Friday, May 27, 2011

Back When I Was a Kid...

Today is the last day of school for the kids around here and while I don't yet* have a school-ager, it has me longing for the summer vacations of years past.

Summers of my childhood involved secret forts with strict no-boys-allowed policies and super-secret passwords to be allowed in, playing house and fighting over who got to be named "Kate," begging and pleading for money for the ice cream man and plucking stalks of rhubarb from the garden to eat them raw.  A clown-head sprinkler on hot days, homemade popsicles and gulping down glasses of Kool-aid before returning outside to our bikes, dolls or jungle gym.  We climbed trees, swam in horse tanks, spent days at a time with each set of grandparents and suffered through swim lessons.

We had the best summers - carefree and easy.

I want to be 8 again.


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*The local school board passed the 2012-13 school year so I now know Elliot's first day of school will be Tuesday, August 14, 2012.  Freaky.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Things I Would Say to the 15 Year Old Me

I was walking back from lunch today and noticed a woman wearing a Surf Style windbreaker*- nearly the exact one I got from my then-boyfriend Joe back in the 10th grade.  Popular for about as long as it took you to get hot in one (read: 10 minutes), this hideous thing brought back a flushing of memories.

A.  The plastic-y purple monster was an obvious knockoff.
B.  The "matching" shorts were green.
C.  HE CHEATED ON YOU!

By the time I got to item C in my head, I was grinning like an idiot just seconds away from guffawing right there in the middle of 14th Street.

If I could go back to 1994 and let myself in on a few things, I'd likely be better off.  For starters, I'd let myself know that he was cheating on me from the beginning. 

Second, I'd tell myself that those red jeans never were, or would be, cool.  Neither would my uber-flat hair with that ridiculous puff of bangs.  Stop rolling the sleeves of shirts and peg-rolling jeans.  Esprit bags were cool in Nebraska in 6th grade when I couldn't get your hands on one - not in 10th grade in Ohio where they were probably never popular to begin with.

I might even try to warn myself about my future and how my first love is years away but that I will find real love when I'm not looking - and his name will be Fred.  And he's a real person.

No, seriously, his name is Fred.  Yes, he's our age.  Yes. 
Actually, it's Freddie with an i-e.  I know, right?**

I'll be living "the dream" by my early 30's happily married, owning a home with a fence, driving my preschooler around to his sports commitments in a small SUV and taking family vacations to Walt Disney World.

But that to get there, I'll do stupid things in college and make (and lose) great friends along the way.  I'll date a variety of guys: addicts, just plain crappy, possessive, too nice and mommas boys and get the worst haircut of my life on Halloween Day in 1998.  I'll seriously cry it was so bad.  Bawl like a baby.

[How bad was it?  SHE CHOPPED LAYERS IN MY HEAD BY GOING AROUND ME IN CIRCLES SNIP SNIP SNIPPING AWAY.  The top of my head had hair about 2 inches long when she was done.]

I'll live in a handful of states before returning 'home' to Nebraska just in time to lose both of my remaining grandparents.  I will be a terrible Maid of Honor at my sister's wedding - but didn't know any better at the time - and try to make up for it by being a good Aunt to her children and good sister to her.

I will learn things the hard way and it will be because both, I didn't know any better and I'm bull-headed and stubborn and won't see it any other way but my own. 

Simply put, I'll live life.

I just wish someone would've told me not to wear that denim jumper in my Senior Pictures... that decision will haunt me forever.  *shudders*


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*I've done you the favor of Google Image searching it, results here.
**Cindy and Jim - You picked a lovely family name for your son.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts on Life

My life hasn't been perfect these last 3 weeks as I've had 2.5 rounds of a stomach virus and my pleas of death have fallen on deaf ears.  And as I comically ask for my own demise, I have been - instead - reminded of just how fragile life truly is.

I visited a friend in the hospital last night who was there to have a "quick procedure" following a miscarriage.  While rooting around they found a bunch of other problems that, after being taken care of during a then-extended surgery, most likely saved her life. 

To think that these problems were completely unknown blows my mind.  But to know that had she carried the baby to term all of her symptoms would likely have been brushed off as some of those weird things pregnancy does to a body.  I cannot imagine what feelings she is struggling with right now - knowing that her baby is gone but that she is (and will be) still here.

In my crafty world, I'm working on some t-shirt quilts for a family that lost their dad unexpectedly.  Each kid picked out the shirts that most reminded them of their dad and I have been tasked with building a quilt to hold these memories. 

I don't know this family personally but do know how difficult it has been for me to construct the quilt knowing that I am working with a man's entire life laid out in the shirts he owned; I can't imagine how hard it was for them to pick through and only select a certain number.  What I asked of them now seems entirely impossible.

Life is just that - life.  A collection of beings moving in and out of each others' lives each each day someone new is added and someone old is taken.  It's kind of a lot to grasp.

