A body at rest tends to fall into an exhausted coma

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I think I now moderately understand the mentality of a football player when their season comes to an end.  I have spent a great portion of my time planning a party that happened on Saturday night and now, the party has come and gone, and I feel like something is missing.

I love planning events.  I love paying attention to the smallest personalized details to make the experience memorable and let the person being celebrated feel how special they are by the little nuances that appear in the party’s finer points.IMG_0266Although the week leading up to the party had a few speed bumps, the party was a great success.  From the food choice and preparation, the slide show and the soundtrack of his past 50 years, my brother was able to celebrate his upcoming milestone with great friends and family and it was a great way to honor the special place he holds in all of our lives.

After spending the entire day in the kitchen, partying like a rock star until 3:30 in the morning, being the first up at 7:30 to prepare for breakfast and spending the next day cleaning the lodge, I came home, possibly had a little “hair of the dog” and watched the end of the Masters through barely opened eyes.  I poured myself into bed at 8:00 pm and slept solidly for 11 hours.

Physical exhaustion aside, I would do it all again next weekend!  Happy 50th Jamie…..you deserve every bit of fun that party had!

 

 

 

The birthday present that keeps giving

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The first phone call today won’t be my mom or my dad calling to wish me a happy birthday but somehow I know theirs will be the first wishes of the day.  That is how it always was and how it shall remain.  And the first face I shall see when I wake up is the same face (or close to the same face) it has been since I was a child.

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My mom made this Winnie The Pooh for my first birthday in 1970 .  Since then he has helped celebrate my successes, been suffocated in my hugs, saturated in my tears and dragged through more drama than a bear should have to face.  But his allegiance to our friendship remains just as strong now as it was then.

Birthday celebrations would not be the same without Winnie.  It may be a childish tradition but that bear represents a great deal of love and a longing to hold on to the memories that mean so much.  He has seen his share of joy and tragedy.  He has undergone facial reconstruction and some botched plastic surgery (thanks to an over-excitable Labrador Retriever that belonged to a roommate) but he never fails to hang in there to share year after year with me. He and I have weathered many successes and many ominous periods together but he still remains the same source of comfort he has always been.

I can’t imagine a birthday celebration without him.  And now that my mom is gone, Winnie is the strongest connection to her that I can still hold in my hands.  His abiding presence in my life not only allows me to look to the future but keeps me rooted in my past.

Happy birthday Winnie.  May we be together, sharing our day, for many years to come.

 

 

 

Learning to laugh at yourself

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I hope you will all indulge me this week.  March 7th looms and I would like to keep as many happy memories as I can at the forefront of my brain.  Since my mom can no longer comment on what I post, her ethereal embarrassment shall be something that will hopefully make us all smile a little.  Some of my best memories are of the funniest times in my life – the memories that made me laugh until I cried and that same laughter that made my mom wet herself.  This is one of the memories I love.

We have always been a family with pets.  Dogs have been a strong presence in our lives and in the early 1980’s mom and I would walk the dogs down the back road that was close to our house.  On one of our walks, our Golden Retriever, Brandy, decided to take it upon himself to walk our Lhasa Apso, Misty.  He took her extra-long leash in his mouth and proudly sauntered down the road, not looking back.   Only mom and I could see the leash wrapped around Misty’s body and, when there was no slack left in the long leash, Brandy dragged Misty down the road backwards for about half a kilometer.  That moment wasn’t just funny, it was absolutely hysterical and mom and I laughed so hard she peed her pants.

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Now, in the 80’s velour was all the rage.  Mom sported many matching leisure suits.  They were comfortable, they were stylish, and they were surprisingly absorbent.  But the variation in color could not hide the fact that my mom had peed her pants.  After we collected ourselves, we made our way back to the house.  We had a crowd of friends over and, knowing that, Mom was in stealth mode, maneuvering out of anyone’s peripheral to sneak in the back door and head for the laundry room in our basement.

She quickly changed her outfit and headed back up to the living room, thinking she had averted humiliation.  What she had NOT counted on, was that her traitor of a daughter had already broadcast the episode to anyone who would listen and had even thrown in some play-by-play action in slow motion.  Not only was I laughing but everyone in the room joined in, even my mom.

That day I learned one of the greatest lessons she ever taught me, even if by accident – if you can’t laugh at yourself, you will miss a great deal of enjoyment in your life.

