Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Mosts of 2008

Most Liberating: teaching MiniMe the finer points of microwave cooking. She cooks for herself and Muggsy.

Most Anticipated: our summer full of visitors, from both sides of the family.

Most Chaotic: our summer full of visitors, from both sides of the family.

Most Decompressing: redneck cocktail parties in our driveway all summer long. The hours of R & D spent on the perfect fruity vodka drink were brutal, but someone had to do it.

Most Rewarding: working on a state legislator's election campaign (she won!) and filling the role of chairperson for my precinct.

Most Unexpected: landing my dream job when they came looking for me.

Most Overwhelming: fighting a lawsuit without an attorney.

Most Exciting: the call from The Best Man in the spring telling us they would be moving back to Utah after 7 years of living too far away.

Most Entertaining: recalling exactly why The Best Man and Mr. O are like fire and gasoline. The path of scorched earth is getting longer and wider as each day passes.

Most Worthwhile: hand-delivering our Salvation Army Angel gifts to the distribution facility the week before Christmas and seeing how many others had been generous with donations. Makes me proud to know our family was part of it.

Most Cathartic: having a stash to draw from, and a reason to get all crafty again.

Most Confounding: realizing that I don't know how to answer most of the 'why' questions that come from the depths of Muggsy's two-year-old psyche.

Most Civilizing: my new 9-mile commute (and that's round trip).

Most Pragmatic: 6 going on 16. Just shoot me now.

Most Predictable: 40-year-old eyes, arms that are too short, and steadfast resolve not to get bifocals.

The New Year will start, at least for me, with a very clear view of the world.

Most Sincerely, Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Solstice 2008

:: An adaptation of Danish and Celtic solstice poems::

As the sun and moon renew themselves and we honor the closing of circles

Once again, we learn that even in the darkest moments

Health, serenity, and healing are available

Bless our connections with the ancients

Bless our connections with each other

Bless our connections with future generations

Bless our connections with the circles of the seasons

Bless our connections with places of beauty and solitude

Celebration is at hand

Celebrate the renewal of bonds of kinship

Celebrate the renewal of bonds of friendship

Celebrate those who have touched our lives

Celebrate the return of the sun and longer days


Above all, peace.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two peas

Sunny, funny and crazy runs strong among the men in this house.

A boy...

...and his daddy...

...remind me every single day that laughter truly is the greatest gift.

If you see Mr. O today, tell him he's safe. The traditionally lame ideas that become my feeble attempts to celebrate his birthday just aren't coming to me this year.

Unless you count this post.

Happy Birthday, Hon -- hope the fancy new snowshoes you got are enough to buy me out of this one.

Your brother made me do it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A fork in the road

"You're pretty upset that they're moving away, aren't you," she said, more a statement than a question.

"No. Yes. I-I don't know," I replied.

I leaned back on the sofa, wrapped a hand around the tension at the back of my neck and looked away. I really didn't know what I felt.

For three years I had battled for my place in Mr. O's hierarchy. A place that was at least equal to The Best Man, a guy who had been Number One for so many years.

And now? Now I had my chance. The BMan had just told us that he and his young family would be moving to the confines of a remote western town that was at least 9 hours' driving time from our home.

Why was I so torn? I should have been elated. Even if only by default, I finally had a fighting chance.

I fell in love with Mr. O on our third date, the day I learned that wakeboarding is little more than a cold water enema when you're not naturally coordinated. He and The BMan were so patient with me.

And when patience didn't work, they tossed me another Bud Light.

Over the next several months I got sucked in by the magic of their brotherly affection for each other. I laughed myself to breathless tears at their stories, the tales of fun and troublemaking that are the core of college buddy friendships.

The 10 years of history they would always have, the history that didn't include me.

When we quarreled, his refuge was a stool at the workbench in The BMan's garage. When we had something to celebrate, it was The BMan and his wife who joined us. When Mr. O's dad died, it was The BMan who saw and felt Mr. O's devastation long before I did.

When we promised ourselves to each other for better or worse, it was The Best Man who stood by and claimed witness to it.

I knew what I was marrying into. I vowed to accept Mr. O + 1.

