Thursday, December 31, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Such mixed emotions...
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Oct. 21, 1969.
After four decades, I can no longer recall the sound of my mother's voice. I can no longer recall the sound of her laugh.
What I do remember is that she had a great sense of humor, and her friends regularly turned to her for advice. My mother was a registered nurse. Her favorite soap opera was As The World Turns. She boycotted lettuce in support of the underpaid lettuce growers in the 60s. She loved reading and acting. My mother never learned to drive. She enjoyed playing bridge and Monopoly. She was a good cook.
I remember she let me stay home from school once when I was in the fourth grade. I wasn't sick, she just let me stay home with her. I think now that I was her safety net that day...
In my mother's absence o'er these many years, I have been blessed with the love of and nurturing by several special "other mothers", including my wonderful mother-in-law... the most wonderful friends... and of course, my guardian-angel-on earth, my ever lovin' sister. So I have much to be thankful for.
Granted, I have struggled with several emotional issues. All motherless daughters do, to one degree or another.
And then, of course, there is the issue of Mother's Day. Until I had Daniel, Mother's Day was THE worst day of the year. Every spring, surrounded by reminders of how special the mother-daughter relationship is, but unable to spend time with my own Mom or give her a gift...
According to Ms. Edelman, however, we motherless daughters have our own "gifts".
We have, she says, the courage to "journey alone." Courage born of necessity, I would add.
Actually, truth be known, I come from a long line of motherless daughters.
My mother lost her mother when she was four years old. My grandfather later married a woman who had lost her mom when she was five.
Even my stepmother (my dad remarried a year or so after my mom died) lost her mom at a young age.
Psychologists say that for motherless daughters, living beyond the age our mothers died is "living dangerously," and we often feel driven to make the most of that time. Hence, many of the most celebrated and driven women of our time are motherless daughters...
Love you, Mom! Miss you...
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
So I did.
Then I noticed how the morning glories, though beautiful, have taken over my entire garden, and the creeping jenny, albeit great, green groundcover, is really a weed and it has highjacked most of the yard.
Do I really care? No. But I started yanking weeds anyway and that's when I saw the first one. The first cricket of "cricket season". All sorts of little crickets hopping to and fro...they do that this time of year; that summer's-almost-over-but-fall-ain't-quite-here time of year that brings out not only the crickets but the big, beautiful (and scary looking) garden spiders...
It's the time of year I always think about my friend Kim...if you are reading this, Kim, you know where I am headed.
It was, I think, 1968...Kim and her family had just moved back to our neighborhood, and sixth grade was just getting underway. We were playing outside in the field behind the elementary school where it was crickets galore. And so Kim and I got a box, caught some of the little buggers, and one of them we named Flower...
Ah. The innocence of life back in the sixth grade in Madeira, Ohio.
That following summer -- our sixth-grade summer, as we still to this day reminisce -- was THE best summer of our lives. Kim, Tricia, Helen and I were best buds, and we rode bikes, and slept outside in sleeping bags, and talked about how the four of us were going to get an apartment together some day...
We'd spend our days just hanging out, sometimes lying on the ground, staring up into the cloudless sky for what seemed like hours..."The sky is so blue," I remember one of us remarking once. It was, indeed, a scene right of Wonder Years.
As it turned out, the four of us never did share an apartment. We all went our separate ways after high school. But for the most part, we have always kept in touch.
We tried re-enacting that blue-sky moment years later -- around 1990 -- after I moved back to Cinci from Iowa. We were in our mid-30s, married...way past the age of catching crickets and naming them. But it felt so good to be back together again. So, putting our harried lives on hold for a moment, we all made our way down to the ground in Tricia's backyard one mid-summer afternoon and gazed up into the sky.
"The sky is so blue!" one us said, and we laughed and laughed.
For a brief moment, we were back in sixth grade again...lighthearted, carefree, awash in the sense that like the big, blue endless sky above, our lives stretched out before us, chock full of possibility and opportunity...
But then it was getting late, and there was supper to fix and diapers to change, and...
I don't think we will ever forget our sixth grade summer. Those rare and precious times we are blessed to be together -- usually class reunions (we LOVE class reunions), we almost always bring up the "blue sky" day, and Kim and I to this day fondly remember Flower, the cricket.
From the vantage point of my "omigod I'm almost 50" summer, life at 12 seemed so simple then. (Somebody stop me before I break into a teary rendition of "The Way We Were! Kleenex! I need a Kleenex!)
Funny... to this day, I cannot kill a cricket.
So Kim, Tricia, Helen...if you are reading this...Here's to crickets, blue skies, sixth-grade summers, old friends, and life's innocence lost.
And to the rest of you...what are your favorite memories? What brings back, with a rush and a sigh, a heart-enveloping memory? What are your special anniversaries of the heart?
Celebrate them whenever you can.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Every Fourth of July, it's the same question.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I don't have a lot of warm and fuzzy memories of living at 7822 Buckeye Crescent. My fondest memories are of times spent with friends, of living vicariously through observing/participating in memory-making activities at their homes.
I have no physical house to go home to in Cincy anymore...hence, just the term "going home" takes on a whole different meaning for me.
It's all about the people. My historical friends. The folks who knew me when. The girls I grew up with. Their moms. Their dads. Their brothers and sisters.
They are my home. Their faces, their smiles, their laughs, their embraces, are the relaxing front porch and the cozy kitchen that I miss, that I long for, that I "come home" to.
