Personal Stuff, Silly Stuff

Packing Away the Holiday Spirit

So all the boxes have been dragged up from the newly painted, newly re-ceiling-tiled, newly tidied basement. The red and green will disappear into the big plastic boxes and vanish into the darkness of the closets as if Christmas had never happened.

But it did–and it was almost perfect. There will always be an empty chair at our table, and that reminder keeps perfection just a step away. Still, thanks to Wes’ sisters, their children and husbands, and friends, Rob had the magic of Christmas to wind up 2010. I love that they’ve all extended themselves on Rob’s behalf and in memory of Wes. I find that very endearing, and it touches me deeply.

Perhaps I’m at a point in my life where sentimental things resonate more powerfully with me. Maybe it’s that I’ve been to too many funerals and wakes lately. I don’t know, but the passage of time weighs on me at this time of year most powerfully.

Or it could just be my habit of starting up a new calendar and filling it out, then realizing that I’ve already blocked out a lot of 2011!

I’ll remember the good stuff from 2010, though, even as I make up my lists and goals for 2011. There were so many moments of joy and silliness, and I feel very, very blessed by the people in my life. Hope you do, too.

Do you have a best moment of 2010? A really good motivation to achieve something in 2011? I do. And I’m going to work really hard to wind up saying in December, 2011, that I. . . .

Nope. Not going to jinx myself by saying it out loud! Stay tuned! And wish me luck?

Leaving you with an image of the year’s first sunrise, from The Son and Heir in Tokyo, to start off your brand spanking new year. Make the most of 2011!

First Sunrise of 2011 as seen in Tokyo

HOLLY JOLLIES

Whoopee! The Son and Heir arrives home Sunday evening!

Are there words for how over-the-moon-excited I am? Nope. Not a one.

He’s my favorite child. Of course he’s our only child, but, hey, he’s the fave.

I’ll meet him at the airport with hot chocolate or coffee, maybe yogurt, something, anyway, to let him know his mom still needs to do the “mom thang.” He’ll think it’s sweet, amusing, and, yes, totally unnecessary. Which, of course, it is.

But I need to do it.

Just as I need to have the house sparkle and shine for him, need to have a real tree (even though I put up an artificial one), and have needed to bake muffins and cook soups. Even though I am probably, if not the worst cook, among the more challenged cooks, I still have this need to provide, to make things, fix things.

I’ll spend the first night he’s here just enjoying the sound of his feet thumping back and forth through the house.

When you were a young adult, were there any traditions, special foods that meant “home” to you, that meant, “I’m okay, everything is all right because I’m home”?

Just wondering. . . .

Wowsers!

Just returned from celebrating the fiftieth anniversaty of some dear friends. What a lovely time–and how touching to be able to join with them and their many, many friends in toasting their life together.

One comment that struck me was that because they’d met young, they’d “grown up together.” I think how profound a comment that is. If you meet your person, the one who’s right for you, when you’re very young, you have a different relationhip than you do if, say, you meet later, in your thirties or forties.

Not that one way is preferable, simply my realization that when you meet and click really has such a strong impact on who you become. On who each of you becomes. And affects everything that follows.

Anyway, how many of you have had very long relationships? Thirty years? Forty? Anyone else at fifty???

Just one more thought from me–I wish I’d had fifty years with my person. Seems especially poignant at this time of year, fourteen years after losing him.

Although ‘losing’ isn’t quite the right word, is it? Itâ not as though I misplaced him, not as though I left him somewhere out in the rain or snow.

Don’t know what the right word is, but I know that the missing never leaves.

Burn Notice Returns!

All right, I admit it:  I am an unabashed fan of Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar, Sharon Gless, and, now, Coby Bell.  What, you say?  You mean you've missed Burn Notice  these several seasons?

I'm so sorry!

Anyway, Burn Notice is  a destination show for me.  I love the writing, the interplay among the leads, and Miami just looks divine–lucky you if you live there, I reckon.  A friend and I got to see Jeffrey Donovan in a live theatre performance here in Chicago, one of those farces much like Noises Off, where doors open, shut, characters zip on and off the stage with dizzying rapidity and everything depends on timing and physical comedy.

Very fast-paced, and so funny that my cheeks hurt from laughing, but what was so fascinating was seeing how terrific Donovan was in an all-comedy role and how adept he is at the physicality of that kind of play.  I don't know how many of his Burn Notice stunts are performed by stuntment, but I swear he has the ability to do an awful lot of them himself, I'd think, based on what I saw him do live.

