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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

It’s opening night for my granddaughter’s middle school musical!

Y’all know I’m an old song and dance girl. Before I danced in my high school’s version of “Oklahoma,” I played the lead in “Camelot” at Camp St Joseph for Girls. I had to sing “If Ever I Would Leave You” in tights and a pillowcase and I must say I killed it.

My star kept rising with “The Music Man” and ascended to new heights when I played Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” Even if Bob (who played Nathan Detroit) and I were fighting one day, you know like if he may have not wanted to go to the Junior Prom or some such nonsense, we were professional enough to carry on with the show! The very first show tune I taught the two year old Love Bug was “A Bushel and a Peck.” We even had a dance number – if only we had had TikTok.

The Bug’s Mother is another story. The Flapper hung a tiny pair of ballet slippers over her crib when she was born in the hospital. Sounds like a fairy tale right? My Mother didn’t let a car accident stop her from dancing and by God, her new granddaughter would trip the boards like Terpsichore. And of course, dancing in the Berkshire Ballet’s “Nutcracker” would become our mother-daughter Christmas-Hunakkah tradition. Until…

One day the Bride announced in a letter that she no longer had the time to take ballet lessons. She was about the Bug’s age then, and too busy with school and horseback riding. I had to respect her wishes but I’m sure she knew my heart was a little broken. Little did we know that the Rocker would become the performer; maybe I should have taken him to tap classes instead of hockey practice!

Tonight my Bug will be playing an Oompa Loompa and I will be sitting front row center proud as a peacock! Will she catch Broadway fever from her first bit part in Willy Wonka? When she looks out at the audience tonight and hears the applause will something click? Is today the day she finds her passion in life? You never know but this is the age for making momentous decisions.

“I am preparing other surprises that are even more marvellous and even more fantastic for you and for all my beloved Golden Ticket holders – mystic and marvellous surprises that will entice, delight, intrigue, astonish and perplex you beyond measure. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!” 

https://roalddahl.fandom.com/wiki/Golden_Ticket#:~:text=A%20Golden%20Ticket%20is%20the,find%20was%20a%20press%20sensation.

This is about the age I left my foster parents and decided to live with the Flapper forever, coming out of my sheltered chrysalis. Beware of the preteen, she is a powerful totem with her golden ticket.

In a world of pure imagination

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Our family’s birthday season begins midsummer with the big boys and ends with the little Pumpkin’s falling leaves. We celebrated a milestone in Malibu. Although every birthday gives us a chance to rejoice or deny our humble beginnings; I’m in the denial phase at the moment.

The Groom’s family has a tradition where each person at the dinner table tells the story of the actual birth day. We all have different points of view so it’s like writing a book. Every chapter is the same time period only told from a different perspective.

The Flapper told me that my brother Michael was her easiest birth. She was outside hanging laundry on the line when she felt him coming and told my sister Kay to run through the backyards to fetch the doctor. I imagine her running barefoot through clouds of sheets. Michael was born fast, destined for a life in the sports world.

I was her only hospital-born baby. She told the doctor after five children she needed a rest.

As my Father lay dying, the doctor told the Flapper she didn’t have to boil my baby bottles. He said washing them was fine which was a tremendous help. I picture him looking like Santa Claus, in a plain gray suit. Cultural norms have changed since the 40s. Today more than 80% of newborns are breastfed.

While I was lying on the floor after my Malibu fall, Bob examined me. No broken hip, check. And my mind immediately cast blame on myself of course. Why do I act like I’m still 16? I don’t want to ruin this vacation so let’s just soldier on and walk up and down hundreds of steps to a beach. Until I couldn’t walk at all.

This week, the MRI tech who escorted me into the room told me I could take off my glasses and my mask. He pointed to a table and went on about how I’d be all alone in the room, and then he added,

“Dr Fauci is going to prison!”

At first I wasn’t sure if he said that, but to cement the thought he repeated it. I replied,

“I know he got Covid, but that’s not a crime.”

