Monday, February 20, 2012

Is It Just One President? Or All of 'Em?

Happy President's Day!

That's a typo.  I know, I'm a word nerd.  I get that.  In fact, I like it more than a little bit.  When I was a kid, this holiday was called George Washington Day.  I had a little friend whose birthday fell on this day one year, so her mom planned a George Washington themed birthday party.  Out of all the birthday parties I attended as a kid, why is it that this is one of the few that stand out?  No idea.  But, I do remember coloring apples, bobbing for apples and eating apple pie (so crafty that mom, no?).

But I digress, at some point along the way, the holiday's moniker was changed to include all presidents (or is it just Washington and Jefferson?  Or just all the "good ones"?).  Hence:  President's Day.  But wait!  The way this is spelled assumes one singular president, possessive.  It should read "Presidents' Day" - plural, possessive.  Okay, that's our grammar lesson for today, folks.   No more.  I promise.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Some Good News Here"

I must give proper credit, right off the bat, to Jean Whately, my friend in writing, and a fellow co-conspirator in trying to figure out the meaning of life, love and everything in between.  Her most recent post was the catalyst for this one...

Valentine's Day.  Conjours up images of cupid... red and pink hearts... love.

I know there are many of you out there who are looking forward to celebrating.  Maybe it's a tradition to have dinner out with your spouse.  A night free of kids, a little contrived romance, penciled in on the calendar.  What else to do when you're running a household, raising a family?

Many others out there still feel that trepidation, like high school all over again.  There is this NEED to celebrate the day, to not spend it alone.

Still others are nursing a broken heart this Valentine's day.  This post is for you.

Back in 1996, Just 8 months after my wedding day, I found out I was pregnant.  I was thrilled.  Seven weeks later, I miscarried.  Sitting in my OB/GYN's office, a box of kleenex in my hand, my doctor leaned forward and gently reminded me that there was actually "some good news here."  The fact that I'd miscarried meant that I could, in fact, get pregnant.  He suggested I wait a month and try again.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, my thinking is this.  Just like miscarriage (divorce, death), it's important to remember that if we've fallen in love once - deeply, passionately, without reservation or restraint (even as our heart lies broken on the side of the road), there is "some good news here" too, no?  It means we are capable of falling deeply, madly in love AGAIN.

It may not be as simple as it should be.  And certainly, it's not as perfect as it's shown in the movies. Really, how often does it happen that eyes meet across a crowded room, and the crowd falls away as the crescendo of a thousand violins fills the air? And even when that rare moment does occur, the road is paved with bumps, my friend.  Pot holes.  Craters even.  Believe you, me.

I used to hear Don Henley crooning on the radio about how "sometimes love just ain't enough," and I'd cry B.S.  Sure it's enough!  Just send it my way, it'll be enough!  Oh, Mr. Henley was so right, wasn't he? If you've been there, you know exactly what I mean.  Sometimes... it's just not enough.

But I digress!  If you're hurting instead of loving this year, take heart (okay, that pun might have been intended).  You're hurting because you were capable of an all encompassing love.  And it'll come back to you.  Just wait.

And if by the luck of the draw, or fate, or hard liquor, you are in love this year... More power to you - enjoy!

Author's Note: In my own mental inventory of years' past, many romantic nights (and days) come to mind.  But not one of them fell on February 14th.  Further proof that true romance, real passion can not be planned.  

Happy Valentine's Day to all.  And especially to the three loves of my life...Connor, Jack, and Ella.

Friday, February 10, 2012

In My Life

I'm listening to the Beatles this morning.   While all their songs resonate with me, there is one on my playlist in particular this morning.  "In My Life."  It goes a little something like this:

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

At the tender, confused age of 15, armed with my crisp, new worker's permit and a racing heart, I stepped through the doors of a local pizza place and got my first real job.  Dennis took a chance on me, and I became just another "counter girl" at a little pizza place called Noble Roman's.  I wasn't blond, but I was certainly ditzy.  I answered the phone, folded empty pizza boxes, rung up pick-up orders and stocked the salad bar.

The place was filled with teenagers, although I was one of the youngest in that motley crew.  Along with being the youngest, I was also one of the only "private school kids" working there.  I wasn't sure where I fit among them.  Rockers, all. Smokers, most. 70s hippie kids, some.  With a pack of Marlboros at the ready, I fit with most.  But, it may have been the only thing I had in common, at least at first.  I worked there for a total of five years, so really, this is where I grew up.

