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one crazy summer

Tomorrow is registration day at the high school. I can hardly believe it’s already time for that. Peter is going to be a sophomore, and it won’t be long before he’s old enough to get his learner’s permit. (I’ve mentioned that his half birthday takes place right around when progress reports arrive. Awesome! More incentive to get a good start this year, am I right?)

And in two weeks, we’ll be back home after moving Moon into her dorm room at U of M. I’m sure we’ll be in tears during the drive home, but oddly enough I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. Probably because it’s all happening, instead of me stressing and guessing about what might be going on in the kinda-distant future. I know she’s going to be fine. I think I ought to be fine, too.

Seriously, it’s so strange seeing her friends leave one by one. Today we mailed a care package to the first of her friends to go off to college. Moon spent Monday baking four different kinds of cookies, something like 300 total. We’ve been enjoying many of them. She dropped off a bunch at her boyfriend’s house, too.

But there are departures every day, whether we realize it or not. My very dear ALF lost both her parents this summer, less than three weeks apart. ALF is my almost lifetime friend, and obviously I’d known her parents for just as long. It’s a shock, and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be in her shoes. She has been in my thoughts pretty much round-the-clock, and my heart goes out to her whole family. I so admire her strength. There have been other huge challenges for her this summer, ones that would put me over the edge.

Our biggest issue right now is that there seems to be a mouse residing in our house. A smart mouse, that is not cooperating with our efforts to corner it in a humane trap. On the up side, we’ve cleaned out some cabinets that hadn’t been touched in a while.

Anyway, I’m just popping in to say I’m still here. So goes it.

day two

I knew before I got to church that it would take all my might to hold my sh** together during the service. Which was interesting, because I was worship assistant today. I stood in front and read announcements, got the service started and introduced songs. I almost burst into tears for no reason four times. The service was longer than usual, too. My final duty was standing by the door afterwards and hugging people as they left.

I was pretty proud of myself for getting through the whole thing. Of course, I lost it in the car on the way home. SpiritMan is a patient guy. I’m glad he understands that there’s no big underlying drama or reason when I occasionally turn into a big wad of feelings.

In other news, the kids and I went to meet Kiko, who is quite charming and delightful. That was easily the highlight of the weekend. :)

My goal for November is to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see how my posts change as that happens. (Fingers crossed. Toes, too.)

a few things

  1. This shirt made me smile this morning, and it also made me think of Jodi.
  2. Kim sold a greeting card to Jonah Hill. She lives in LA now, so opportunities to rub shoulders with celebrities happen far more often than they do in Madison. (And needless to say, more often than they would in Somonauk, IL.) Her creations are available to us little people, too!
  3. Heroes last night was all kinds of awesome. I’m even willing to overlook some of last week’s continuity problems because sort-of-good Sylar rocks so very hard. Plus, Mama Petrelli “feeding” her child? Deliciously evil!
  4. I don’t want to speak too soon, but I think the dizziness that has plagued me for the past two weeks is subsiding.
  5. Flock is really slow lately. I’ve been using Chrome, and I love that it doesn’t crash like Firefox does, but I miss all the extensions. I hope Google hurries up and (a) releases a Mac version of Chrome, (b) creates an email checker.

independence day

My friend Patti’s sister Jeannie died last night after an intense, exhausting battle with cancer. First breast cancer, then several years later, ovarian cancer. She lived 3 hours away but used to come to Madison to do Race for the Cure with us. This was the first year she couldn’t make it. The cancer was back this winter, and she had extensive surgery in January. Then there was nothing more that could be done.

I didn’t mention this earlier, but I saw her last weekend. Patti doesn’t drive, and her husband works long hours, so various friends had been taking Patti to see her family. I volunteered for a turn, because I really wanted to see Jeannie again. It was a humbling experience. I met Patti and Jeannie’s 93-year-old mother, who is robust and witty. Jeannie had a stroke a few months ago, and her vision was affected. She could barely squeak out a few words, and the morphine had her sleeping much of the time. Her skin was stretched over her bones and was yellowed from liver failure. I knew I wouldn’t see her again.

