Lemme Break It Down…
Thus the New Year enters…..
Where have I been? you may ask. I’ve been around. The holidays took up a good bit of time. Family took up a good bit more. On the whole, December was an awesome month. I just didn’t blog about it that’s all.
**I spent a few days with Logan without the distraction of family. He slept most of the time of course, but I got to snuggle him.
**December 8th was my mom’s birthday. I didn’t forget it. But I DID forget that it was her SEVENTIETH! Holy shit! What kind of daughter am I to forget that?! I’ll tell you what kind. The kind that also forgot that December 9th was Mom and Dad’s FIFTIETH anniversary. My brothers and sister gave me a lot of grief for that. According to them, since I am the oldest, it is MY responsibility to keep track of these things. I should have planned something big for that. Well, the sibs and I did discuss this back in August. The problem was that work was slowing down for my brothers, my sister wanted something huge with a small price tag and it was too close to the holidays, so the idea was scrapped. We all ended up being at Mom and Dad’s house that night anyway with champagne and Logan. We all agreed to go out for dinner the following week. Joe and his wife weren’t in a place to afford going, but I offered to cover his bill as his birthday was the day after the dinner. Dan offered to pay for Mom and Dad. We went out to dinner-all four of us kids and our spouses as well as Babygirl and Son1. We had a wonderful evening. We sat drinking and laughing and finally waiting and waiting for the bill. Finally my brother Dan asked the waitress to bring it, as we were all ready to leave. She said it had already been paid. My husband paid for it all. All he asked was that they cover the tip generously. And they did. When I asked why he had done that, he said because he knew it meant alot to me to be with the family without stress. And he was right. He told everyone Merry Christmas.
**I spent time with Babygirl and my girlfriends in Center City Philadelphia. We saw a traditional Holiday light show, did more than a little shopping and did lunch/dinner at a very nice restaurant. It was a wonderful day full of laughter and friendship. It is something that we hope to make a tradition for ourselves.
**Christmas Eve was the usual family night. Lots of people, lots to drink and the ONLY time that I went to bathroom, my nephews banged on the door yelling “Aunt Chrissy! Santa Clause is here and he’s looking for YOU!” What the hell? I ran out of the bathroom to see him standing in the middle of my living room, speaking not a word to anyone in the house. He leaned to me and said “Merry Christmas, bitch!” It was my friend Nancy dressed up. I laughed so hard my sides ached. It was a wonderful cherry on the top of the evening. I mean, really! How often does anyone get called a ‘bitch’ by Santa?
The ring on the top is the fake. He did a good job of matching it, no?
**Christmas came and I got gems. I had bought a fake gem ring to wear with an outfit and I loved it. Unfortunately, it was beginning to tarnish and I was sad about that. Hubs remedied that by getting me a real one. I love it. I also love Logan. He is at a cute age where he imitates sticking his tongue out, he laughs and smiles constantly. He certainly brings a new level of joy to the holidays.
**The Friday after Christmas, Hubs had his teeth pulled. This has been a long time coming. It was his Christmas gift to himself. Unfortunately for me, he got all but two pulled and it took alot out of him. And so, I am paying for all the joys he has given me by nursing him through this. We are spending every waking hour together…..every…..waking……hour. I can’t wait for retirement…<–insert sarcastic voice here!
So you see, my friends, I am here, I am busy and I am happy. I just can’t believe that I went almost a whole month away from here. I hope your holidays were full of joys and family. I wish you love, laughter and prosperity in the new year.
I love you all.
Labor Day Nostalgia
Labor Day. A time to reflect on all those who have built this country on the sweat of their brows and strength of their backs. A time to thank God that you have a job when so many do not. And of course, a time to spend with family and friends at a BBQ or at the shore….good food, cold drinks, and great times.
It is holidays like this that make me miss my in-laws the most.
They were the ones with the biggest yard, most parking and two bathrooms. Mom and Dad’s house was the place for everyone to stop in to say hello and end up staying because someone would offer to light the grill. Tom1 and Tom2 would offer to cook the food. The ‘sisters’ would offer to make salads and whatever. Nieces and nephews would show up with wading pools, water guns, bubbles etc, and most importantly…..the horseshoes.
Children’s laughter would ring out. The clank of horseshoes followed by the men yelling over whether it was a ringer or not. The women would compare recipes, discuss school schedules, or just bitch about their husbands. Since we lived four doors away, and another sister was next door to us, the kids would run up and down the block, and play stickball in the street, or get juice and snacks away from their mom’s watchful eyes.
Now, with Mom and Dad gone, the house is owned by my SIL. She loves family too, but is impatient with babies. She would like everyone to visit, but please go home after an hour. I understand that. Hubs is much the same way. For a while, BBQs were held at another sister’s house, but then the kids became young adults with kids of their own. Her house just couldn’t handle the number of people.
