March 30, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge - Day Five

Day Five
A picture of your favorite memory

I knew this was going to get hard at some point.  I was hoping it wouldn't be this early on in the game.  My favorite memory?  Seriously??  I'm almost 47 years old, for Pete's sake; I'm supposed to pick one?

I guess if I were really nostalgic I'd choose the day my first kid was born, or the day I got married, or graduated from college, or something really meaningful like that.  But I'm not feeling all that sappy right now, and I came across a picture in my search for the perfect memory that seemed to fit my current mood.

I turned 40 in June of 2004, but for some reason, I didn't do anything in particular on that day.  I'm sure we went out for dinner or something, but I knew my friends were cooking up a party.  In the meantime, my daughter Casey was living in Belgium, on a horse farm, for the summer. (That's another story.)   She had been there about six weeks when she called home with a small request.

"So, I was thinking...." as all small requests begin.

The next thing I knew, I was getting my passport picture taken and buying an airline ticket to Brussels, so that Casey could see a little bit of Europe before heading home at the end of the summer, with a tourguide.  She had originally asked her Dad to come meet her, to explore Paris and London and Belgium with her, but he had little interest (???) and suggested I should go instead.  I think I was out of bed and packing before he got off the phone with her.

It was mid-August, and I was heading to Europe for the first time in seventeen years.  The last time I had been in London was Christmas of 1987, when my parents were still living there, and it never occurred to me then that it would be so long before I went back.  I couldn't imagine a better 40th birthday present.

But that's not the story.  That's kind of the icing on the cake - the one that hadn't been served yet. 

I was due to leave on September 4th and I learned that my birthday party was to be held just two days beforehand.  Could this summer get any better? It wasn't a surprise, by any stretch.  But I didn't know much more than that it was to be an 80s Party, and that everyone would be required to dress accordingly.

I couldn't tell you which part of it all was the most memorable.  Whether it was shopping through every thrift store from here to south Seattle and back, searching for the perfect outfit with Shawnie, or trying to figure out what John was going to wear (he had no say in the matter).  Or sitting in my bathroom watching Shawn paint John's nails, once we had figured it out.

It could have been the marble-top table, perfectly balanced, that Todd built me especially for playing Quarters on, or the collection of photos on the wall of all the guests in authentic photos from the 80s.  It could have been Chris Kaufman's 1985 brick cell phone, or the fact that Susan wore the same dress to the party that she wore in the photo on the wall - really, who can do that?

Maybe the music was the best part - the nine CDs that Todd spent days making, a quintessential collection of every "Oh my God that's my favorite song!" from 1980 to 1989.  Or that we played them so long and so loud that the police came to bust up the party.  Just like the old days.  Only this time, Fire Chief Mc Donald and Police Chief Jeter answering the door was waaaaay better than anything I can describe.  That rookie cop standing on the porch, looking at the two of them, speechless.  I think "Evening, Chief" was all he could manage, followed by a mumbling "oh some neighbors called but I'm sure it's nothing sorry to bother you have a good night. Sir."

The best part is that I remember every minute of it, miraculously, since I was drinking from these cups that guests had to purchase to get in  - just like the old days - 
and I'm not entirely sure what was in them

Is it too late to make this my official Thank You Note to Kim and Josh and Shawn and Todd, for one of my very favorite memories ever?

Even if I did have that whole problem with the quarter when I got to Belgium.

But that's a slightly less pleasant memory.

March 24, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge - Day Four

Day Four
A Picture of Your Night

So I'm not really sure what they mean by this.  All that comes to mind is an infrared image of me sleeping.  That's pretty much my night.

But I'm going to interpret it as "evening".

Now, do they mean My Dream Evening?  Like this?

Or my Real Life Evening?  Because there's a slight difference.

In my real life, I might be doing something more like this:

Or  I might be found helping Jack with this...

And even if I'm not particularly good at it, I do enjoy this most nights...

And, as spring descends upon us, one of my favorite things in the evening
 is having all the neighbor kids out of hibernation, hanging out on my street.

Usually, I make time for a little of this...