Then he gave me two ear plugs, tied my feet together and crossed my hands over my chest on the table. I was a prisoner in a metal tube with a redneck at the wheel. I tried going to my happy place but that wasn’t working so I just concentrated on my breathing while a jackhammer of sound waves attacked my pelvis.

Turns out I fractured the upper part of my sacrum. Which really isn’t a bad spot – too far to the right and I’d be paralyzed, too far to the left and my hip could have shattered. Lucky me.

I’m trying to resist absolutist thinking – like now I’ll never play pickleball. Instead I tell myself I could write more and read more and watch more Netflix while resting on the couch. Why do we need to give birth or nearly die to allow ourselves a rest? This American work ethic thing is real. I feel like a sloth or maybe an escargot!

Poor Bob. His birthday is coming up next and he’s on nursing duty. Washing clothes, cooking and watering gardens while walking dogs and tending to me. Not all at the same time of course. Turns out his talents exceed my expectations. I told the Pumpkin that TOGETHER PopBob and I would get through this just fine. “Don’t you agree Bob,” I said.

After an affirmative mumble from my harried husband, the Pumpkin looked at me and said, “Sounds like he’s not convinced!”

Wish us luck dear readers. I’m on the lookout for a rabbit’s foot charm, or an Irish shamrock to add to my feather pendants.

A reflection of me, before the fall

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Our local Nashville PBS will sometimes air a short segment between programming called, “A Word on Words.” I believe our famous independent bookstore helps sponsor this Emmy award winning series, and I always sit up and take notice. Authors J.T. Ellison and Mary Laura Philpott were the first hosts to interview writers about their craft.

“NPT’s Emmy Award-winning A Word on Words features accessible interviews with authors and poets about their latest books. Launched in 2015  the series was designed to be accessible and engaging for a new generation of readers. Join our A Word on Words hosts for more discussions with writers about their work, their process and what they are reading for inspiration.”

https://awordonwords.org/

Words have always been magical to me; and there’s nothing better than hearing (or reading) a word I don’t already know. Recently our master bedroom closet was finished by a talkative carpenter. It’s no surprise that most of our old crystal cottage is not plumb. And just as he was getting around to the last corner, he turned to me and said,

“This is all cattywampus!

For me, it was as if someone had handed a toddler a lollipop. I had to ask him about the word, and where he was from (North Carolina), and before you knew it there was a story sprouting in my mind. The Bride told me she’d heard the word before, but that’s probably because she went south for college and pretty much never returned. Cattywampus means exactly what it sounds like – all mixed up. It’s a noun that means askew, disordered, uneven, awry. Scottish in origin and related to “caddy corner.”

Our family loved to make up words. For instance, the Bride was incensed to learn that not only had she believed that our word for something sharp, “porky,” was a real word, but she insisted that her friends believed it too, well into her teens. Somehow, our German Shepherd dog’s incessant drive to chase porcupines, and having to pull those quills out of his snout, resulted in pointy things turning into pesky “porky” things, which makes sense. Right?

Who doesn’t love a little on·o·mat·o·poe·ia in the morning?

This morning as I was scanning the Twittisphere, I came across another word I’d never heard of – banjaxed! According to the Urban Dictionary, it’s an Irish colloquial term meaning:

“Broken, beyond repair: Tired, worn out, out of breath: Drunk, inebriated: Not functioning correctly.”

Just like SCOTUS. Not only are they banjaxed, their decisions are cattywampus! As an ex-school board member, I was shocked to think that Christian prayers can now be said aloud on our public school sports fields. Maybe shocked isn’t the right word, gobsmacked is more like it. Shall we let Muslim football and soccer players stop playing when it’s their time to pray? The team must stop and roll out their prayer rugs on the fifty yard line?

As for me, I can’t wait for the January 6 hearings to begin again tomorrow. Oh and for the third season of Ted Lasso! What would Ted do?

A view askew of the new closet

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This past Memorial Day weekend we stayed home.