Besides, it isn’t the same.
Mom and Dad aren’t there. Dad isn’t nodding off on the couch. Mom isn’t complaining about the footprints left by the kids or the bugs getting into the house. She had a way of doing that was a million laughs to imitate. It was always a welcoming time. If you had plans, you just didn’t show up. If you didn’t have anything to do, someone would be there to hang out with. Kids would bring their friends…..all of which called them ‘Grandmom and Grandpop”.
We could do it all today. Have a party full of people, food and drink. We’d laugh and have a great time.
And we’d miss Mom and Dad…..even after four years.
On The Road Again…
No shit, it has been awhile.
There isn’t much going on here that is exciting for y’all. I’ve just been spending time with Hubs and Bandit. The weather has been pretty crappy. (Not as crappy as everyone dealing with the flooding and the tornadoes. What’s up with that??) It’s just been cold and then hot. It’s been cloudy and there’s no way to tell what is rain and what isn’t. It just sucks.
We visited Holly for Easter. That was pretty nice. We got a motel room and spent Saturday night first having dinner with her and the boyfriend and then just chilling in the hotel. For Easter, we went out for breadfast together and then back to the dorm for “trip one” of bringing her stuff home. I think next year, she’d better not pack everything that she owns!
Today I packed for the next adventure…Pittsburgh PA, to visit with Becky, aka Hellohahanarf. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh long enough to look around so this is exciting for me. From there, we will go to Cincinnati to kidnap SybilLaw to join our little caravan. And the final leg of our trip will take us to Bagwine OH and a party with MattMan and his gal Schmoop. This will be an epic gathering. Following Bagwine, we will take Sybil home and party with Sodapop and Laci. Hubs has already said that this is the last time I can take off on him for this year. (We’ll see about that…)
And so. I never finished this yesterday and I sit here with the news on…..looking at the horrid devastation that visited Alabama, Georgia, and many other southern states. There are also severe weather warnings for the state of Pennsylvania and of course that is for when Bubblewench and I hit the road. Don’t worry, she is a very safe driver and will stop rather than drive through the crap. I’m taking you with me, so I’ll update when I can.
Let the adventure begin….
Well, I did it! I took baby steps and managed to finish things up. After trying to do a million things at once, I got overwhelmed and nearly got to the point of tears. Every room was torn up in some form and nothing seemed to be getting done. A friend called to remind me about “baby steps” and lemme tell ya, it is advice that I give out frequently and yet fail to take myself.
I went room by room and just concentrated on that. Doing it that way made things easier, but it meant that the living room was a mess for three days. Last night, I finally got the last of the boxes put away, the floor was vacuumed and the cards and stockings were hung. When I stood back to look, I was amazed at how lovely it looked. I have kept my sofas uncovered for a change and I plan on leaving them that way for a while.
Today I have baked…and baked…and baked. My nephew Ethan made a return visit with his mom and four siblings. (This is something that has never happened before at the holidays.) I’m sure that I will make this a tradition. Seeing the kids-not just family, but friends too- went a long way to getting my mood changed.
We baked, we laughed and they left. I shopped for the party with Hubs and gathered the last minute goodies. Babygirl and I wrapped all but three or four of the remaining presents. (Something else that is new for this year!)
And now, I sit with a drink, listening to some music before I head to bed. I’ll get up, straighten a few things, cook a few things and shower. At five, Hub’s family will converge on my house for food, gifts and lots of joy. I’ll see my side of the family on Saturday and perhaps spend Sunday in recovery.
To all of my friends…those who stop in now or even later…have the happiest of holidays. Even if there are presents lacking, find joy in being with your loved ones. Thank your God (or Goddess) for even the tiniest crumb that may be on your plates. Thank them….for there are many more without homes, food or families.
If we can make our way to a computer, if we can read, if we have ONE person to smile at….
We are fortunate.
I could…… tell you that I am hunky dory, full of life and joy and other such stuff and nonsense, but I would be full of shit. I could….tell you that my house is the picture of holiday cheer, but again, I would be full of shit. I could….tell you about the wonderous anticipation I am feeling for the holidays……but there we have that shit again.
I do have lights up. I do have my tree up and before I go to bed tonight, Babygirl and I will have it adorned with ornaments full of memories. I have started baking. Just this past Saturday, I had Son1, Shenanigans and Jazz over here, along with Babygirl, my niece Alex and another friend and his son. We made pizzelles, and chocolate chip cookies. It was day full of laughter and fun. I was very much full of spirit. When everyone left, Hubs and I ran out for a few gifts and then had drinks.
But I still feel like something is missing. I don’t know what it is.