As my other Cincy friends who now live elsewhere will tell you, there is also a longing for the traditional Cincy "delicacies", if you will...Skyline Chili, Graeter's Ice Cream, White Castle sliders, Frisch's tartar sauce...treats that you just can't anywhere else...foods that, like the songs of my youth, evoke profound and emotionally palatable memories...
I have no memories of my mother preparing my fave foods, or sending me college survival kits consisting of dozens of her best homemade cookies since she died when I was in junior high. So for me, that first taste of a Skyline cheese coney or of Frisch's tartar sauce on a french fry is like sitting down once more to a plate of a mother's homemade meatloaf.
There is nothing else like it in the world. Not for me, anyway. I savor every bite. I close my eyes. I moan. It's weird. But I can't help myself.
This trip home, I have had the honor of being part of a very special wedding...
I have known Michelle Ludy -- now Michelle Schneider -- since she was a baby, really...I have -- albeit via mostly long distance -- watched Michelle, her older brother Chris, and their younger sister (my nakesake) Natalie Ann, grow up seemingly overnight. Thanks to the unending generosity of Linda and her husband, Michael, I have been able to fly home to Cincy here and there over the past many years and observe/participate in some of their family's Kodak moments.
I gotta tell ya, Michelle was the most stunning, beautiful bride I have ever seen.
"You're not as talkative as usual," Linda's dad, Marvin, said to me during the post-wedding brunch this morning.
Indeed, unlike most trips to Cincy where I am akin to a non-stop Chatty Cathy on constant caffeine, I am, I admit, noticeably -- and uncharacteristically -- more quiet than usual. Contemplative, perhaps. Sedate, one might even say.
Sure, I danced like a wild woman at the reception when the DJ played Love Shack. But for the most part, I just sat and watched and breathed it all in...beautiful Michelle and the handsome love of her life, Eric, as they celebrated their perfect wedding day...
Youth. Love. Life. Death. Friendship.
I thought about how 33 years ago I sat and watched Linda and Mike celebrate their perfect wedding day, and how I kept telling Linda's mom, Ruby, what a beautiful, stunning bride Linda was...
I thought about what a bittersweet occasion Michelle's wedding day was for the family after Ruby's passing last fall, and after Linda's brother, Randy's passing several years ago.
Yes, the whole Circle of Life thing was swirling about my brain...the tears began to well for the 50th time that day...
Of course, I had to chuckle a bit as well as I remembered my antics after Linda's reception back in the day...how, after having one too many cocktails at their reception, I threw up in my friend's Cindy's mother's car on the way home, and how my friends not only took the car but ME to the local carwash...yep...they sprayed me down with the power washer, good dress, high heels and all...
I also remembered how, after my friends dropped me off after the car wash episode, I had to sheeplishly slink past my friend Holly's dad (I was living with Holly and her family that summer) trying to act nonchalant...as if walking in soaking wet after a wedding reception was the norm...
I then thought about how absolutely awesome it is that Holly and Linda and I are still friends after all these many years and across the many miles that separate us...how absolutely miraculous it is that, even after all the trials and tribulations of our individual lives, we were still laughing and singing and dancing the night away at Linda's daughter's wedding...
And now, the rest of my week at home looms ahead...
So many people I want and need to see, so little time.
So many memories. So many emotions.
It's great to be home. Again.
Dorothy was right.
There is no place like home.
And you CAN go home again.
It just gets harder and harder to leave each time...
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Not just pretty words, my friends.
I went to a sushi bar in Uptown Minneapolis for the first time ever in my life. Tonight.
Me. Liz. Sis.
Stylin. Oh, yeah.
Who knew that raw fish and soy bean pods could be so freaking tasty!
Certainly not me!
My idea of heaven: The massage chair from Oceans Spa and Nail salon planted smack dab in the middle of Sushi Tango... a Li'l Flirtin Prairie martini ( Prairie Vodka, Prosecco, and Pineapple Juice) in one hand, a ticket to the Brave New Workshop's "How To Make Love To A Minnesotan" in the other.
OMG! Love those soy bean pods! Ate rolls of sushi! Hailed a cab! A glass or two of pinot grigio. Front row side seats at BNW. Coffee pots! "Doesn't amount to a hill of beans!"
(Sherri, my cheeks hurt -- where are you? You should be HERE!)
"If they can do it in Iowa, why, oh, why, can't we do it HERE?"
From a sushi bar?
Peru A Ruby. Perfect color. No more mauve.
Caterpillar. No caterpillars were harmed in the making of this sushi roll. Promise. Yum!
Big hair is out. Who knew?
"This IS oomph, 2009, Auntie Ann."
"At a time when the world financial markets are in turmoil, North Korea is launching missiles, and Britney Spears is once again on tour, people look for comfort in the familiar. And what is familiar to everyone? The answer" being driven completey insane by relationships."
So the 40-something gal in the massage chair next to me was giddy over her old college boyfriend "friending" her on Facebook.
"Beware old acquaintences bearing Facebook greetings," I offered, with a wink.
OMG. BNW is the BEST!
"In the midst of the chaos that has gripped the world, people have distracted themselves by laughing at the more contained, personal chaos of trying to co-exist with another human being. It seems that everyone can relate to the utter despair, frustration, rage and occasional nausea that are inflicted upon us by the people we love."
Dr. Fireman. Oh, yeah! Pots and Pans cycle.
God, I love my sis and my niece. I love Minneapolis.
Goodbye Uptown. Hello Mill District!
It's all good! It's all good!
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Has it really been just a week?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
May Day has always been a bit of a mystery to me.