Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Beach

We took a drive to the southern side
And enjoyed the sun and higher tides
We joined the family in a great big house
But this morning was just me and my spouse
We woke up early to sneak in a run
And returned, and were greeted by no one
All the rest remained fast asleep
While we read and dined not making a peep
So though there are nine others here at the beach
This morning it was my husband and me, his peach

Friday, July 27, 2012

Birthday

It is weird to grow up and experience grown-up birthdays. My birthday is July 28. I never thought of it as the end of summer. My parents always delayed my birthday party until mid-August, when they could have a joint party and include my brother. My parents always delayed our summer vacation until the very beginning of September, so that we could avoid crowds at popular destinations.

It's strange to hear people talking about summer as almost over, and school right around the corner, when my birthday is tomorrow. No way. My birthday is tomorrow. We are still in the middle of summer. 

This chalk message was drawn for me on my very first grown-up birthday, the summer after I graduated high school. I had to work on my birthday, my first job, my first responsibility. I was terribly upset about it. Also, my father was away. But really, he was away for every birthday, so I shouldn't have allowed that to bother me another year. It was not his fault. My birthday is always the last week of July, and his summer camp is always the last week of July. So really, it's not his fault. I was the one who was born ten days late, if we're keeping score. 

Anyway.

On this first grown-up birthday, my best friend Lana came over while I was working and enlisted my sisters to create a spectacular chalk message with her to welcome me home. Inside, they had balloons and gifts waiting. It was so much fun and a total surprise! They made my first grown-up birthday not so bad after all. 

This week, I have celebrated my birthday on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. And my birthday is Saturday. These grown-up birthdays, they really aren't so bad. As you age, your circles grow and expand and you are celebrated even more!

At least that is how it is for me. May your birthday always bring you childish joy, love and smiles, and a slice of cake.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Secrets to a Successful Marriage

We have attended two weddings this summer, we have two to go, and we will be unable to attend two. All the white dresses and first dances make me think of my own wedding day, almost two years ago now. My only regret, which I have just realized, is that I wish we had hired a videographer.

They might have captured some beautiful scenes for me to treasure, like this one:
Both sets of my grandparents taking to the dance floor and staying out there as the DJ eliminated other couples during the anniversary dance. "58 years!" I can hear my grandmother exclaiming into the microphone the DJ held out to her. "And what is the secret to your marriage?" he asked. And then, my poor memory can't remember if she said "I do the hula every morning!" or... "I hula hoop every morning!" 

Either way - I do remember that she laughed at her own joke, which made me laugh even more. And knowing her, it really could have been either one of those. If I had known she would be revealing such secrets, if I knew then what I know now, I would have been sure to have a video camera on hand...

I am sure in the moment I had decided any additional expense would just be too much, but I am glad that I was married first, so that I can tell my sisters that it must be in the budget. And if it can't be, I think I will pay for it myself. We can't let secrets like this fade away.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On Growing Up

It snuck up on me - because I had spent my whole childhood waiting to be bigger, so that I could stay up later. So that I could get my ears pierced. So that I could drive. So that I could go to college. So that I could get married.

And here I am. I can do all of those things. I did do all of those things. And more than anything, I just want to go back.

I watch my sisters pile into a car together and I know when they get home they will continue to hang out, maybe watch a movie, probably talk until the lights go off, probably talk after the lights go off. And I want to be there too.

I think about what to do next, which task to take on, and remember when I did not have things to do or responsibility to anyone. I woke up and read a book. I ate lunch and played outside. I enjoyed family dinner and watched military tv shows with my brother and my dad. I went to bed. That was nice.

Now I sit and feel guilty just sitting when there are weeds growing up in my garden which I should pull. And there is mold in my bathroom that I need to clean. But I just sit and try to relax my mind and allow myself to just sit and not feel responsible or obligated, only indulge in a carefree moment. This is hard to do.

I don't have regrets - except that I wish I had savored it more. Except that I know even when there were people telling me to savor it, don't grow up to fast, being an adult really isn't that much fun ... I didn't listen.

Now I look around and wonder why my baby cousins are driving. How are they taller than me? Why does my grandfather look so very old? When did my parents become my friends and not my protectors?  Why am I now holding my mother up in an icy parking lot? Wasn't it really not that long ago that she took my hand to make sure I didn't fall? When did my family become so spread out across the country? I think it was just a moment ago we were all together in the same place ...

I am not sad about where I am now. I just want to capture as many of those joyous childhood memories as I can, because it was actually, despite what I told my parents or how my thirteen year old self was feeling, actually lovely. At least I can reminisce with a smile on my face. I know I am lucky.

This week especially, growing up has been very hard.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Man vs. Beast

Mister and I frequently walk around the yard inspecting. Checking on what areas need weeding and what areas need watered. I am nervous when we do this, afraid that I will come across plants we neglected and stay forever in the category of "beginner gardeners."

This year though I have been surprised. We seem to be doing well. And things are growing! The only thing that disappointed me was that a lack of rain didn't bring the abundant blueberry and raspberry crops we enjoyed so much last year. Even still, we did have some blueberries and raspberries to enjoy.

And then we got a reminder that all of the careful tending and watering can still be all for nothing. Even when you have sprayed for bugs. Even when you have put on plant food. Even when you have weeded. Because sometimes, the animals still win and there's not much you can do about it except sit in the yard 24/7 and keep watch, which is unfortunate when we both work full time and require at least 7 hours of sleep.

Yesterday, we lost the most beautiful peach. It was almost ready, just one more day would have made it perfect. And someone else out there knew that too.

I am hoping these others stay safe so that we can enjoy some peach smoothies soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Proud

I grew these mahself!
It's now time for zucchini bread, zucchini stir-fry, and my ultimate favorite -- fried zucchini!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Garden Chores

Spent a few hours weeding the potatoes. I enjoy weeding, because I can see my progress and it motivates me to keep going and finish the job. A finished job is neat and tidy, something to take pride in, a sweet accomplishment. Tonight these four clean rows of potatoes are making me a very happy girl.