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When I am really present in a moment, I almost never really remember it. It is why I don’t aspire to be a Writer when talking about my life. If I remember it, I wasn’t living it. In my family that makes for a lot of story telling right after the event – mainly so we can cobble together a version of it that will go with us into the future.

I have gotten a lot better about parties in recent years, I realize it is about hanging with people who already like me instead of hoping that people will like me because of a party. It took me a long time to learn that. I also learned that when I throw a party I should not purchase anything I didn’t want to eat for a week if nobody else likes it.

When I was in high school I was a band geek. As such, in my town, your senior year you dreamed of being the drum major whose skirt basically sort-of fit (there were two of us and somebody was going to march parade routes on a safety pin and a prayer). I had a cute white skirt and a talent for walking backwards down the highway. I also could take a breath and be heard hollering out “Rockin’ Robin” in the middle of a basketball game full of screaming high school girls. I loved that time in my life.

So today. Jeff & I celebrated him turning 5 and me turning 40. There were a LOT of people there, happy and celebrating and playing games. I don’t remember much except a core relief and joy. But some of the blips I remember.

Taking a big breath before I started shouting “Parents find your kids and kids find your parents”.
Dancing while a LOT of people sang Happy Birthday (up tempo) to me.
Sadie said good-bye and her sister was a dream every step of the way.
Dave introducing my turn to be sung to (sort of).
That the ice cream sundaes were a hit.
That the party was a hit.
That Jane busted it helping me with the cheese tray (and we’re going to Branded Butcher!!!!!)
My mom and dad were there.
My friends were there
My MIL & FIL were there.
My neighbors were there.
That the neighbor kids let the visiting kids get sundaes first.
The parent faces when I hollered “kids only” to go outside.
The heartbroken kids faces when the piñata wasn’t just the first round of Fight Club – but how I still think that works better.
That I got a Doctor Who mug and Pandemic and a wall hanging that says I am a Lion Tamer … and I am grateful to be known so well.
That is was just … lovely.

I’m exhausted and happy and I want to write more down my soul is full and tired.

In 1999 I joined a dance troupe that was based in the local community college.

Many of numbers were a mix of rehearsal availability and dance needs, it wasn’t a rigorous group by any stretch. Except an instructor I really liked was actually auditioning for a very physical dance. I went, not expecting much. A long time ago I had learned that if overtly feminine was part of the requirements for a thing (like cheerleading, or dancing) I was likely to get the role of weakest male instead (I have played the Munchkin Mayor (in drag), the football coach (in drag) and the far edge of the bottom of the pyramid more than once).

When I went to the audition we were all taught a two-person combination. One person stable and grounded, the other approaches from the front – left hand to the stable person’s right thigh, right hand to the stable person’s left shoulder and then feet in the air to be caught by the stable person.

Think about how a baton twirler walks and carries a baton tucked into their arm kind of like a baby. Like that, with the head of the moving person at the stable person’s hips and their feet waaaaay up in the air. Hold for 5 seconds and then disassemble in a way that doesn’t kill anyone.

I learned that move 14 years ago, if I trusted my body and a partner well enough I could still do it because I remember it that clearly.

The best part was that everyone who would be accepted into the piece had to be able to do BOTH parts. For once I would be able to do the beautiful flipping part as well as the stable part.

My partner and I nailed it. Then the instructor looked at the program – I was in the dance before and the one after. I wasn’t replaceable in either by that point. I wouldn’t get to play. The song before gave me the chance to get across the stage in 8 beats with a running roll thrown in for dramatic measure (I suspect I could still do the roll too). The song after was non-descript and a bit of an embarrassment as the choreography kept deteriorating to accommodate the lowest common denominator.

I have a tiny sad in my heart that I wasn’t in the extremely physical piece because it was stunning. I also know that I was eating a pound of peanut butter a day during the Saturday rehearsals and my feet were so gory by the end I was taking pictures of them. The celebration dinner after the opening show also included six ice packs. I am not sure I could have physically really pulled it off but my GOD I was having a wonderful time working so hard to be ready for the show.

It really remains a highlight of those years — and those years were really really good.

Last night a friend of mine & I drove to Durham, NC to see Pilobolus perform at the amazing DPAC. We ate at the Blue Olive where you should totally eat if you have the opportunity.