We trimmed back the lilacs, and watched the magnolia start to bloom. Bob painted the front porch. We watered the garden and walked the dogs – Ms Bean and her three cousins next door. We were settling into our new/old house. And best of all, we were on Grandparenting Duty (GD), which is very different from babysitting mind you.

Bob and I are under no obligation to “watch” our grandchildren, in fact we relish spending time with them. Our rising 2nd and 5th graders are curious and helpful. While the Groom started his MICU attending duties, and the Bride worked three days straight, the littles just skipped down the street to our house. Our only mission was to ‘feed and water’ them and have fun; to witness the wild creativity of childhood… again.

On our first neighborhood 4people/4dogs walk, I brought up something I heard the Pumpkin say a few times – “What are we going to do when…..” (insert) “… we get home,” “after lunch,” etc. This question always reminds me of the little animated fawn, Bambi, asking his mama what they were going to do today. Children like to know what’s next, they love ritual, but summer was about to begin. School was out! I started to talk to the Grands about “unstructured time.” The Love Bug was all in, the Pumpkin however, differentiated between things we “have” to do vs things we “want” to do.

I could see my little red headed perpetual motion machine was struggling with the concept of just chillin. But research has shown us that time to explore and create and simply PLAY is essential to a healthy childhood. The Bug said, “It’s kinda like recess!” YES

“It’s like we HAVE to walk the dogs, but we WANT to eat ice cream,” the Pumpkin added.

So I asked him, “What would you like to do today if you could do anything you want?” He stopped walking and looked thoughtfully at his older dog who was preparing to poop.

“I’d like to build something with Pop Bob.”

And so they did – they studied and designed a “Lending Library” for our fence – a place for neighbors to take a book and replace a book. They set up shop in our dilapidated garage surrounded by wood scraps and power tools. I made a note to myself to get a big fan for the garage, temperatures were rising toward 90 degrees. And I tried to stay out of their way, only delivering lemonade once. My heart was melting as I watched them work.

The Bug and I cooked a beautiful barbeque dinner for their parents one night. She cleaned and chopped fruits and vegetables, and we talked about random things like friendship and boys. There was a boy at her end of the year school party who wanted to give her a balloon shaped like a heart. But she didn’t want it, and the balloon flew away. I told her she would break a lot of hearts, and she laughed and said I sound like her Mother.

There are mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters who will never get to have these conversations with their children in Uvalde, TX. They will never get to build something with them, or cook with them, or laugh with them again. I am sending them my heartfelt sympathy and reserving my anger for our legislators; the mostly Republican men and women who have so much blood on their hands.

If we cannot ban assault weapons, change the legal age to buy a gun to 21, and pass background checks and red flag laws with a Democratic President, House, Senate and nearly 80% of the people, then we are surely doomed. We have become a country willing to sacrifice our children for the almighty gun dollar.

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The Bride didn’t want to pierce the Love Bug’s ears in our fancy mall, with a tiny gun in the big front window. So we went to a tattoo parlor downtown! It came highly recommended by the nurses in her hospital; They do things the old fashioned way, with a needle. So she made the reservation for a day after Passover. I tagged along for moral support, which the Bug didn’t need at all. She picked out tiny, sparkly opal studs. I had to wait in the waiting room, enjoying the ethnography of the body arts subculture. https://icontattoo.com/

It wasn’t the weekend’s mass shooting at an upscale mall in South Carolina that swayed my daughter. Police believe there were three guns involved; nine people were injured. A 73 year old woman is still hospitalized. Will nothing change?

You may recall my first published story was titled “Guns in the Woods.” It was about moving to an isolated mountaintop in the Berkshires when the Bride was a baby. It was about newlyweds, and the choices we make to accommodate each other; and it was about being alone at night, with the intermittent sound of rifles poaching deer. Pop! Pop!

I framed that piece from The Berkshire Eagle. The paper has turned yellow with age, and now I’m not sure what to do with it. I’ve been admonished not to decorate like an old lady, with lots of small framed pictures over every level surface. Maybe I could toy with mixed media and decoupage?

