Sep 30, 2012
Occasion to spend time with family “happened” to me recently. So many issues, so little time. The American holidays are approaching and in the coming months, many may face feeling some of what I felt. And may, as I did, think hard about what they are feeling and choose not to react.
Family is an organism that you are bound to and a part of. You are born into memories and legacies and the established lives of those who came before you. Yes you are separate and yet, like it or not, you are included too.
No, you can’t genetically alter yourself to be related to someone else. But you can make choices about who you believe you are. Legacy or not, in the end, your self-definition and behavioral choices are yours alone.
People, especially unhappy ones, will inevitably try to spread their own lives’ stinky Limburger cheese onto your sandwich. Accusing you of responsibility for stuff you have no clue about; the fears and insecurities they tire of carrying. And, in a split second, you must decide whether to open your happy hoagie and accept their stinky cheese or say, no thanks; I’m dairy-free today.
Our boundaries are our most precious assets at this time of the year. Confronted by others’ idiotic remarks, as a mature adult, ideally we could say,” I don’t necessarily agree with you but thanks for giving me your opinion.” Not always being that mature or clever, I suggest you give your self any kind of exit plan. Whether it’s a white lie to your grandparents that you’re driving back home when you’ve booked a room at a local spa. Or faking a coughing fit to exit the room quickly before you break into tears, taking care of your well-being is your priority and responsibility. Taking care of them is theirs.
Aug 23, 2012
As I drove to do my recycling today, I pondered my summer and the extraordinary effort which made this season enjoyable. In the past, the much-anticipated summer season has dragged on like a deadly combo case of heat exhaustion and boredom. By the middle of August, I would beg for sweet mercy. Prior to my child, I considered the countless summers consisted of too much work, not enough money, and never feeling entitled to a vacation. That’s just plain no fun t’all.
But I swore not to squander this summer. If the opportunity wasn’t there, I looked ahead and jammed it in to break up the yawning schedule. We started off attending a Summer Party held by our friends Liz and Laura in Trappe. The party was a swell kid’s and community gathering. We saw Ellie hold baby Linden and pull her own tooth out. So sweet. And made new friends.
Then we enjoyed a visit from our friends Sarah and son Charlie, which I spoke of here, followed by the summer camps galore spaced out just right to give me some reprieve from the son’s seven year old mania. There was British Soccer camp at the High School, Lego robotics at Chesapeake College, and Karate camp at the Y. All got tremendous thumbs up. I was glad I eked the money out somehow. And then came our tripping.
There was a crabbing trip to Claiborne, described here,and a Fourth party at our friends in Pasadena that I’ve yet to post pictures for . One night in a mini cabin at the local state park was a random plan jammed in the calendar for something different. The post here I wrote about it summed it up perfectly. That was before our “Big” ticket trip.
My husband liked the idea we should take a trip that had educational value. Not in the mood for the Gettysburg large field of death thing or another trip to Philly so soon after the Flower Show, post here, I insisted on Williamsburg. Unlike trips of the past, I didn’t really over-think this one. We packed, glanced at an online site, got a Google trip-tick and off we headed. We had changed our overnight stay from two to three back to two nights. Mark was thinking about work, what else.
Williamsburg has lots of stuff to do. I asked all the living historians a ton of questions. My kid began to drag and complain. I promised him something really spectacular if he held his whining. So the best part of the trip for him was then the surprise Hagen Daas ice cream and pirate put-put. I became the best Mommy ever. Feeling pretty fine. So I was extra bowled over to bump into a long-lost best friend at the Williamsburg IHOP at 8:30 in the morning. She and her husband treated us to a lovely candlelight dinner at a historic Inn that night. We headed off to Jamestown the next day and made our 4 and a half hour trip via the tunnel bridge back home.
And so August went by in a whirlwind as the son and I left again four days later for a lovely short visit with another long lost best friend at her family vacation in OC, NJ. It had been 30 plus years since we’d been connected yet we clicked again like no time had passed. All so wonderful except where I hot a really bad burn in my bosom.
And finally, the final trip; an overnight at Rehoboth this week. We knew we needed our one beach trip fix. Ironically, living less than an hour away doesn’t guarantee a visit made. So I booked one night in a Comfort Inn which I liked and made sure to ask our girl Caitlin to come too. It was a family trip complete with beach time, arcade, ice cream, boardwalk fries, and another round of put-put golf. And the hotel movie Dogs and Cats accompanied by a glass of wine. Heaven. The kids slept in and we got coffee downstairs.
I can say, the only thing I missed this summer was the crab feast. Not sure how I missed it but I’m going to try to remedy that and throw a few oysters in for good measure since, in less than a week, it’ll be a month with an “R” in it! But I am definitely not saying, “Where did my summer go?” Instead, I am looking around saying, “I can’t wait to have some time to catch up on all the neglected projects”.
