April 25, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge - Day Eight

Day Eight
~ A picture that makes you laugh ~ 

This is Matthew, up near Mt. Rainier, about 13 years ago.  It puts me in a good mood every time I look at it.

That river was close to freezing, in late May I think, but the fact that he sunk right down into it explains my kid better than I ever could with my own words.  

He's always been a daredevil, the kid who would try it, when even Mikey wouldn't.  We dared him to take a bath here, but instead of the argument we might have gotten from any other kid, this is what we got.  Matty, laughing his head off in that ice cold water.

This picture makes me laugh, every time I look at it.  

It's Matthew at his happiest, his most free.  These days, that smile appears when he's skydiving, or engaging in some other crazy, life-threatening activity, but I hold on tight to that moment when all it took was a glacial river and a double-dog-dare from his mom.

April 13, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge - Day Seven

Day Seven 
~ A picture of your most treasured item ~ 

You're so lucky you're not in my head with this whole photo challenge thing.  My friend Joanne is the only one who truly gets my insane over-analysis of every tiny, insignificant thing.  She would laugh at how I sit here and break down each day's assignment, as if it were the prompt for my entrance essay into heaven. 

My most treasured item? Is that like the one thing I'd grab if my house were on fire? Or the most expensive thing I own? Or do they mean the one thing that has the most sentimental value to me? God, why can't they be clearer about this? And I have to pick one thing? I'm a borderline hoarder, people, don't make me pick one item.  Do they mean, like, my senior year scrapbook from high school? My Grandma's bible? My wedding ring? My kid's first tooth? God I need a drink.  Whose idea was this challenge?

Whatever.  And I wonder why I need drugs.

Here it is.  It's my signed Salvador Dali print, that I have loved, loved, loved for years.

I used to love it hanging in my parents' house, when we lived overseas. My parents bought it in the late 70's at Bonham's Auction House in London for some ridiculous pittance; my dad remembers it to have been in the $150 range.  Who knows what it's really worth? It could be nothing, or I might take it on Antiques Roadshow someday and be that woman who passes out when the guy tells her the old painting will settle the national debt. 

Funny thing is, I can't remember where it hung, but I know it always brought me peace and struck me with its beauty, every time I looked at it. When I was older, I told my folks that someday, I would like to have it.  You know, how we - as "kids" - start picking out things that will mean something to us when our parents are gone.  Only with my parents, I had to start early, because they're the opposite of me.  They're Anti-Hoarders.  They started on this "downsizing" kick a few years ago that, quite frankly, was a little worrisome.  They were getting rid of things that seriously mattered to us, my brother and I.  Like the time we were home for Christmas and, while making tacos, Brother John discovered that the red taco shell pan was gone.  The one we'd been frying taco shells in since the dawn of time. Red on the outside, cast iron. Perfect taco shell size. Just gone.  Like it's possible to fry taco shells in anything but. 

"Oh, that old thing? Here. Use this new one." our mother said, in a painfully off-handed way. New one?  We didn't need a new one.  We needed the red one

Anyway, I digress.

So I mentioned I'd like this painting, and the next thing I knew, it was mine. Good thing I said something. It wasn't even hanging up anywhere by that time; it was sitting neatly stacked in a closet, framed in this old, canvas-matte, unfinished wood frame that was, honestly, hideous.

I brought it home with no clear idea of where it might go in my simple house - void of any "real" art whatsoever - until I decided to have it reframed.  I hung it proudly above my fireplace, center stage, and to this day, find the same joy in it that I always did as a child.  Now it's above the wine rack, but I like it there too.

When my parents came to stay, my Mom walked into the room and stared at it.

"Edward!" she exclaimed. "Look at that! Look what she did with that painting!" They stood and admired my prize, then she turned to me and said,

"Can we have it back?"

Um, no.

It's my most treasured item,  Mom.

April 6, 2011

30-Day Photo Challenge - Day Six

Day Six
~A picture of a person you'd like to trade places with for a day~

When I was little, all I wanted to be was rich and beautiful; I wanted to be Jackie O.  I didn't care much about being smart or talented, I just wanted to gallivant around the world in million dollar outfits and ridiculously glamorous sunglasses, stepping gracefully from private jets to the blinding light of camera flashes.  I spent hours daydreaming of seeing my own face on the cover of a magazine.

As you may have noticed, I have ended up neither rich nor beautiful.  I don't even have really good sunglasses. So you would think that if you asked me who I'd like to trade places with for a day, I would jump at the chance to spend my Freaky Friday as Jennifer Aniston.  Or [Almost] Princess Kate.  Or, God  rest her soul, Elizabeth Taylor. 

Who would say no to a few hours of sky's-the-limit shopping? Catching sight of yourself in a store window on Rodeo Drive and thinking "Holy crap! Who's that hottie?"  Who would turn down the ego-boosting attention and the ability to go and do and be whoever you want today? 

I guess I would.  Jodi Foster once said, "Turning 40 means you give up some things.  Like you give up the hope that you're going to be a rock star. You just aren't." Being Jackie O is my rock star, and it's off my bucket list these days.  

If I could trade places with anyone for a day, it would be me, when I am an old lady.

I will spend my day surrounded by grandkids and my grown children, marveling at what happy, productive, loving, good people they have become.  Delighted at how they aren't in therapy or jail, or working in fast food. 

My heart will be warmed, knowing that my friendships have lasted through the years and that my family has mended its cracked places...that my husband and I did indeed grow old together and he's over at the ballpark in Phoenix, chatting up the folks at spring training.  

I will rock on my front porch, feeling just fine about never learning to knit, or jumping out of an airplane, or losing those last ten pounds.  I will sit peacefully at ease with how I raised my kids, the way I kept my house, what I chose for my career and how it all ended up. 

And tomorrow, I will return to being Present Day Me, and I will have a really, really good night's sleep.