Friday, July 31, 2009

Up and Coming

Last night, as the 5 YO could not sleep from inexplicable ear pain, and we fruitlessly tried to comfort him, I wrote a gorgeous post. I mean. Gorgeous.

Then, sleep came to all of us and with it went my lovely little vignette. I wish I could remember what it was to be about. I got nothing. Not even a clue...could have been community, Bible Study, self-talk, finding my niche...who the heck knows.

Since I want to keep my writing mojo going (or to get it started....) here is a little list of goodies I've been working on. Pictures forthcoming...someday.

Totally cool vinyl wall speech bubbles with a cutout of my kids' names. The coolest part is? I can write on them with chalk. Chalk. I know! So each kid has a bubble on the wall in the kitchen and their weekly schedules are posted and updated. And? And? The wall color shows through where the names are cut out. Totally.

Next up I have the cutest oilcloth monogrammed mini yard/garden flag. Is there no end to the cute? Pray tell me no! The one I made for our yard is a big background of black gingham, with a smaller cut of hot pink lace on top of which sits an even smaller slice of black dots boldly emblazoned with a hot pink know for our last name.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Putting the Sweet in Sugar Lake

The Lake. Sugar Lake. A tiny little patch of happy in Pennsylvania where our family has had a cottage, this cottage, for 109 years. I can still see my bare feet, blackened from the hot tar from the road, running up those stairs, a stinky hot mess of a kid loving her summer.

When I'm there, when I think of it, images float into my mind. This is what I see.
  • Playing Trivial Pursuit on the screened porch
  • Tin cups in bright colors
  • Fighting over who would get the turquoise towel
  • Carving our names into mushrooms Grandma found with us.
  • Wearing my first bikini
  • Swimming in the lake, standing on old inner tubes, playing king
  • Eating all my favorite foods, nary a thought to my waist line

Makes me smile.

Now I live 1000 miles from this childhood idyll and being there is worth ever hard earned mile. My joy comes from two sources. The first is simple remembrance. Some people who have enjoyed the cottage are no longer living, some I haven't seen in over 20 years. The whole family doesn't always get there every summer but no matter who is there, we still, ALWAYS play Trivial Pursuit. Walking in the slamming back door into the kitchen is entering a family museum. My dad's high school art work, my aunt's books, old fishing rods. Even the curtains, made by hand by my great grandmother, still hang.

I'm awash and downright glowy with nostalgia. I've smeared vaseline on the lens of history and only the beautiful remains. But whatever.

Because the second source of joy in being there is watching my kids. Five of the seven cousins scrambled around the yard all day and well into the night on July 4th. The ambled from one activity to the next; from art on the porch to swinging, races in the yard, smoke bombs, fishing, bug catching. The whole bit. They wake up and play. All. Day. Long. And they go to bed tired.

It may sound like I'm romanticizing a pile of wood and glass and nails. Maybe I have. Nothing wrong with a little childhood idyll.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Make New Friends and Keep the Old?

photo credit: Simon Howden

Remember that song? My kids learned it in kindergarten. The song asks us to make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. What if the old friends are also the new friends?

I found myself asking this question all day Tuesday and into Wednesday. My family loaded up the car and hurtled from Tulsa toward Pittsburgh, PA (City of Champions). Since this trip is over 1000 miles, we stop on the way to presevere parental sanity and some semblance of routine; usually we stay at a hotel with a pool. But this year, after reconnecting on Facebook with a long lost friend whose home was almost a midway point, we planned to stay with her.

My emotions jiggled inside me; I was nervous, excited, anxious, giggly, happy and curious. I met Kristin when I was 19 years old, almost 20 years ago. We had an intense friendship over several years of college and wrote and spoke regularly. Then we graduated, married, had babies and lost touch. I wondered during our drive to her house what seeing her again would be like.

I knew the big chunks: kids, marriage, struggles, the usual. But did she still love music? What was her husband like? How about her kids? Would we have anything to talk about? Would my husband feel totally out of place?

Turns out, Kristin, like me, is different than she was all those years ago. And strikingly the same. Thoughtful, intelligent, deliberate and kind. I honestly can't remember what drew me to her in the first place, but I do know what draws me to her now. So I find myself with a brand new old friendship. One that I hope will grow.