, I had to quit another job I had held for years…I joined Washington Street Players when it was in its infancy, in March of its first season…as my children grew older and needed my constant presence less, my endeavors with WSP stepped up…acting, directing, producing, Board Secretary, moving sets and running lights and sound, Board President…after the kids were gone, WSP was there. And then, poof! In March 2011, it all came to a sudden end. And we moved again…

I haven’t found my latest empty nest path yet…photography has helped, bringing Boo the miniaussiedoodle into our lives was a life-changing experience, my work at the local library helps…but I am waiting for my next role to conk me in the head…waiting…

Bouncing Boo snow (21) Bouncing boo snow (6) Bouncing boo snow (2) Bouncing boo snow (5)

FEET of snow!!!

February 13, 2013

Leave it to me to be out gallivanting while we had the biggest snow storm in AGES at home…

I left home on February 1, headed to Georgia to join my sisters and cousin in celebrating my dad’s 88th birthday. It was the first time all we girls had been together without our kids in I don’t know how long. The first two days were spent talking, talking and talking…my dad reminisced about his childhood, about growing up on Catalina Island, about his and his father’s baseball careers, about World War II…a little bit of everything with everyone chiming in. We girls (that’s how we still think of ourselves, even though we are now quite definitely women) also stole time to naked sauna and scrub, to walk through the neighborhood, to lie on our backs and meditate on my sister’s special therapeutic bed, to shop at a high-end consignment store and to laugh with abandon. And then it was over and we all went our separate ways, feeling closer than ever with family spirit.

I took advantage of being down South and detoured to Orlando to steal time with my divine daughter and my amazing grandbabygirl. AND it just happened to include a weekend that saw her husband winging his way up to Boston for a beer festival (Lucas is a cicerone and the Central Florida sales rep for Cigar City Brewing), so we planned a girls’ weekend for the three of us. As soon as I arrived in Florida, however, I started to hear serious talk of a major snow storm scheduled to hit New England that very weekend…needless to say, we were glued to IPhones and weather forecasts, trying to determine (1) if Lucas would be able to take off on Friday, (2) if, having chosen to go, would Lucas be able to return on Sunday, and (3) if my Sunday flights back to New England would be impacted. As it worked out, Lucas’ flight was one of the last flights into Logan, the eventual 2 feet of snow had started to fall, a citywide driving ban was instituted, his event was postponed and he was stranded in a city that had virtually closed down for the days he was there…AND he was there with no gloves and two pair of sneakers (the Upstate New York boy has turned into a Florida man). I can’t wait to hear his adventures. As for me, my flights were pretty uneventful, although my last leg was delayed for an hour because it had had to be de-iced at its prior stop. But that’s where the NEW adventure kicked in!

Back at the homestead, three feet of snow had fallen, which meant that our 1/2 mile driveway couldn’t be plowed using ordinary measures. We needed the BIG BOYS to come in and plow us out. And the big boys were all otherwise occupied for days…our name was put on the list and that was that. Our friend (who just happens to be our plow man) insisted that my husband borrow one of their cars so he could get to the airport to pick me up. This still meant, however, that husband and dog had to walk through thigh and sometimes hip high snow the half mile out. By the time they got out, they were both completely exhausted. And still they drove the 2 hours to pick me up at the airport. We stayed in the big city that night, had our dentist appointments and then headed home…as we drove home, we got word that our plow guy had been able to plow a narrow strip most of the way to our house before his plow truck broke down. So, we only had to trek back through the three feet of snow (did I mention thigh and hip high?) too many hundreds of feet (did I mention that it was pitch dark and husband was leading the way using his smartphone flashlight?). I fell a couple of times and thought I might just stay where I was until spring. However, if Boo could do it, so could I. We made it to the house and collapsed…what an amazing adventure…

And now it is two days later (my husband’s birthday — happy birthday, old man!!!) and the monster plow truck made it down the driveway and plowed us a perfect path…the car is back in front of the house and life starts to resume a more “normal” rhythm. I wouldn’t trade my days with my sisters OR my days with my grandbabe, but I was a bit wistful at having missed the reality of three feet of snow falling from the sky.