Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life is not a dramedy sometimes

Most of the time, I try to keep the blog light; satisfying, but less filling. This past week has some of the heavy stuff in it though.

My youngest daughter had a friend pass away after a courageous, lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 13. In early elementary school, they were thick as thieves until his illness meant he had to be tutored from home. He lost his father in a car accident at 7 years old. Life can be hard, but Austin faced every day with a sunny attitude and a lot of moxie. We've cried a lot in the past few days. It's been hard.

Other conflicts and dramas have brought many tears the past week, but none like this.

Austin, you were loved. You lived every moment as if it were your last. You were wise beyond your years and gracious beyond comprehension. You will be missed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not So Dumb and Dumber

Last week I was lucky enough to tag along on a trip to NYC with my sister. (Note to all: if someone offers you a bed in NYC for a few days, don't think, just go! 'Specially if you're an artsy fartsy type)

Anyway, my sis called wondering why photos of our big night out on the town weren't already posted on the blog. To be honest, it was a pretty special night. We had goofy grins pasted on our faces the entire way back to our hotel room. But..... the whole trip was a lot of fun. Much needed recharging for the challenges back home.

Took the train into town on Sunday when we met at the hotel...I was starving, so we headed to John's Pizzeria, a tradition....then we headed to Soho to see Sunshine Cleaning (nice, quirky film) at the tiniest little theater that reminded us of a theater we went to as kids (all that was lacking was a jar of pickles and a machine that dispensed Dixie cups of syrupy soda for $.25)....

The next day, I stopped by Tinsel Trading which was mobbed because there was a stationery show in town, but this was the first time I had been to their new location and I still managed to come away with a fun bag of goodies....I also had to go ride all the wooden escalators at Macy's....and spend some quality time in a huge Sephora....then peruse all the beading and trim shops in the fashion district....

But what sis and I couldn't stop smiling about was for later that evening! We had hemmed and hawed over shows; never got around to finally choosing until it was a late hour indeed. Just a few days before we were to meet, I saw that Jeff Daniels (who is also doing a play on Broadway called Gods of Carnage, Tony nominated) was doing a small concert at City Winery. I checked the website thinking surely it'd be sold out, but lo and behold there were still choice seats. After some consulting together, we went for it.

After a nice dinner at a small treasure called Bruschetteria (great panini, yum), we made our way to City Winery where we were escorted to a table that was a mere few feet from the stage. At that point, before we had any wine, we started to get a bit giddy. I know, some of you are thinking "why are they getting worked up over Jeff Daniels?", but you've got to remember from my old blog the time I stumbled all over myself when walking down the street with Richard Thomas of The Waltons fame. And I've always liked Jeff Daniels, just have. Sis and I shared some City Winery vino and desserts while we waited for the show to start.

I will say this, if you get the chance to see this man doing a small show anywhere you can get to, sign up immediately. Not only is he a fine actor, he has a fine voice, plays a sweet guitar and writes all of his own music; much of which will make you either laugh hysterically or have you crying into your hankie. And witty, gracious, good humored. We were entertained, charmed and touched.
What moved us the most though was when he told us about how critics have asked him if regrets doing Dumb and Dumber. He likes to tell this story...

As a public figure, sometimes when you're in the DC area, the USO might call you to ask if you'll visit Walter Reed Hospital to spend time with wounded soldiers. Mr. Daniels told us how you'd see young people with various wounds, not quite knowing what hit them, just kids really and to the last one, all they want to hear about is Dumb and Dumber. They want him to quote lines from the movie, ham it up, talk about it, makes them smile and laugh. So, whenever a critic asks if he regrets doing Dumb and Dumber, he'll reply, that no, he has no regrets, but feels honored to be a part of something that can bring joy into the darkness.
Everything after that was the frosting on top of the cake. The next day I went to the Gagosian Gallery where there was an exhibit of many of Pablo Picasso's works and sketches from later in his life. I'm not an art major, but the tone of the exhibit was interesting with the hushed reverence of those walking throughout the gallery. I'd like to read and study more on him now that I've seen these works. His bold brushstrokes, copious use of thick layers of paints and even use of different substrates has me interested, but not reverent. I want to understand why he rose to such prominence while still living; what magic he seemed to possess.
After Picasso, I wondered over to Greenwich Village because that's where I'd live in my imaginary Bohemian city life (my real life is Mayberry-like small town Aunt Bea more often than not complete with my own Barney Fife personality). Spent way too much time and money on cool little things in cool little stores and caught back up with sis later in the evening for more yummy NYC pizza at Lombardi's. To finish up our last night in the Big Apple we caught up with the Dessert Truck where we got our Goat Cheese Cake to go and hustled back to our hotel room to watch the American Idol finale in our pajamas. Another lovely few days of adventure with my sister. Now when do we go again???? I'm ready!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Walkersville Day with an Opus

I was lucky enough to get to squire Miss Rosemary, one of the Opus Gluei ladies, around my tiny town last Saturday for the annual Walkersville Day when the entire town is full of yard sales, garage sales, church yard sales, church festivals and more.
The weather cooperated and the town did too. We had a blast, particularly scoring at the local Church of Christ sale where we giggled like mad school girls as we read passages from Cherry Ames nursing books (Oh Cherry!), an old Nancy Drew cookbook (the recipe titles were worth the $.50) and a medical shorthand study book where, yes, sometimes the shorthand resembled the body part IYKWIM!