So why was this long-distance move such a tug of war between my heart and my head?

Maybe it was the giddy and loveable little boy that took over for Grown Up Mr. O when The BMan was around.

It could have been the pure, unadulterated fun that the two of them had in doing everything from replacing a radiator hose to coloring Easter eggs.

Just seeing the bond between them made my ovaries ache for the generation that would carry on the legacy.

I couldn't figure out if I was happy that I'd finally be in the spotlight, or scared because I had some big shoes to fill, or pissed that I'd have to figure out the formula for finding what made Mr. O the happiest.

I looked across at her.

"Are you afraid that you're getting what you asked for?" she posed.

"You mean am I worried that I can't fill the void?" I shot back.

The therapist in her didn't react, but she belied her buried empathy with the tears that welled in the corners of her eyes.

She knew. Better than I did.

I would miss him as much as Mr. O would.

Thanksgiving a year ago, The BMan and I were solving the problems of the world from our armchairs, long after everyone else had called it quits for the night. They were visiting from South Dakota.

"I can't imagine what it's been like for you guys since everything fell apart," he said, not moving his eyes from the TV.

"Yeah, it's been a bit of a challenge," I replied, trying not to give away the gnawing anxiety that beat me into sleepless submission each night.

I leaned away so I could swipe at the tears inconspicuously.

In silence, we finished watching whatever had our focus for the moment and then I hit the power button on the remote.

The hallway toward the back of the house forced us to see one another as we turned in for the night. I looked up at him, his tender and empathetic expression begging for my recognition.

I reached up to hug him hard, with the sincerity and appreciation I hadn't been able to offer before then.

"Get back here fast. Mr. O needs you -- bad," I mumbled into his comforting shoulder.

"Yeah, I know. We will," he replied.

I count my blessings.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I can, singlehandedly, right all the wrongs in the world

Dear Starbucks Drive-Thru Customer Last Friday Morning,

I know it's difficult to see the smaller cars from your high-altitude perch in that pearl white Escalade with shiny 24-inch custom wheels. But, SweetPea, if you'd just briefly lift your eyes from the rhinestone-encrusted Crackberry you've got wedged between your palm and the steering wheel, you'd see there's an entire world around you, just waiting to be seen. Trust me.

Like that guy back there in the early-model Toyota, who was kindly NOT blocking the driveway entrance to the drive-thru line by hanging back a car length or two while waiting for his turn. Conveniently, that was just enough room for you to swing your blinged-out land yacht into the space without missing a single keystroke in that text message that was clearly more important than paying attention in a very crowded retail parking lot.

I must admit that your deftly executed move simultaneously cutting off someone waiting patiently in line while also blocking me from being able to turn into the driveway from the main entrance of the parking lot would be regarded as masterful in certain circles.

Not in mine.

Although you didn't see it, Mr. Toyota backed up even further so I could pull into the parking lot and park my car in a space as I usually do. Try it sometime -- even though the huge effort required to actually walk the 30 paces into the lobby and up to the counter may be more than you can handle, it's almost always faster than sitting there in that long drive-thru line. You also get to have normal personal interaction with the baristas and other people waiting for orders. No thumb typing necessary.

Really, though, it's no wonder that you didn't see the purpose on my face as I stepped over to tap on your driver's side window. Or my fast-building annoyance as I was getting ready to tap again because you didn't show any sign of hearing it the first time. When you finally looked up, doe-eyed with wonder (see Big Wide World Opportunity noted above) that this could be happening, I waggled my finger in a clockwise circle, giving you the universal sign for Roll Down Your Window.

On account of your clueless response, I used a measured benefit-of-the-doubt voice to tell you that you had just thoughtlessly cut off Mr. Toyota. And that he had just thrown up his hands in disgust, adopted a frown line of day-ruining proportion, and leaned back in his driver's seat to accept his fate. Your genuinely baffled "Really?" was just enough to make my effort worthwhile as I said, with no empathy, "Yep."

I'm sure as you then performed that 37-point-turn to wheedle your way out of line and around to the back of it where you belonged, you were just incredulous that anyone would have the gall to notice much less say anything.

But that's just me.

Have a nice day.