But with Burn Notice, the plot's not really the draw–just these fabulous characters and how they relate to each other.  Me?  I lovelovelove the show.  If you haven't seen it, now's your chance to catch up.  I don't think you'll be sorry.

And if you have seen it, what's your take?

On the River

I was thinking today about my trip to Tokyo in the spring and some of the things my son, his friends, and I did. In spite of My Inconvenient Knee, previously mentioned, Rob planned some really great activities.

One was an afternoon trip for Mother’s Day (I said he was a great kid, didn’t I??) along the Sumida River in Tokyo. We could see the buildings and the city from such a different perspective after our departure from Asaksa, where there’s a great, though touristy, old Shinto shrine. It was fun for me to watch all of the folks on the boat, almost all Japanese, who were enjoying the long holiday by taking their children and dates out for the day. And enjoying a soft cream while they cruised along the river.

We saw this fantastic boat pass us, and all I could think of was “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Of course I wasn’t in Kansas to begin with, but you know what I mean.

I find Japan endlessly fascinating, and it’s so cool to me that I can use my son as an excuse to go there–and to have my own translator and tour guide.

Requiescat in Pace

Mr. Cletis O'Roarkey:  a good beastie, loyal and sweet and funny.  Big, grey, a thump-along giant friend.  Affectionate and, like a dog, he'd play catch and follow me from room to room.  Amazingly big feet, body, and head,  he could leap and somersault like an acrobat.  He loved to sleep curled on my pillow with one heavy paw thrown around my head.  Or my son's.  He was sixteen years old and had had diabetes for the last six or seven years.   He was the last kitty my husband, son, and I shared, and he was my husband's favorite pet.

Weirdly, Mr. Cletis chose to head to the giant kitty litter in the sky on the anniversary week of my husband's death.  I don't believe in woo-woo, but we picked out Cletis around October 19th or so, he died on the 18th, and my husband died a few years ago ont he 20th.  Life came full circle, as it often does.

What do you say about a furry buddy who shared so many good and sad times with you?   

Rest in peace, good buddy.  Rest in peace.   

Crazy Decisions, or My Bad Knee and I Visited Tokyo in the Spring

Do you ever make a really, really stupid decision because impulse and optimism just compell you forward?

No?

Well, you’re smarter than I am, then.

When I decided to visit Rob-san, aka My Son Rob, in the spring, April/May, so that I could see the cherry blossoms, I just figured I could force my bad knee to behave. Ha. And ha again. Poor Rob. But he was a true Knight in Shining Euro-styled-clothes as he patiently steered me hither and thither in Tokyo so I could visit some of his favorite sites. He also acted as translator for me and a roomful of the delightful Harlequin Tokyo editors when I was fortunate enough to visit the offices.

I think he loved being the only guy in a roomful of charming women, to tell you the truth.

At any rate, I thumped along slowly and increasingly painfully until my return home–and immediately scheduled total knee replacement. Terrific decision. Still rehabbing, but next time I hit Tokyo? I’m going to be speeding along–not at Rob’s long-legged pace, but, hey, I’ll be faster than I was.

I’m including a pic of a gorgeous park Rob took me to on an all-day bus outing, something the Japanese retirees apparently do in large numbers, and which Rob and one of his friends scheduled for me because. . . well, as I said, I wasn’t walking far or fast. But I loved this beautiful little park with all the wisteria perfuming the air and dripping in stunning swaths. Hope you enjoy the pic, too. Just wish I could include the fragrance!

Oh, but I missed the cherry blossoms.

I’ll see them, though,’cause I’m going back and next time with a working knee.

Weddings and Nostalgia

My friend, Myrna MacKenzie, has been hosting a Blog on weddings because she and fellow authors have books with a wedding theme coming out.  Bless her heart, she asked for wedding stories, so I sent her pix and the "Tale of the $10 Wedding Dress," which she posted on their Blog.  She has also recently posted a wonderful, informative entry from a professional wedding photographer.  Gosh, so many good tips about handling wedding pictures, and, especially, dealing with the cost of them.

What's happened, though, is that all this talk of weddings has made me nostalgic.  Well, that and the fact that June 7th brings what would have been our mumblemumblethe number wedding anniversary.

So, just for fun, for memories, and for old times sake, I'm posting the ever popular cutting of the cake from our $100 wedding.  But it was worth it.  And if you want to read the story, go over to Myrna Mackenzie's author site and to her blog.  It's fun!

Enjoy the pix–and drink a toast on June 7th for me.