Rosemary was also able to see that I'm not telling tall tales when I say our mayor owns the local one room (tiny) feedstore down the street where he sits on the front porch in his flannel shirt watching his townspeople go by. And my youngest can't stop talking about Miss Rosemary (to a 13 year old, that's high praise). The Lutheran church had the best baked goods. All my attempts to 'be good' flew out the window when I bit into a moist, chewy 7-layer bar. This was a 'who needs a man' snack. Yes, they were really that special. We didn't know what to think of the Lemon Chocolate Chip cookies though. What do you think about that now Rosemary?

I figured I'd better send an entry for the Order of the Opus Gluei challenge over their way, so I worked on the Getaway theme by finally beginning work on the trip that we took to Hawaii with our kids 2 years ago. You know what's wild? I still had loads of paper to use left over from the scrapbook for a trip that the better half and I took to Hawaii 4 years ago along with a giant stack of tropical travel themed embellishments! Even wilder, it's still cool paper.
For this one I finally used these Meri Meri flipflops that I'd been saving for some crazy reason. Getting these three clowns to take a photo together is like nailing Jello to a tree. Here, they were worn out from snorkeling, walking and hiking through lava fields or rainforest, so I was finally able to catch them unaware.
For the 2nd layout, I opened up a package of Lil Davis bottle caps that I tried to sell in a scrap/stamp yard sale a couple of years ago. When I was cleaning off some shelves, I rediscovered them hiding in a box. Whaddya know, they are still perfectly cool, plus I was able to dust off some old Heidi Swapp tape and plastic alphabet letters.
These completed pages should make me feel good to get started on the trip scrapbook, right? Somehow that giant stack of photos that are still lying on the counter seem to be laughing mockingly at me. They will be done. Eventually. For now, it's past 5p.m. and the weekend is starting. Where's my martini shaker?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still sliding into homebase....

That's what it's felt like since I came home from a trip to North Carolina. A entire weekend full of girlfriend fun with creative minds who 'get' it. With a side of BBQ sauce. wink, wink

Once I came home, I was set upon by children with these odd demands for food, laundry, signing of stacks of school papers, shopping for birthday party gifts, bat mitzvah gifts, graduation gifts, who knows what else gifts. And that's just the kids. The hubbie and I passed like 2 ships in the night as he left town for a business trip making me a single parent.

When he's out of town, the whole house kind of goes whackadoodle. I don't have to cook and I'm happy to heat up frozen pizzas, call for takeout or if I'm feeling ambitious, make quesadillas or omelets. We stay up way too late and watch all the chick flicks he can't stand. You'd think it was heaven until the garbage disposal stops working or your teenager is getting on your last nerve or he's not home to be big spoon to my little spoon. We do miss him loads.

I did get some cute surprises for Mother's Day from my posse. My son bought me a cute sign that's already hanging in the kitchen. Totally fits me. He also bought me dinner', yummy. My youngest thoroughly outdid herself. Usually I'm a fan of the old ways, the old stuff, the school of thought that says they don't make it like they used to. Only when it comes to creativity, she is such an improvement over me. Check out this cool card she made me, complete with pop ups, flaps and lots of little interactive elements: And here is my much belated project using something floral for the Order of the Opus Gluei . I filled it with puppy treats for our neighbors who just got the cutiest, patootiest little puppers. Seriously, it's priceless to watch the big bear of a hubbie walking this bit of fluff. I've made several things with these bridal flower cones; none of which serve their intended purpose to hold flower petals. And holy sweet patooties, this girl is graduating in less than 3 weeks! I'm exhausted and it's not even officially here yet (not really Mom, so don't back out). Don't shoot me, but between you and me, I hate those formal grad photos that don't even look like the young people you've watched grow up. They're stiff, starchy and fake looking (to me). I want to remember these kids as they are, rather than how some overpriced(picture me cursing like a sailor upon spying the price lists), underwhelming photography company tries to pawn off on me.
Somewhere there are photos waiting to haunt me from my own Senior year. My mom was set upon me having my photo with of those dyed feathery whatnots. A baby bathroom blue one. They looked really cute on girls in the 60s who had the whole Aquanet hairstyle going on, but I was an 80s girl; my hair and makeup did not suit. At all. Picture a cross between Big Hair Band, Punk and dead blue feathers. Wasn't pretty. My Nana still has that photo on display along with all my cousins who have perfectly normal graduation photos. As in tuxes or formals. Better than the Big Blue Bimbette photos though!

In the spirit of my daughter's fun loving nature, we took several not so serious poses. This is my real girl; informally irreverent and happy to launch into the world.