But I Digress... I loved them all.  They made me laugh (oftentimes at myself), and collectively they made work my favorite place to be.  Some were better friends to me than others.  I fell in and out of love with one or two of them, but all of them were good people.

Today I'm thinking about one of them in particular.  Matto was a few years older than me.  About my height, medium build, blonde hair.  Every memory I have of him is kind.  We partied together.  We smoked together during breaks, me cracking up over his very dry sense of humor.  He always had a smile, and always seemed happy, laid-back, like nothing really got to him.

Matto was what we call "good people."

About a week ago, I had lunch with another of these Noble Roman's employees - really, the only one I am still in touch with after all these years (19, but who's counting?).  The first thing he said to me when I got in his car for lunch was, "Matto said to tell you 'hello'."  "Awww," I responded, "I love him!  How is he?  Please tell him 'Hi' for me."  He promised to do so.

Matto died a few days later.  A massive coronary took his life way too soon.

We'll all say our goodbyes at his funeral service today.  And it will be good to see all those faces, most of whom I haven't seen in almost two decades.  But as a writer, I guess this is my way of saying goodbye.

I am sorry that I didn't get a chance to say "hi" to you in person, Matto.  Another reminder that life is too short, and we shouldn't wait to pick up the phone, open our arms, make time.

Rest in Peace, old friend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Stand aside, I've got this." OR "Wait, what's a 7/10 split again?"

I'm not a bowler.  Nor do I play one on tv.

But, seriously, how hard can it be?  You've got a wooden lane at the end of which, in orderly fashion, stand 10 pins.  You take one, shiny ball the size of a 4th grade classroom globe, and throw it (under hand, mind you) down said lane, with the intent of knocking down the aforementioned pins.

Easy enough.

Yeah, right.  This is not a game to be taken lightly.  This is serious business.  10 frames is all you get.  At best, 2 chances per frame to get those godforsaken pins to fall, domino like, one into the next, so as not to leave a single pin standing.

I am competitive by nature.  I don't particularly like to lose.  Who does?  It feels good to win, or to at least be seen putting up a pretty good fight.  Last night, on the lanes, I did not appear to put up much of a fight at all.  Although, after three games, some sort of blind luck kicked in (or maybe it was just the bowling gods feeling sorry for me).  I actually broke 100...and won (by a mere 3 points, but still...).

But I digress.  I may not be a great bowler, but I did have a great time.  Despite the 3-1 loss.

When the weather turns, I'll be hitting the links, and hoping that I fair better on the fareway than on the lanes.

Stay tuned come April...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Why It Takes a Mom Longer to Get Well

Strep Throat.  I don't think I've had it before.  If I have, it's been a damn long time.  Let me tell you, it's miserable.  It hit me Tuesday morning. It is now Saturday afternoon, and I'm finally, finally feeling better.  My 12 year-old came down with it on Wednesday.  He's up and running today.  It hit my 14 year-old yesterday.  He's already good to go.

Why is it that it's taking me so long to recover?  Could it be because despite the diagnosis, despite the attempted rest, I still had client emails to reply to, spreadsheets to update and budgets to finalize?  Or maybe it's because just when I sat down to rest, my three kids were home, hungry for dinner, bored, out of clean clothes.

Or possibly, it was the fact that one by one they fell sick, like dominoes.  And needed me.  Or rather, I needed to take care of them.  It's what I do.  I've determined that I'd much rather take care of the sick than be the sick.  Who wouldn't?

So, I administered medicine, heated soup, filled cups, checked temperatures.  And attempted to get well myself. A mom can't afford to get sick.  We don't have TIME.

Throughout this week, my 6 year-old daughter has remained (knock wood) healthy.  Which, technically, is a good thing, right?  But, it also meant that she had more energy than the rest of us put together.  She wanted to play, read books, build legos, and on and on.  Is it horrible of me to think that if she just had a touch - the slightest touch - of this Strep, that she might slow down, lie on the couch, take naps like the rest of us?  Horrible, I know.  I'm a terrible mother.  Just awful.

But I digress, we are all on the mend.  I'm feeling human again.  Hell, I've even showered and dried my hair!  Today I am wiping every visible surface with antibacterial clorox wipes, scrubbing the kitchen and baths, washing every sheet, pillow case and blanket in hot water.

I'm still tired.  But, there is a Super Bowl tomorrow, and if anyone is still brave enough to enter through our front door, the least I can do is lose the germs.