In our Nashville city farmhouse we would sometimes hear gunshots while getting ready for bed. Usually there was an altercation in the Kroger parking lot. I stopped going out for a pint of milk after dark. It’s strange how quickly we became accustomed to the sound of hand guns.

This habituation to gun violence is eating away at me and it’s a cancer on our democracy. We’ve all become disenchanted with our institutions, with a government that could not pass a single, simple gun control bill after Sandy Hook. Red and Blue states are all in agreement – our children need to be safe in school.

In our new Crooked Crystal Cottage at the outskirts of the city we hear crickets at night. Literally. Maybe an occasional siren will pierce the silence. Most Americans don’t have to contend with gun violence. They don’t think twice about grocery shopping at night. It’s just that every now and then, someone walks into a school, or a concert, or a shopping mall, or a movie theatre with an AR-15.

The US does not have a single definition for “mass shootings” but the FBI has tracked “active shooter incidents” for more than a decade. Such an incident is defined as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area”.

According to the FBI, there were 345 “active shooter incidents” in the United States between 2000-2020, resulting in more than 1,024 deaths and 1,828 injuries.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41488081

We need to change this gun culture. We need to prosecute gun manufacturers, and hold more adults responsible for “accidental” gun deaths. We need to attack the gun lobby through marketing and the courts, in the same way we changed the culture of smoking, or driving while drunk.

Because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, legislators are finally talking about changing our collective perception, our reliance on fossil fuels. Buy electric cars! Reduce your carbon imprint! Well guess what – NOBODY needs an assault weapon. NOBODY.

Here are the states that have banned assault weapons: California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. Minnesota regulates but does not outright ban assault weapons.

Protecting our children is paramount to protecting our second amendment.

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What would you pack in your “To Go” bag?

In the middle of packing up all my earthly possessions and moving five miles west this past weekend, I was talking with a friend about Ukraine – those poor women and children fleeing their homeland. I was struck by the juxtaposition of packing all the stuff we’d accumulated over the past five years in Nashville, and wondering what I would choose to take in my “to go” bag, should the situation arise.

She said, “What’s a to go bag?”

“Everyone in Israel has a To Go bag,” I said. “It’s in case you have to leave in a hurry, because rockets or bombs are getting closer. My son the Rocker has a To Go bag in California, in case they have to outrun a wildfire sweeping down their canyon. Heck, the only time I packed a To Go bag was when I was pregnant with the Bride!”

Every mom expecting to give birth in a hospital has packed a to go bag; something for a day or two, a nice new nursing nightgown, slippers, some big, baggy pants to wear home. Unless you’re a British princess, and then you must wear a tiny-belly-revealing smart dress for those first photo ops.

I suppose I should actually pack a to go bag now. The EF4 tornado that hit us right before the pandemic was a game changer for me. Some people in our historic Germantown neighborhood had their roofs blown off, some lost windows and we all lost power for over a week. Many lost their lives right outside of town. Bob and I bunked with the Bride and Groom then, luckily our city farmhouse wasn’t touched.

Then again, if a tornado was strong enough to pick up our new/old cozy crystal 1940s cottage, it would probably take us and our to go bags right along with it.

I’ve decided to call our new home, that is currently swimming in boxes, the Crystal Cottage. We hung a modern crystal chandelier in the dining area that adjoins the front parlor. For our offices, I chose a smaller, semi-flush mounted fixture with similar crystals. The one glass cabinet in the new kitchen is showing off its Irish Waterford crystal. From my writing desk that is as old as our marriage, I have a view of the street and the larder!

I wanted to differentiate the old kitchen wall that has shelves and doors, the larder, from its adjoining new pantry.

Have you noticed how Victorian words have been creeping into my vocabulary? Jason, our fine carpenter, is Scottish and he’s named my office the “Snug!” It seems in Scotland a small room off the kitchen is a snug. I love that word so much, I’ve adopted it as my own. I call Bob into my snug every morning to do Wordle with me.