Pilobolus does the type of dance I long to do, even though my body is far past the opportunity. I love that when I go back and look at the website I recognize the dancers. I saw two world premiere pieces and the first one (choreographed in part by Penn & Teller) was great but the second … will be how they close the show for a long time because it is perfection. I also got to see two men untie themselves from a Gordian Knot on a Stripper Pole – and if you ever have the change — you should see that as well.

There may be hesitation because any YouTube search shows folks in G-Strings. You might wonder if your kid / mom / uncle / grandma should see it. They should. You should. Bodies are amazing, and more than the physical proximity of the dancers to each other (they are CLOSE), the intimacy of the trust they show each other, the respect, the absolute faith they have is mind blowing.

If you are mid-air, I will catch you.
If you are head-down, you will not fall.
If you flirt, I will flirt back.
If you trust me, I will trust you.

Go see Pilobolus. At least in Durham they also did a shorter “children’s show” which (I suspect) involves a different level of clothing.

At some point in the mid-90s my first husband and I entered into our first major purchase – a couch.

He was, absolutely, his father’s son.  He enjoyed a comfortable and relaxing sit in front of the television and with the amazing existence of the mid-1990s there was a couch that reclined.  In function it was perfect, a long thigh to match his, it reclined, and it was clearly to be ours.

Now, as I was experimenting with the newness of being The Lady of The House I deemed that it shouldn’t be ugly.  Being in the throws of the mid 1990s did not help on that front at all.  Most upholstery was un-lovely in a muted mauve and teal floral extravaganza.

We negotiated and settled upon his functionality and the best attempt at my not-ugly rule.  It was tan.  All of it.  One large yellow/tan mass of tan couch with tan pillows and tan arm rest covers.  TAN.  Not ugly, but also not interesting.  It was the best we could do but I didn’t like it much more than if it was straight up ugly.

In 2005 I left it in Athens while I went to IL, I thought I was done with it.  It was still in Athens when I returned in 2007.  It  became the couch I would have forever.  Although, in due respect – it is a Lane sofa and has held up VERY well through many moves and a fair amount of inattention.

Then last night, it was gone.  Given to a neighbor in March, it was picked up last night and marched out of the house as I encouraged the young daughter of the new owners to not get squashed by it.  Just gone.  The last thing I owned that my first husband had sat on, watched Akira on, played video games from.

Today, a new couch arrived.  Gray this time, and bigger.  I showed it to my son and husband via technology.  It looks good and I have a plan for how I am going to finish off the room already.

Time is beautiful and relentless.  Good-bye couch that I hated for so long, I’ll miss you.

Today Jeff & I went into the city to hear my nephew play at Symphony Hall.  He and his school mates were wonderful.

If you are 4.5 years-old the biggest draw to this kind of a day was hanging out with mom who was likely to be in a pretty good mood.

We left a little late, and cut it a little close, so I invoked “Team Pumpkin” which is code for being 100% team oriented.  It is a special state of mom/son zen that is rarely used so that when it comes out we know that it is super serious.  Today, as soon as I put the car in park Jeff had unbuckled himself, slid into the front seat, and started putting on his coat.  He also was the one who spotted the ramp that brought us out of the underground parking and into the daylight.  Team Pumpkin means everybody is thinking and working towards the goal.

When you are 4.5, mom can be pretty agreeable to little trinkets of delight for such a strange day, and she may have intentionally packed a delight or two in her purse just for the fun of it.  Having made it to the beautiful hall, and having found a seat as nephew / cousin walked on stage (on the most beautiful symphony stage I have ever seen) it is time to take a look around.  Happily, the performance is mostly for chaperones of competing schools and as long as Jeff is quiet it isn’t too disruptive.  Look, poke, ask, wiggle, and HEY!  Fruit Snacks!  Awesome MOM!!!!

As nephew/cousin came off stage we were able to be right there.  Me in my big proud grin, and Jeff in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask from yesterday’s birthday party.  Nephew/cousin hugged us both, looked pleased with the way it had gone, and listened attentively to Jeff’s recounting of yesterday’s birthday party and how he had an orange TMNT mask.  We were, after all, sharing special things.

After our good-byes and final congratulations we were on to see if more adventure could be had.  The Art Institute is right across the street and the lions beckoned us.  After a brief flirtation with city pigeons we went inside and got in line.  Frankly, I was surprised as (in MANY ways) this is not Jeff’s gig quite yet.  Before paying our admission fee Jeff asked what he would get to make.  We stepped out of line and I explained that this was a looking, no-touching, hand-holding kind of place.