And because I'm pretty good about relaxing, 
when it's all said and done, my evenings often end like this.

March 23, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge - Day Three

Day Three
~ A photo of the cast from your favorite show ~

The cast of Criminal Minds
I have to say that this is my favorite cast - not the current one - since it changes from time to time.  Sadly, Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), one of the greatest tv characters of all time, is now gone :(

Criminal Minds is, hands down, the best show on television.  I only started watching it, in out-of-order reruns, about a year ago.  This past Christmas, my kids gave me the whole five-season set on DVD and I can't get enough. The writing is superior to any other crime drama, and there's a clever mix of horror and humor on the odd occasion.  I am inspired by the character development and the relationships between them, on which the writers seem to really focus.  And I'm a living room psychologist, so I'm all over the study of the human mind and the human condition.  

I've never been one for scary stuff, though, so it's odd that I am drawn to this show.  I would have thought it would keep me up at night, but it's not really about the sadists and the sickos, it's about how the rest of the world copes with their existence. 

Oh, and I almost forgot. 

There's Derek

 * sigh * 

March 22, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge ~ Day Two

Day Two
~A picture of you and the person 
you have been closest with the longest~

At a Mariners vs Rangers game, Safeco Field
October 15, 2009

I couldn't tell you the first time I met my oldest friend, Amir.  But I do remember distinctly that I didn't like him.  Isn't that the way most great friendships begin?

It was high junior year I think.  He moved to our school and instantly befriended my best friend, who also happened to be the absolute unrequited love of my life.  Naturally, I was jealous.  

He was loud.  And gregarious.  Smart and funny and really, really popular, right off the bat.  Hated him.

Not long after we met, he was invited to a concert with our group of friends.

"Seriously???" I groaned.  "Not that kid. He's sooooo annoying!"

I lost the argument with whomever had invited him, whomever was madly enamoured of him at that moment.

And I lost every one after that, until he ended up invited to a party at my house.  And I think the rest is history.

What do I love about him?

~ A trip to Boston, and sitting at the foot of the Harvard statue in our cashmere scarves, pretending like we could actually have been students there.

~ The summer in London that he surprised me with tickets to Lloyd Weber's Chess on stage in Piccadilly, and we went dancing at the Lyceum. Crazy fun.

~ Too many nights downtown, too many beers, prom at the Waldorf.  

~ The fact that my parents consider him a second son. 

~ A road trip we took to Vancouver BC for Mona's wedding.  We took mushrooms on the way.  Hello, it was college.  I lived in Eugene.  What a blast we had!

~ He made me a thousand cassette tapes of our favorite songs, and each song would have a little explanation of why he chose it.  Each tape had its own unique title.  He mailed them to me all through college and beyond.  I saved every one of them.  For whatever reason I cannot remember, we took to calling each other Scarlett and Rhett, so each of the tapes was addressed and signed that way.

~ He has never once, in all that time, forgotten my birthday. Nor has he forgotten to call and send a card.

~ He never lost touch with me, even when I wandered away and our friendship risked extinction.

~ He takes more pictures than I do.  And good ones.

~ He loves his family.  He adores and admires and respects his parents (his mom is now deceased and I know he misses her terribly.)  He is devoted to his father and his daughter and he's even nice to his ex-wife.

~ We have travelled across continents to see each other, to be in each others' weddings, to celebrate in each others' successes and cry through each others' failures.  

~ In thirty years, we have never had a single romantic encounter with each other and have never spent a single moment being jealous or wishing otherwise.

In July he's flying out here just to sit at Safeco in a Ranger's jersey, while the Mariners kick some Texas butt.  Or the other way around, it doesn't really matter.  

Baseball, beer and hotdogs with your oldest, truest friend.  It doesn't get much better than that. 

March 21, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge ~ Day One

I stole this from Facebook; I sure hope it's not some copyrighted thing I'll get sued for.  I could have done it on FB, like everyone else, but I'm going to use it differently.

The thing is, I spend way too much time on FB these days and not enough time writing real things, so I thought this might be a good way to get myself "to the page", as Joanne says, every day.