And since I am about to go into full tilt nesting mode, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a productive and happy fall for me too. I suspect every season of life is better than the preceding one. And instead of that old feeling of angst and anger for what I didn’t have happen, I am sporting an attitude of gratitude for all the wonderful blessings this season bestowed upon me. Old and new friends as well as old and new family. Happy Augusts’ End and Autumn’s beginning.
Dec 8, 2011
I do not get automatically in the mood for Christmas at Thanksgiving. When did that start, the tradition of having all the decorations done by the end of Black Friday? My Christmas spirit is temperamental. It needs coaxing from it’s year’s slumber. Like horniness, it needs foreplay. I decorated a fifteen foot tree at church and that didn’t do it. Maybe my mood doesn’t come until a week into December or when it gets cold.
It seems that spirit crept up on me while I wasn’t looking. I spun the garland and lights and red mesh around my doorway like a Christmas spider on the last of the warm days in December. And my husband said it looked really good. Ego boost as incentive.
We’ve planned our family outing to fetch our live tree on Sunday. It’s a thang. And today, I began to fiddle with the paper houses that are typically on the mantel in our parlor. But this year, the neighborhood is moving front and center to the living room. I found the designs in an article in Country Living in 2007. Four years later, I finally embellished my buildings completely.
My ever-changing mood and satisfaction with my tree decorations is the unknown element in the Christmas decorating season. Typically, I just strive to impress myself with something. Two years ago, the red branch chandelier was pretty fabulous. This year, I’m thinking of going somewhat minimalistic on myself and seeing if I can stand it. Brown paper flowers with red pine cones. And maybe white paper chain garlands. We’ll see how it goes. Especially when my little boy wants to help. Eeyikes Wish me luck.
Dec 5, 2011
The 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State building
Glad to say we made it to and from New York on Saturday with no major malfunctions. We were all pretty fried having gotten up at 5AM. And despite the fact that I smelled like a homeless person for the many pee stops I’d made without the benefit of a bathroom app, we enjoyed our sight-seeing gauntlet.
Although he puked on the bus going up after playing with the video game thing, the five-year son was fairly well-behaved. He stood perfectly still when told to “stay” in a loud commanding voice. We always had a hold of him. And when my husband put him up on his shoulders, he was safer and happier. He never really complained. And I held a pleasant temperament even though I saw my exhausted husband twitching now and again.
We saw the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center. We took three taxis. One took us west and south from mid-town to Ground Zero. And the next took us east and north to Bryant Park. I snapped pictures from the cab of the beautiful architecture of that old city. And we shopped. Husband and child were very patient for the shopping. I wanted to see windows and I did.
I have never visited NYC before. One trip to the Javitz Center doesn’t count. Thanks to my mother, I always thought I should be scared. But I grew up in Baltimore and have rolled around DC a little. And it felt the same to me. Yes the avenues stretch longer in front of you. But when you’re in the middle of the block, it’s all the same. It felt comfortable to me and I was surprised. And it was very clean. My mom still wanted to disagree with me when I told her this.
So thumbs up for the endeavor. Our 20-year-old charge turned 21 at midnight. Her present was the ticket to go, dinner there, and I took her for her first drink up the street at our pub after we arrived home. I was the photog to take the fateful picture. She chose an old-fashioned. The first one went down fine. The second was like battery acid in her stomach. But damn-it we did it.
And yes, we’re already figuring out what we’ll be doing the next time we go. My husband wanted to revisit the Carnegie Deli. I wanted to see Mr. Pink’s or the ABC store. And seeing play or a show would be stupendous. Or Central Park in spring. Yeah for me and my family and my children for seeing the broader world.
Oct 23, 2011
Buddy Buddy Butthead
My life took an off road adventure as of September 12. I am not sure what normal would look like if I were there. Not to worry, I’m petitioning for just OK. We’ll start there.
Four days before my birthday, I paid a very competent doctor $90 to find out I have low self-esteem and am a control freak. AHA. And then I turn 45, have family descend, go camping in the rain, and am just beginning to read the 6 books I checked out of the library on self-esteem when, Wham, my cat is shanghaied and disappears.
I have spent the past week doing everything possible to find him and trying to find a place where I can pass the grief and accept the not knowing. Tonight, I get a call from some girls who are petting him. And I am happy to say, Butthead is home. I am so relieved for me, my husband, and my kid so that we can rest and not want to start weeping when I see storm clouds. Butthead hates rain. Or feel sad when he’s not there to wait for the school bus with us like a dog. Or stop ourselves when we start the what ifs all over again.
Family is family. Whether they’re your cat named Butthead who doesn’t like being picked up and jumps up and down like popping corn when he wants to get in, or your weird uncle Joe. They’re what you’ve got.
So I’m back to working on myself, my self-esteem, and my blog again. I am thinking destiny owes me a little break here. I am feeling immensely grateful and will be looking hard at the personal reason why this happened. And the stupid is getting a collar.