He asked if we had already paid to get in.

I said no.

He grinned.

“I don’t want to do this”

“Perfect timing dude, thank you.  What do you want to do?”

“Look for more pigeons”

and we did, on the way to McDs for lunch, then across the street to DD for a cup of coffee for me.

We stood under the L as a train went over.

It was good.


I wrote a half dozen thank you notes today.  I didn’t have the stamina to do all that I wanted to.

I went to volunteer today, unsure of how vocal I would be about it being my last shift.  I didn’t need to worry, they already knew and they were happy that my return looked  good and sad that I wasn’t going to be volunteering with them anymore.

I love taking the opportunity to meet whole new batches of people from time to time.  It is an interesting internal test, and it shows my weaknesses and prides and ego in ways that are helpful for me to know about, and get perspective on.  With the group I volunteered with, I was in the lowest possible sector with a disproportionate amount of knowledge.  It took me awhile to learn to walk that line, I am better for having learned it.

Still, sometimes it means looking at people I have a fondness for and knowing that I won’t see them again any time soon, even more likely is that I will never see them again.  Sometimes I will never know what becomes of them at all.  Not everyone does this, but it is how it works for me.

So there is always the question.  How far out there do I go, do I put myself, knowing that goodbye is always part of it?  How important a laugh in October, and how willing am I to trade it for sorrow in March?

De-connecting is difficult, but the time for it to begin in LLV has arrived.  I want to treat this sadness tenderly because I chose it.

My family has spent months on long, long, vacation and the wrap-up is beginning.  Here are some of the things I have learned about myself.  I am honestly not upset about any of them and it will be interesting to remember over time that even in pristine circumstances these things are true for me.

1.  I am an erratic exerciser.  With 40 weeks of a HUGE amount of control of my schedule I still did & did not exercise in a nearly random pattern.  I identify as both athletic and as a runner but if I had to submit an application to a governing board I would not have retained either of those qualifications this year.

2.  City proximity is more important than being there.  I LOVE that I am as close to a major city as I am and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this city, that it is filled with everything any engaged human being could possibly want.  I just haven’t been down there much.  Nor will I be from the looks of it.  Dear City, knowing you are there is enough.  To be truthful: I am semi-close to a major city when we aren’t on LLV …. I have never learned to love that city.  Not even close.  Not even a little bit.

3.  I never learned how to invite people to my home comfortably.  Sometimes I can rally for an EVENT, but like just for … the fun of it??? Yeeeeeah, I don’t know how to do that.  Maybe I don’t need to *know* how – but it feels too strange for me to do just for fun.  That is easier to cover when we aren’t on LLV because we are WAY out of town.

4.  I want Dunkin Donuts to make my coffee.  They are better at it and it makes me feel cared for.  I can make my own, and have for most of this year but when the going gets tough / sad / happy / non-normal the tough gets her ass to DD for a large coffee.

5.  I love hospital work.  No matter what the work is.  I think healthcare is fascinating in every angle and I love working in that field.

(wow, you should see the tags that wordpress is blindly throwing my direction right now – my favorite is Doctor of Divinity which must have sprung off of DD …. yeeeeeeeah.  The coffee is good but it ain’t g-d.)

What have you learned about yourself this year?



“Jeff?  If you can stay patient and pleasant for the store, you can pick an Easter candy to try from the big wall of candy…”

We had a great trip through the store and he chose pink bunny Peeps.  At the register the young woman joked about putting them in the microwave (she suggested NOT doing that).  I talked about our soap adventure (Ivory – totally do it) but I started eyeballing Jeff and he was eyeballing me…..  LET’S GET HOME.

Zoom to the car, throw the food in the cabinets, eat one Peep just to have the normal experience (like either of us tasted it) and saddle up – let’s NUKE this sucker.  We kept it from exploding, we de-foiled two Hershey Kisses and jammed them in the middle and swirled them around until it was a sticky mess.

Yesterday I was on a plane.  Today Husband was on a plane and son, frankly, doesn’t get why he isn’t collecting airlines miles as well.

We are in divide and conquer mode as we enter the home stretch of LLV with to do / to decide / to resolve / to be rid of lists a mile long for each of us, and none of the lists overlapping very much at all.

Our reward and reconnection at the end of the first of many strange weeks was a pink sticky sweet hot mess of a moment together.

I’m pleased (and a bit zoomy from the sugar).

Ivory Soap