 

 

Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!

But Mom, I really have to go….

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When I was a child, doing dishes was the worst form of torture I could ever imagine.  We didn’t have a dishwasher so dishes were all done by hand and we all took turns washing and drying to make the arduous chore seem more fair.  But it was my least favorite thing to do.  I would have much preferred vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, dry-walling, rotating and balancing tires or removing my own spleen….anything instead of washing those bloody dishes.

I don’t recall if the genius idea came to me in a dream or if I had a sudden flash of brilliance after one particular dinner but, once the meal had been consumed, I announced loudly that I had to go to the bathroom.  No parent can effectually deny a child the right to heed the call of nature, so off I went.

Once that bathroom door had closed and I had engaged the lock, I became a teenage version of a forensic pathologist.  I carefully opened each cupboard and slowly took stock of its contents.   In essence, I took so much time doing absolutely nothing that by the time I unlocked the door and went back to the kitchen, the dishes were done and nobody had seemed to notice the length of my absence.  The plan was brilliant….until eventually my brother caught on to my shrewd strategy.

After his realization of my great scheme, my trips to the bathroom after dinner were much less regular (pun intended).  The guy that I looked up to, that I thought would battle to the death for me, had thrown me under the bus.  I could only try to tune out the sound of his laughter as he closed the bathroom door before I even got close to the portal that would separate me from the dishes.  Perhaps I should have changed my strategy and just gone to the bathroom right in my chair.  That surely would have resulted in a swift and heady dismissal from the dinner table and a one-way ticket straight to my room!

As fate would have it, I don’t hate doing the dishes anymore.  I learned a very valuable lesson about cleaning as I cook so the pile of dishes at the end of the process is not larger than the house itself.  It is a rare day you will find dirty dishes in a pile in my sink.  But if you do, call the local Crime Scene Investigators because I’ve probably discovered some evidence of foul play in my bathroom!

 

Getting the lead out

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The Daily Prompt had me thinking again this morning.   This is what it had to say – “When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?”

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I vaguely remember the pre-keyboard era.  Either that, or I am trying to block it out because I do remember it and it makes me feel somewhat vintage.  I was the girl who loved to write letters to pen pals, write silly love poems, short stories and crazy plays that could only be created by an 8-year-old mind and acted out by animal puppets.

I would spend hours printing and practicing my ‘cursive’ writing.  (that word plays heavily in my vocabulary these days, but with an alternate suffix and a very dissimilar meaning!)  I loved to write so much that my wonderful penmanship turned into an obsession with calligraphy.  My doodles in high school were never flowers or hearts, but intricately designed versions of the alphabet.  There was something so satisfying about being able to create that type of flare with my own hand.

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Now the world is so different.  Millions of fonts can be downloaded with the touch of a button on the keyboard and all of that creativity I used to enjoy has been replaced by technology.  I miss the excitement of buying new ink for my calligraphy pen or having to buy new pencils because I had spent so much time writing that they had all been worn down to little nubs of wood and lead.

Although I began writing my novel in longhand, the novelty wore off when I realized how much faster I could record the ideas on ‘paper’ by using a keyboard.  I do miss the days of the natural flow of ideas from brain to pen or pencil and didn’t have to tune out the incessant clacking of the keys.  Oh, how we suffer now for our arts.  ;)

 

 

It was never this difficult when I was a child

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“It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” ~ Steve Jobs

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“NO” is the most common word to ever come out of a child’s mouth.  It’s an instinctual response to any question or suggestion for anyone under the age of three and that response is never second-guessed.  So why now, when we have the ability to reason and make an informed decision, based on what is best for us, do we find it so hard to utter that simple word, and mean it?

“No” is a complete sentence.  It does not require any justification, nor does it need an explanation.  It is a succinct and pithy response that needs no further words to make its meaning understood.

For us to procure as much happiness as we can from each day we are afforded in this lifetime, we must learn to make our decisions by putting our happiness first.  We must set boundaries for ourselves and embrace and listen to the most important voice we will ever hear – our own.  It’s human instinct to want to please other people by saying yes, but how much of ourselves are we giving up by agreeing so quickly and not allowing that inner voice to offer its opinion.

If the answer in your heart is ‘no’, find a gentle way of not accepting the offer or challenge and let that three-year old voice in your head speak for both of you.