But back to the question at hand, what would I pack in a to go bag? My first thought had always been family pictures, but almost all my pictures are now stowed somewhere up in a cloud. All the ancient pictures – the Flapper in her Marcel wave, my Nana in her pearls, Great Grandma Ada looking for all the world like a 1950s movie star would be in my bag.

I’d pack toiletries – a toothbrush and paste, a bar of soap, some sunscreen and maybe a moisturizer. Next would be clothes for a week – a nightgown, underwear, some tee shirts, a pair of jeans and yoga pants I don’t wear anymore. I figure whatever shoes I’d have on would have to do, but I might pack some socks.

Of course all the important papers and passwords must be readily available. And medicine, I don’t have many prescriptions but the few I have I’ll need for arthritis. So until I could get a refill, I’d want to have a few days worth of meds. Does this mean it’s time to buy one of those weekly, old lady, pill cylinders? Maybe.

We cracked a large Italian piece of pottery we’d been using as an umbrella stand. I’d love to learn Kintsugi – “…the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum.” I love the idea of celebrating the broken spaces.

Did you see the picture of the empty baby strollers in Lviv on March 18? It wasn’t the photograph of neatly lined-up prams that Polish families left at the train station for refugees. No, this was still inside Ukraine, commemorating 109 children murdered by Russia so far.

President Biden was right to call Putin a butcher. Someone needs to slap him.

The new countertops arrived

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I hope this will be my last move.

I wasn’t destined to live in the same community for 50 years, surrounded by friends and family, secure behind a picket fence; a well-known, semi-serious journalist and Hadassah “macher.” Macher is a Yiddish word, a noun:

“Someone who arranges, fixes, has connections…someone who is [very] active in an organization” (Rosten) “important person”, “hot shot.”

n. Somebody who is successful, handy, dextrous.

https://jel.jewish-languages.org/words/325

I’ve always felt a sort of underlying derision whenever someone calls someone else a macher. But maybe that’s just me?

I guess the moment my foster parents picked me up – during our Year of Living Dangerously, with the Flapper in surgery and my big sister Kay in a coma – and brought me to Victory Gardens, my fate was sealed. I would be a little gypsy, traveling over the Delaware Water Gap, between NJ and PA. Uprooted at every turn.

I told myself I was happy to have two mothers, one warm and comforting, the other beautiful and mysterious. I was lucky to have two birthday celebrations, two Christmases, and two homes. Pulled between one set of siblings, half siblings and step-siblings and being an only child. I secretly longed to just stay put.

Now I know that longing for something you’ve never had can be a recipe for a depressive disorder. So instead I try to stay present. I’ve chosen to accept our nomadic existence, after all I married an Emergency Physician. Once he’d roll into an ER and fix it, he’d want a new challenge. I always told the kiddos their Dad wrote the book on Emergency Management, and he did!

Yesterday I asked Bob, “How many bathing suits does one woman need?” And like a good manager, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “That depends.”

Sorting and packing is different this time around. There are the clothes I’ll never fit into again, the clothes I’ll never wear again, and everything else. Pandemic fashion has turned out to be comfortable cotton yoga wear I bought at Whole Foods, along with an occasional Eileen Fisher piece on sale, online. Of course I’ll keep these things, and my boots and fancy shoes that stand watch in my closet, hoping I’ll need them again.

But why am I packing so many small rocks? One is from Ireland, and one is for our old neighbor’s dog Hodor, one is a crystal and one is a geode, and……..

Forgive my absence, but during this move I’ll be posting only once a week, on Mondays. By next Monday we’ll be in our new home – all one level with a big backyard. Bob designed the master bath for us to Age-in-Place. My beautiful master closet will be installed next month and the kitchen countertops are delayed because of a mix-up with the center island. No kitchen sink, no backsplash, so we’ll use Uber Eats for awhile.

One learns to pivot when you’ve moved as much as we have. And one learns that home can be a haven when it’s filled with the people you love.

Wish us luck!

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Waking up to snow a few days ago was the perfect start to Spring Break.