I have 30 days and 30 assignments.  I also have a really nice new camera and four weeks of photography classes under my belt, so I think I'm ready to go.  And instead of scribbling a one-sentence response to each of the daily assignments, my goal is to actually write.

So here we go.  Welcome to my 30-Day Photo and Writing Challenge.

Day One
~ A picture of yourself with ten facts ~

Circa 1966ish in Southern California.  I guarantee
either my Mom or my Grandma made this dress. 
1.  I'm a sucker for junk TV, but not like you think.  I can't watch a whole minute of Jersey Shore but I can sit through four hours of Full House reruns without a second thought.

2.  My initials spell my name.  Except for a brief period when I was married to my ex-husband, they always have.

3.  I once sold Rainbow vacuum cleaners for a living. It wasn't a great living, mind you.  I set a woman's carpet on fire one time trying to show her the dirt in the fibers with a big spotlight.

4.  I have lived in seventeen houses or apartments, in nine cities.  This is the longest I've ever lived anywhere - 14 years! Before that, my longest stint was in London, where I lived for five years during high school.

5.  I love to travel - anywhere - even if it's not far away. I love to fly and stay in hotels.

6.  I went to a British high school in England for awhile. We wore hideous uniforms and were not allowed to wear nylons or makeup. I got beat up pretty regularly by mean British girls in the bathrooms at lunch time.

7.  I've met David Cassidy.  I'm still in love with him.  Sorry, honey.

8.  I never lie about my height or my age. Why bother? Clearly I'm short, and I kind of like getting older. It makes me feel like I've earned something.

9. I am the least athletic person I know. I am highly uncoordinated and ridiculously non-competitive.  I don't understand game rules very well, either, which makes me a liability in any organized sport.

10.  I talk to myself incessantly and I think I'm hilariously funny.  Especially when no one else does.

March 7, 2011

Seeking a Cease Fire


That sums up my weekend in its simplest form, although I wish it really were as simple as a word that I could type out, then hit "delete".  No, that came out wrong.  I don't mean I want to delete my teenagers.  I just want to erase all the shit that comes along with them that makes being a parent such a crappy job sometimes.

I'm sure my own parents are sitting back with a glass of wine, laughing, thinking "Yup, this is payback."  I know I wasn't the greatest kid on earth.  I remember once my mom even told me that I wasn't "her favorite person" when I was a teenager. Wow, that's nicer and more diplomatic than I think I could be right now. Of course, that was when I was in my 30's and the scars of my hateful self had all healed for her.  I think.

But after all was said and done, this weekend, after battling with both my boys about doing dishes and taking out the trash, it came down to Matt and me, like it always does, butting heads over so much more than chores.

This is the kind of day when I talk to his dad.  I talk to him every now and again, when I think he's missing out on something he ought to have been a part of.  When it's something good, like something Matt does that I know would have made him proud, I talk to him with a little kindness.  I tell him things like,

I'm sorry you're missing this.  I wish you could be here to see the wonderful things he's doing and the young man he's become.  I wish for both of you that you could share this moment.  I'm so sorry that you felt you had no other choice, that your heart was so heavy that leaving him was all you could do. 

But on days like today, I'm less likely to be kind, and more likely to let the bitterness from his death overwhelm me.  I'm more apt to say things like,

Damn you. Damn you for leaving him, and leaving us to pick up the pieces of your mess.  We didn't deserve this.  Now we're here, wading through the wreckage of your untimely and selfish departure, trying to survive this pain and all the questions that will never be answered.  You're gone, and in part because of that, we are hurting each other in ways that mothers and sons should never do, because both of us are angry at you. How can I forgive you? 

I know my issues with Matt aren't all due to his dad. Of course, as the ex-wife, I'm supposed to say they are, but I admit we have done our own damage that Kenneth had no part of.  Perhaps we're no different than any other mother and child, struggling to find their own unique connection that leaves them both content and secure.

Someday, I would like to hope,  Matt and I will find a connection that is more like what I believed mothers and their sons shared.  Someday, we will stop being at war with one another, whether he lives here, or far away from me.  I have to believe that, right?

Sometimes, our only mode of transportation is a leap of faith.