It’s like eating an apple…a beautiful, ripe, red apple that fills my mouth with it’s sweet, juicy goodness. As I crunch into it, I am happy……until I find a worm. No matter that I haven’t bitten said worm, it is there and the enjoyment of the apple is marred. Get it? That’s as close as I can get to describing the feeling.
I am very much “in the moment”. I am very happy when I’m with the family, with friends, shopping, baking, wrapping…. But when I am finished, when everyone leaves, when the paper and bows get put away, the feelings are similarly put away. Am I sad? No, not really. I’m not tired. I’m not sick. I just…….am.
I hope I can rouse myself enough to post again BEFORE Christmas. I want everyone to have a wonderful holiday. I want you know how much I love you all. I don’t want this particular post to be the one that sits here through the weekend.
This weekend I did some shopping at the King of Prussia mall with Son1 and Shenanigans. I was there once upon a time…..like when it opened “the Court” section in 1981. Back then, I was the mom of one-year-old Son1 and I was relatively broke. I went with a girlfriend who tried to talk me into spending $25 for a pair of white cotton ‘granny panties’ that said “Bloomingdale’s”. In all the interim years, the only thing that never changed about that mall was that it consisted of the higher end stores.
Flash forward to this Saturday. It was obvious from the parking lot that things were very different from the mall less than a couple of miles away from my house. The parking lot was full of Volvos, BMW’s and Hummers. Groups of shoppers were leaving the mall laden with bags from Michael Kors, Coach, and Tiffany’s. The girls headed into the malls wore their high heels and pricey boots. The guys were well-coifed and looked like ads from GQ Magazine. I felt out of place, even though I actually “dressed up” to go shopping!
The three of us had a great time. We window shopped, pointing out things for our “wish” lists. We imagined the ways that our homes would look if we could afford the things that were sold in some of the artsy stores. We stopped for lunch and ate Cajun food, something we talk about doing but never have the opportunity to do. While we ate, we watched the people who walked by us. Not only were the stores, and prices ‘higher’, but the shoppers were…..I don’t know the exact word…..
Girls walked by looking down their noses at each other, they pulled merchandise from racks and shelves, and then threw them back with disdain, as though cashmere sweaters weren’t good enough to touch their skin. The guys were in two groups, the ones who absolutely loved shopping and knew where to go and what to buy and the ones who were only there to kill time. Little kids whined until they got whatever they wanted and the parents……
The parents all seemed like they were somewhere else mentally. It was like a ‘chore’ to be there. They were on their phones arguing about whether to get the kids what they wanted or to get them what they needed to go on vacation. Some argued with their kids “No, they only have that bag in brown……But it’s not in black…..What do you want to do?….Fine, then ask your father to take you….I don’t care really….Don’t come home, it’s his night….”
The lights were bright and twinkling. The music wasn’t too loud but it was quite festive. Babies sat on Santa’s lap.
If I could ignore everyone except Son1 and Shenanigans, I could be in the holiday spirit. If I let the others in, I could be depressed by the lack of …. would it be ‘lack of humanity’? a ‘lack of joy’? a ‘lack of family warmth’? People pushed by us without a single “Excuse me” It was normal to hear “Tsk!” , followed by the loud-whisper “OMG, did you see that? How rude!”
I ignored the outside world. I enjoyed my day with Son1 and Shenanigan. I am going shopping tomorrow with an old friend. We’ll be going to a different mall. I am curious to see if this is normal behavior this year, or if this weekend’s adventure was an anomaly. I hope that people aren’t so indifferent this season…….
I am thankful for the laughter of friends
the old and the new ones,
I pray it never ends.
I am thankful for work (for Hubs more than me)
I wish jobs for all of you
so we could be worry-free.
I am thankful for a roof that shelters my head
for my tv, my laptop
and my comfy new bed.
I am thankful for family, for those far and near
for the love that I feel
for those I hold dear.
I wish you all happiness and health on this day
Hug your loved ones real tight
On this Thanksgiving Day
Sooo…..long time, no blog…
What’s new? Well…..let’s see….The weather has been nice and I’ve taken advantage of it–throwing the windows open and enjoying the breeze that blows in. I love when my house smells like fresh air instead of ‘air conditioned’ and ‘febrezed’ air. I’ve enjoyed my morning coffee outside in the back yard with my dog. What else….?
That’s about it.
Tomorrow I am off for an overnight with the gals. We plan on swimming, cooking out, camping out, and hanging out. I need some girl time and Hubs needs some ‘stupid movie and naps’ time. Both of us are looking forward to the time apart, as well as the ‘reunion’ on Sunday evening!
I hope all of you enjoy the long weekend. Eat, drink, and make merry with your friends and families. Have fun at your barbecues, parades and fireworks.
And remember that little thing called Freedom……and thank your lucky stars and stripes that we have it!!