I always loved flying off to our favorite island in a storm, and returning to a spring full of robins and daffodils. The Rocker and Aunt Kiki flew cross country to attend the wedding of the last, single, Parlor Mob bandmate. The drummer with “Oh Yeah” tattooed across his chest said “I Do” to his new bride this weekend. And our Bride and Groom’s family took off for the mountains.

We stayed home in Nashville – to pack for The Big Move, and run our temporary kennel of three rescue dogs!

I’ve let a sober January turn into a sober February and March so far. Before the 2016 election, I’d gotten used to a glass of chardonnay with dinner; but afterwards it turned into wine while cooking dinner during a pandemic and after dinner and a tornado too. Day drinking was never my thing, although I do remember a certain soccer mom who brought a thermos of vodka cocktails to a practice in the 80s.

I’m not opposed to drinking, in fact, I’ll probably be the first to order a margarita whenever we go out to an actual restaurant again!

I’m remembering my foster Daddy Jim, every now and then he’d stop off at a bar for a beer and leave me in the car. I know, he’d be arrested today, but back in the 50s this was normal. Especially if your foster mother didn’t allow any alcohol in the house! The Flapper was a coffee addict, her liquor cabinet was locked up tight. She always said there was NO alcoholism in our family. And by filming my brother drunkenly climbing a set of stairs after his high school graduation, and showing the film every so often, she tried to insure our sobriety.

Honestly, my sleep has been so much better. In sleep hours alone, I figure I’m buying myself a few extra years of life. I was listening to a classical music station on the radio when an advertisement came on for a hospice care facility. Its mantra was – “Calm Comfort Clarity.” And my immediate response was – why can’t I have that now?

It turns out, I can…

… except for the war in Ukraine. Every day I wake to a sense of impending doom. Russia puts nuclear weapons on alert, another journalist is killed, and today we learn of a pregnant woman dying from an air strike in Mariupol. We can see her body on a stretcher. her left hip drenched in blood.

Every day I wake to see if the capital city of Kyiv has been invaded. The shelling of innocents in that city started four days ago, and still its citizens fight for their freedom. They say they would rather stand tall than live on their knees. Putin’s tanks and missiles are getting closer to Poland. I wonder what NATO will do. Will Biden step up to the bully?

What can we Americans do? Ignoring a bully like Putin won’t stop him – it was silence and indifference that allowed Hitler to invade Poland after all. I would like to put my money right in the hands of those Ukrainian people who are staying to fight for their land. A British Twitter writer I follow suggested we book an Air BnB in Ukraine, but is that a good plan? That would just help the top 2% of the population that has wifi and property to rent to others.

“The reaction to Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine has inspired innovative new ways of supporting people on the ground. Two students at Harvard designed their own “stripped-down” version of Airbnb to quickly connect Ukrainian refugees with emergency housing, Google rolled out an air raid alerts system for all Android phones, and the US State Department has even partnered with GoFundMe to establish a channel for businesses, philanthropies, and individuals to support organizations providing humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians. Separate from individual customer bookings of Ukrainian properties, Airbnb has started a refugee fund, where it is aiming to offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.”

https://www.vox.com/22973133/ukraine-russia-airbnb-booking-donate-effective-altruism

I don’t mean to imply that the war is damaging my serenity. I’m about to move again, and that is my American, immediate stressor. I’m not bunking in a metro station or learning how to make molotov cocktails. I’m not running for my life. Just be careful what you say to your children and grandchildren about war and freedom. Now is the time to be clear-minded. Our country must light the way forward.

How many humans do you need to put up a chandelier?

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You’ve heard of the expression, “Hurry up and wait?”

Well, our old house renovation had been at a standstill for awhile. We were waiting for the electrician, waiting for the custom island, waiting for our sinks to be shipped… Then, just when we landed in the Golden State, everything started up at once – the painters were stepping all over the plumber installing the tankless water heater, and naturally a piece was missing from our custom island.