I can’t imagine the loss that her family is feeling right now. The only consolation is that Jeannie is finally free again.

in real life

Jeff and MeOne of the last things I did in 2007 was to meet Jeff in person. We had coffee together and went to church, where we burned stuff ritualistically and stood in front of the ladies’ room while Moon took our picture.

Jeff and I met via another website around 4 years ago, had corresponded offline, but had never seen each other face to face. He was in town with a friend, which was why we finally had this opportunity to meet.

He was much taller (and much more blond) than I had expected. But otherwise he was the same good sport and pleasant guy I’d come to know through his writing. I’m glad we got to send off 2007 the way we did, and I hope 2008 brings him everything he’s been working for.

ringing in the new year

We welcomed the new year in a different way — at someone else’s house. But we still didn’t have to venture far. Moon’s friend Brooke talked her mom into inviting our whole family over. They live two houses away, so we carried our games and white chocolate dipped pretzels. No driving for us! We all made it to midnight without falling asleep (I’d cleaned myself up enough to pass for ‘recovering from cold’ as opposed to ‘scary and infectious-looking.’)

Peter was the clear winner in Ticket to Ride, which didn’t surprise me because he’s had quite the winning streak since we pulled that game out last week. I’m hoping this means he’ll be excelling in social studies this quarter.

We took the tree down and put away the ornaments this morning. Rearranged the sofas and washed the blankets to make room for my glorious new quilt rack. I’m rather enjoying having moved my knitting chair two feet to the right. It’s at a jaunty new angle, and I can still see the TV.

Which reminds me. NBC should not promote a “marathon” of past Heroes episodes if they’re only planning on showing the three middle shows. (I watched anyway, because when it comes to Heroes I can’t help myself.)

I’m still thinking about resolutions, because I kind of forgot to do it earlier. But I did ask everyone last night to name the most significant thing that they did in 2006. I had more than one thing:

  • I changed my name.
  • I quit my job.
  • I started doing other work, and formed a new business.
  • I became a certified feng shui practitioner.
  • I started being an omnivore again.

I wonder how I’ll top all that in 2007?

a social life? me?

Last night, when Deb called to see if we were still on for a visit today, I had to admit that I had forgotten. But hey, I’m totally up for visitors, I told her, so c’mon over!

I tried to make the house look like it’s not ravaged every day by Viking warriors. She called a little while ago to tell me that she was kind of lost trying to take the scenic route, so I actually got a little bit of paid work done, too.

With my wacky calendar, I’ve realized that I do need to be using my PDA — even though it’s crappy, not back-lit, and keeps accidentally turning on. When I dragged it out of the electronics drawer, though, I discovered that it’s dead. (*trying to hide my glee*) So I’ve been sneaking peeks at possible replacements. I want an actual PDA, not a smartphone. I think I’ve come to a decision.

I wonder if Deb feels like shopping. I know she’d better feel like having lunch, because I’m getting hungry.

farm fresh

Baby veggies
Originally uploaded by me.

Every year when the sugar snap peas ripen at Vermont Valley Farm, CSA members are invited to help pick them. Each family gets to keep up to five pounds; half of what they pick goes to the week’s delivery.

I love sugar snap peas, so Pete and I headed out to the farm yesterday for the annual picking. Although the weather was humid, it wasn’t quite as hot as we’d had during the week. Sweat poured down my face, and my shoes were caked in mud, but it wasn’t unpleasant.

Later, we went to help a friend move out of the apartment where he’d lived for seven years. Now, that was work. Pete and I have stayed put for the past 12 years, and I found myself wondering how overwhelmed I’d be if I suddenly had to pack up everything we owned. I’m compulsive enough that I’d probably start organizing and labelling everything weeks in advance, though. I asked our friend how long he’d been packing. “Well, I got up at 6 this morning,” he replied. Huh.

fun and games and mst3000

We had an incredible time last night visiting Nichole and JM last night. We played a fun game (with JM acting as game master or emcee or whatever, because apparently he has competitiveness issues — not that the rest of us don’t) and enjoyed a classic episode of MST3000.