Memorial Day Memory
Memorial Day brings with it memories of barbecues past. When we got married, we began spending Memorial Day with my girlfriend Sue and her family in Brigantine, NJ. Every year, we would drive to their house and we’d stay until late Monday night. Eventually they moved away from the beach but we continued being with them until about seven years ago when her parents decided that they were too old to continue playing host to all of their friends and family.
When Son1 was 7 and Son2 was 2, I almost lost both of my sons. We had gone to the beach and it was a glorious day. I was sunning on the beach, catching up with Sue and just enjoying the day. Hubs was walking the waterline with Son2 , not far from where Son1 was splashing in the shallow waves. At some point Son1 ventured out just a bit further and got caught by the undertow. One second he was there and the next he was gone. Hubs looked to where he had been and he barely caught sight of our son struggling over 100 feet away from where he had disappeared. Hubs let go of Son2’s hand and swam out to sea. Son2 tried to follow Daddy and he too got tugged out.
I have no idea how I saw what was happening. Perhaps God intervened. Whatever it was, I ran out into the surf. Within five feet, the ocean floor gave way and I was suddenly underwater. I barely found the bottom with my feet. It wasn’t sand that I found however. I was barely balanced on the jagged rocks of an underwater part of the jetty.
I looked ahead of me and my heart dropped. My baby was floating face down. I reached out and grabbed him and squeezed him to me.
And I froze. The waves were rough and all I could do was to hold onto Son2 and barely keep my head above water. In my panic, I looked further out to sea and saw my husband holding my older son and treading water.
As if from far away, I heard someone calling to me, “Give me the baby!” The last thing I wanted to do was to relinquish my grip on my son. I turned my head and a man looked deeply into my eyes. “It’s okay, honey. Just give me the baby and we’ll get you out of the water.” Over his shoulder, I could see that onlookers had managed to make a human chain. They had to forceably pull me and my son to shore. Others raced along the jetty and grabbed my husband and my other son.
We were lucky that, being a toddler, Son2 had breathed in deep in order to cry. That breath had filled his lungs and kept him buoyant. Once he was out of the water, he was just very angry and cried. Son2 was blue and that was due to the coldness of the deeper water. Hubs and I? We were white as ghosts.
I shudder to think of what happened that day. Memorial Day isn’t considered “season” in Brigantine and there were no lifeguards yet. Thank God for the roughly two dozen people who were there to help us. I could have lost my entire family that day.
On Memorial Day, I always think of the many soldiers who gave their lives for freedoms that I enjoy. I pray for each and every one.
But I also remember the ‘everyday heroes’ who were there….to spend a day at the beach ….. and instead were there to protect my sons, my husband and myself. I never got a single name, but I never forget a single one of them.
Three Good Things
If you read the last post, then you know that I was dreading the thought of spending time with my family. I managed to get away with telling them that we were taking a long drive to look at some work. We figured that we’d stop in and see them on Mother’s Day instead.
Our plan for Sunday was to visit with Mom and Dad early in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon, we planned on seeing Iron Man 2 and then heading out to dinner. Armed with an excuse to leave early, we set off for the day.
Opening weekend for movies can be crazy at our local theater. Knowing this, our first stop was to pick up our tickets for the 5 pm show. And then we went to Mom’s.
Good thing #1– Noddy, their badly behaved beast of a dog, was strangely calm. He never once jumped on me or Hubs. This is good because that animal could have knocked us down. How do I know this? Because he bulldozed Dad away from me when he hugged me hello.
Good thing #2– No one else was there. No sister or brothers. No kids…not even my own. Dad and Hubs sat down-with the television off! They sat and talked and laughed. I can’t remember the last time I heard laughter between the two of them. It was great. Mom and I went into the kitchen, where she was cooking a roast. Her house smelled so good. And then we talked…..and talked…..and talked.
Yes, it was a very good visit. Mom even said that we were lucky to have avoided the gathering the day before. Apparently, there was some tension and Mom hadn’t been in the mood to have everyone there. She said that it had been the type of day that “you wouldn’t keep your mouth shut. I kept thinking that ‘this is when Chrissy would have thrown everyone out of the house’ Thank God she isn’t here!”
Before I knew it, it was almost 4pm. We had to leave if we were going to make it home and then to the movies. We hugged my parents and said our goodbyes.
As we drove off the block, Hubs turned to me and said, “You know, I actually had a good time. It certainly is different visiting without everyone else there.”
I had to agree. If we hadn’t already bought those tickets, I think we would have stayed much longer. Instead we walked away with one more thing:
Good thing #3- The plan for Father’s Day and next Mother’s Day is to take them out for dinner…..just the four of us. We’ll do it a week ahead of time and we’ll also come right out and let them why we want it this way. I am looking forward to doing this next month.
I had a Mother’s Day with my Mom that didn’t end with tears or hurt feelings. It ended with love and hope for something better.