Well, it’s not actually missing. Turns out, they sent us the wrong piece.

There we were, standing in another line at Disneyland, when Bob’s phone would ring with another construction problem or question. But this wasn’t like our 1980s Disney anymore! Everything is online. If you want to make a droid at the Star Wars exhibit, you’d better make a reservation. And thankfully, Uncle Dave and Aunt Kiki purchased Lightning Lane passes, so time spent waiting for rides was minimal.

It was the trip of a lifetime! To see the pure joy on our Pumpkin’s face was reason enough to go to LA, but seeing how much his Uncle enjoyed exploring “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” with him was the icing on the cake of our California adventure.

I remember the Rocker filming stop-action videos with tiny Star Wars characters in our garage when he was about the same age. He could barely balance the huge Camcorder on his shoulder. And now, my son’s company is composing music for Disney trailers. It’s Kismet.

Last night, we returned to a chilly, rainy Nashville. No more hummingbirds, no more heated pool and jasmine-lined cabana. Booking a patio table for eight is a fond memory; all eight of us together was magical, plus we spent a delightful day visiting with California cousins!

Today it’s back to reality and renovation, just the two of us, and our old dog, Bean. I’ve yet to get caught up on the news, but I’ll always fight with the Resistance.

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This morning Kevin the squirrel is happily munching on bird seed outside my window, when Bob calls. “Hey honey, do you want the third floating shelf in the kitchen above or below the cased opening?”

Questions like this come up day after day – where to put light switches, where to tile a shower niche. It’s not like building our house in VA, but it’s similar; like a slower, pandemic-style renovation of half an old house with two inch red oak floors they don’t make anymore. After years of renting in Nashville and feeling locked into a semi-permanent viral stasis, we’re finally going to move into our own home next month!

So far we’ve had fun planning our kitchen and master suite renovation. We bumped into an amazing daylight-like light fixture at Costco and bought two, one for the new pantry and one for the old laundry room/mud room. We’ve roamed around monstrous tile warehouses debating color and size. We’re researching garage doors and toilets.

I don’t know why Bob doesn’t want a “smart” toilet. After all, it would open and close itself; not a small feature in a home where the man always leaves the seat up! Oh and the seat is heated. Plus, for just $2,000, you’re getting a fully equipped bidet. But Bob’s drawing the line at the throne room door.

A ‘smart’ refrigerator is one thing, the toilet is a step too far he told me. I guess that means I can order the ‘smart’ window shades that open and close according to my whim? Sometimes I wish I could call up an HGTV star like Hilary Farr and forget about all the myriad decisions. But I’m not sure I could relinquish control. And leaning towards design with some therapy involved wouldn’t be a bad thing.

“Asking for help, after all, runs counter to many of America’s most adamant myths: the moral superiority of self-sufficiency, the quiet dignity of suffering. “Tough Love”  https://www.hgtv.com/shows/tough-love-with-hilary-farr rejects those ideas. Instead, it celebrates the people who realize they have a problem they can’t solve on their own. It treats the admission as the first step toward salvation. “I’m not here to judge,” Farr tells a client whose home, and whose life, she has come to rehabilitate. “I’m here to help.'”

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2022/02/self-help-hgtv-home-improvement/621493/

Honestly, I have no problem asking anyone for help with anything. I’ll have to ask Aunt Kiki what she thinks of all this smart technology. Of course she can’t say who her celebrity clients are, but she may explain to Bob why a ‘panic/tornado pantry’ is a good thing. Did you know we now have therapists who specialize in climate anxiety?

I remember the coal furnace in my foster parents’ kitchen. Center stage was an orange formica table with metal legs looking out the window at a large flowering dogwood tree, I can almost smell the cinnamon toast I would dip into Daddy Jim’s morning coffee. If home is a metaphor for our life, the kitchen IS the heartbeat of our family. It’s where I’ve passed down beloved recipes; it’s where TLC is put into action. And call me crazy, but I’m loving our blue kitchen cabinets.

First a McFlurry stop!

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