Last week, Pete went to the dentist, and the staff was discussing our family Christmas newsletter. The dental assistant told him that they had decided that if they had to go live with one of their client families, it would be us. (Apparently fixing up basements sounds like awesome fun.)

Well, we’re all ready to move in with Nichole and JM. Not only do they have an incredible MST3000 collection, they have a lot of cool artwork and an abundance of interesting stuff. I really should have brought my camera. Or Nichole needs to get over to Flickr and start posting random pictures — because didn’t I read something on her blog about a digital camera?

house in the country

Our friends’ front yard
Originally uploaded by me.

I wish I could say that the view from our front door was this gorgeous. But this picture was taken at the home of a couple in Pete’s choir. We had a “choir babes” party there this afternoon.

This was the first time I had seen their new house, and it was love at first sight. If we ever were to leave our beloved home, I would want a house exactly like theirs. Simple, open, natural, energy-efficient. A great place to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon laughing and catching up with friends.

surprise from california

Pete’s birthday was Thursday, and he decided to take a vacation day. (I had to work.) In the afternoon, a strange car appeared in our driveway, with California plates. A family of five piled out…friends he hadn’t laid eyes on in six years, since we had visited them in southern California.

M.A. and Dorian hadn’t changed a lot, but their kids had. The oldest, who looks like a teenage Kate Hudson, is almost 16. When we had last been together, she and Moon played “Restaurant” and served us pretend food. The boys are now 14 and 12. Young men.

M.A. and Dorian asked if my office was very far away. “It’s only five minutes from here,” Pete told them. He had a sneaky idea…

He sent the daughter, Jenna, into my office. She’s about 5’7″ and could easily pass for 18. “Are you the admissions person?” she asked. “Yes, can I help you?” I answered.

“I’m interested in going to school here. Could I have a catalog?”

“Sure!” I jumped up to get one. “I can show you around the school, if you have time.”

“I’ll take one of your business cards, too,” she said. “And I’ll write down my name and phone number for you.” (At this point, she had fooled me too well, and was trying to figure out how to get out of the school tour.)
I gave her a sticky note. She wrote her name and phone number.

I recognized her name. “Are you …?” I blurted, thinking, ohmigod, what a bizarre coincidence that she wants to come all the way from California to go to school here!

Then Pete, M.A. and Dorian jumped into the doorway from where they had been listening. I shrieked. Good thing the boss was on vacation.

We did a bit of catching up, and decided to get together Friday. I met M.A. and Jenna at the mall — they had errands to do. At around 2 p.m., we called the men of our families to meet us for lunch.

Moon is already asking me when we can go to California again. And she’s figured out that there are some pretty good colleges in southern Cal. (USC-Sunnydale is purely fictional, though.)

race for the cure

Waking up at 6:30 yesterday wasn’t as difficult as I had expected. I walked over to Patti’s apartment, where she and her daughter-in-law were waiting for me. We put on our race t-shirts, and I marveled at how cute Patti looked in her short wig-with-attached-headband. She had several pink ribbon pins on the headband, and perfect makeup as always.

We met two other people at the race site (both ex-co-workers of mine), and Patti participated in the group survivor photo. It was moving to see all the survivors, and to read all the names people had attached to their backs – In Memory of… or In Celebration of…

The walk itself was gorgeous. Sunny, clear day, and a path along the water. Some of the residents came outside and cheered the walkers as we passed. Patti is hoping that we’ll all get together and participate every year. I’m all for that – it was very uplifting, and I think it was good for her. She’s done with chemo, but still going through radiation.

During lunch afterwards, I mentioned how I’d basically rolled out of bed and pulled on my clothes. Patti said that she wishes all her primping were optional. She’s never been the no-makeup type, but now she has to get the wig looking natural, paint on her eyebrows and get some color on the stubs of her eyelashes. It’s not vanity, it’s wanting to blend in.

She is fighting the good fight. Her attitude is tremendous. It’s what she has to do, and I’m proud of her.