To say my empathy is in overdrive this week is an understatement.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Decide

So, what's worse:
A.  I was sick as a dog AGAIN, or
B.  The office toilet is nastier than mine at home thanks to the Office Pooper?

Decide and get back to me, yeah?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Video killed the radio star

Anna has been asking me to post some video for a while. We got a new camera (like over a year ago) and while it takes better video, the file format is not as user friendly. So I haven't made hardly any videos in the last year. This morning I tried a new video editing software (which is quite advanced) and I was at least able to at least put together a few clips we had taken this spring, ending with Elliot's first race this week (he's on the inside lane). With some more practice, hopefully I will get better.


video

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Just a Phase... It's Just a Phase... It's. Just. A. Phase.

Fact:  Elliot doesn't like his mom right now.  He's gone beyond 'favoring' Fred and into full-on not liking me.

Supporting Evidence:  My name is often Wicked Witch or Mr. DaddyPants and when I told him 'I love you' this weekend, he retorted with 'I love Dad.'  I ask to put him to bed and he flees from me as though I asked that with a chainsaw in hand.

Proof:  All pictures from this Mother's Day weekend are of him and Fred.


And me, of course, following behind them taking pictures.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Got Plans?

Every Tuesday night until the end of June, we'll be watching the most adorable ensemble of kids in matching track uniforms run, jump and throw their way through Little Green Track Club practice.

If you ever find yourself bored on a Tuesday, join us for this cuteness.

More pictures here

[Edited to Add:  Hey Locals - practices/meets are on Tuesdays at 6:30p.m. at Nebraska Wesleyan, just 2 blocks north of 56th and Leighton Streets.]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Hero Drove an El Camino

I spied an El Camino on my drive into work today that immediately flooded back one specific memory from my childhood: my sister and I were nearly kidnapped.  Isn't it funny how that happens?

The bus dropped us off at the end of a dirt road that would get us home quicker than riding the bus all along its route and back into our neighborhood - something we opted for daily.  Many memories of mine involve that road with finding cool stuff (read: crap) in the ditch, racing to beat the rain and general goofing off. 

My memories of exactly what happened are a bit sketchy and I'm not even sure how old I was at the time - but I had to have been between 6 and 9 years old.

My sister and I got off the bus and started walking down the road, same as always only this time a giant-at-the-time conversion van pulled up and the passenger started talking to us.  He offered us a ride and the driver climbed through the back and opened up the side door, also offering us a ride.  I distinctly remember feeling like this was weird but that whatever my older sister would do, I would do the same.  She told them our house was close and they told us they knew that already and that they just wanted to give us a ride home.

We're about 2 seconds from climbing up into the van when I turn back and see my dad's El Camino barrelling down the dirt road and I yelled at Jen that it was him.  In the time it took me to turn back toward the van, doors were closed and it was speeding off.

My dad jammed his brakes and yelled at us to get in the back, something I remember doing very vividly without any thought other than how much his voice was scaring me. Jen gave me that look and we climbed in, sat down and stared at each other wide-eyed, not really sure what was going on.  I don't remember much after that.

Later conversations with my parents and sister have provided a few more details that leave me shaken and shaking my head in disbelief that it even happened.

We were nearly kidnapped a mere 2 blocks from our home.  My dad got off work early that day for some reason.  AND?  He rarely drives on dirt roads but thought he might catch us walking home that day.  Imagine his shock when he sees his two very young daughters about to climb in a stranger's van.

After dropping us off at the house, my mom said he drove around for some time looking for that van but never found it. 

I can only imagine what he would've done if he had found it.  Or them.

I doubt I said it then:  Thanks, Dad.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What I Was Doing Before I Tried to Die

My sister has a little more craftiness in her than she lets on - this completely justified by the darling napkins she sent me last week sewn with designer fabrics and hand embroidered.  A set of 5, I now have a napkin for each day of the work week so that my packed lunches are just a bit brighter.  [Her post on the napkins, here.]

It reminded me instantly of napkins I'd get from my mom in the elementary years.  Just a little something doodled on the corner - a quick way for my mom to tell me she loves me without having to be mortally embarrassed in front of all my friends.

Feeling much too snooty to carry around nice napkins stuffed in paper bags with my plastic-wrapped sandwich, I took to the Internets to find a lunch bag tutorial; via Sew, Mama, Sew, I found a quick and easy tute from The Long Thread here.  I picked up a few coordinating pieces of fabric and by the end of Friday night, this little beauty was created to go with my darling napkins:


I took pictures on Saturday before I tried to die but haven't been among the living long enough yet to get them posted.  So, tomorrow - my first day back among the living - I not only am posting pictures (hooray!) but I packed myself a sweet little lunch and tucked the Tuesday napkin in on top. 

It's sure to be the best tasting sandwich and chips I've had in years.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Indecision is a Killer

I hate making decisions.  So when it's 1:30am and I have to decide where my insides should explode out of my body from, just know I'm not going to make the decision in time.

Someone kill me.