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Archive for May, 2010

2 Months

Upon looking back at this blog, it would seem that I have a bit of difficulty with the passage of time, or at least the rapidity at which it passes.  I guess we all do, really, and by all I mean folks who have reached the age where our kids are doing things like graduating from college and getting married and having babies…things it seems that we ourselves were just doing yesterday.

It’s just…

Weird.

Because while I am totally fine with being the mother of children who are ADULTS, it is always a little surreal to me being at their graduations and [very soon] weddings…like I’m watching some other middle-aged lady in sensible shoes watch HER kids do those things. I swear, this past weekend when the Yub Crew loaded up and headed south to Austin to see the Longhorn graduate, there was this one point at the hotel, when I was putting on makeup and fixing my hair and putting on my little tank and overshirt [that was supposed to be brown but turned out, quite fortuituously, to be Texas Longhorn orange] and I looked in the mirror and thought wow… i really do look like someone’s mother.

So, this morning when I looked at my Twilight calendar that hangs over my desk, the date sort of hit me in the face like a cold bucket of water.

HEY YOU! GUESS WHAT YOU’LL BE DOING 2 MONTHS FROM TODAY?!?!

Because 2 months from today I will wake up that day and put on makeup and fix my hair and put on a rather elegant navy blue pantsuit with just the right amount of sparkle on the jacket with asymmetrical lapels and flutter sleeves and nice slingback pumps and I will look in the mirror and say wow. i really do look like someone’s mother-in-law.

2 months.

That ticking is getting really annoying.

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This past weekend was the 2010 University of Texas Commencement. There were 7128 graduates, but the best and the brightest was my favorite Longhorn. I guess now she can be my favorite Texas Ex…or my favorite Reagan…because she is. I took about a million photographs over the course of the weekend, but my favorite is this one…not because of any artistry in the photography, but because of that smile!

It was a fabulous weekend. I don’t know that I have ever been so happy that the post-divorce Cold War was over than I was Friday afternoon as Rob and I and Dad and Dianna (the ex and his lovely wife) and the kids all converged on Reagan’s place and had lunch and visited and Googled exotic spiders Dad found in Reagan’s garden. There wasn’t an ounce of tension as Dianna and I talked about canning vegetables and jams and how long it takes her to straighten her fabulously curly hair.

A few years ago that would have been impossible…so for this, I was very thankful. Also, it did bode well for the wedding and events in the future where we will be, in essence, just one big blended family.

I like that.

And I never would have dreamed I’d be saying that.

just for the record.

So, anyway, I took pictures of a lot of stuff…more pictures than I guess I’ve ever taken at one time…

Pictures of the tower glowing red for the School of Communications

and Red, White and Blue for the folks going into the Military

and the exclamation mark fireworks show that closed the ceremony

But, as I’ve had a chance to look back at the weekend and the pictures that I did take, I find myself thinking about the pictures I wish I had taken…

Like the one of the kid in the steel drum ensemble that entertained us for an hour or so while we sat and sweltered Saturday evening, waiting for the ceremony to even start. I think they started playing at 6 p.m. The ceremony didn’t even start til 8 p.m. They were, quite simply, the whitest of all white bread steel drummers on the earth…so cute in their dress clothes their instructor told them to wear…but our favorite, hands down, was the kid on back on the base steel drums, in his crisp blue button up shirt and tight crewcut with his goofy grin.  He played with such verve, swinging and swaying to the calypso beats, clapping and spinning and bobbing to Bob Marley…

If it has just been him up there, we would have been wholly entertained.

He was a precious and I wish I would have taken his picture. Or a video.

Then there was Croc Guy. As we were sitting there, people watching, for three hours, I was elated when it finally happened. After nearly 48 hours in Austin, I finally had myself a Croc siting. CROCS! I am a Croc lover…and I know they are hideous but my gosh, my feet love them. I do, however, refrain from wearing them (for the most part) places where they’ll embarrass the kids…or me. But here we were on the 40 Acres, as they call the campus, surrounded by collegiate sorts and their families, and there they were. Crocs. just like mine.

I saw the Crocs first, as the wearer was up some steps and his feet were more or less eye level for me.  As my eyes traveled up his spindly little hairy legs that were propelling him wobbly bobbly through the crowd, I could tell that his feet weren’t the only thing “croc’d.”  Croc Man had had some cocktails over the course of the afternoon. That was apparent.  I really wish I’d have taken a picture of those Crocs.

Because lookit. That whole campus is uphill or upstairs. Going. Coming. Everything is uphill. We walked uphill from the car and uphill back to it.  And honestly, I kept thinking all weekend, as I hauled myself up one hill to the next, that it was sure a good thing I’d started going to the gym…because 50 pounds ago, there would have been no way in hell I could have done it. But that’s neither here nor there…what I’m saying is…

How in the heck did he do it drunk…and in Crocs.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the deluxe indoor pool facility at our majestic Comfort Inn. To say that they had a lot of chlorine in that pool would be like saying there’s a lot of burnt orange in Austin. To look at this pool was less like looking at water and more like looking at undulating gel…like there was so much chlorine in it that it sort of made a solid.

But it was heated and yes, the boys got in it.

Two showers later, you could still smell chlorine on them.

I wish I had taken a picture of Reagan’s face while Dad gave her what had to have been her very first post-graduation ‘get a job’ talk.  Come to think of it, she hadn’t even graduated yet. It was before we went. She was very calm and noddy about it. Better yet, I should have taken a picture of Dad while he delivered it. Very earnest, all business, pitching work in the defense industry as a human resources clerk to a genius artist advertising major.

It was rich, really, and made me giggle in my head a little.

Today is back to business for me.  I have now seen 2 of my girls fulfill one of my biggest dreams for them and am just very thankful and full and grateful.

Hook ‘Em Horns

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Time is Money

I am not good with lasts…finales…endings.  I was that weird kid who cried on the last day of school…every year. I haven’t stopped doing that, by the way.  My friend Kim and I were talking over a table of old burger baskets and mismatched kitchen utensils  and glasses from somebody’s carnival cruise in the 80s at the church garage sale a few weeks ago and I was coming clean about how the end of the school year always makes me a little weepy. Most people think I’m a nutjob, but she understood…because she does the same thing.

Finally. I’m not alone.

Last night was Dane’s last family dinner in the children’s department at church. Throughout the day, little memories of the past 5 years would flicker by…his first year as Shepherd #1 in the Christmas pageant…the year he was shepherd #4…then #8…then #3…then FINALLY…his last glorious year as Wise man #2…the Christmas parties and Easter egg hunts and Valentine’s celebrations and vacation bible schools.  I really thought by the time we got there I was going to get a little verklept, especially if Mr. Reed made any mention at all of this being the last one for the 5th graders.

Thankfully, he did not, thus saving me from being the idiot over there crying at the fun fun party.

Besides, I was having brownies with ice cream.

That helped a lot.

So, tomorrow I am going to pack up the boys, grab the Teacher, swing through Belton and grab the one at UMHB, then hit Austin like the Clampetts when they got to Beverly Hills.

I wonder if I could strap my office chair to the top of the party van…

Now for the point.

When Reagan blazed into Austin four years ago, she did so with such ferocity, such fearlessness, that I was, quite frankly, in awe of her fierceness. I didn’t drive in a big city til i was nearly 28 and then it was only because i had to take my mother with an ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM to Houston for LIFE-SAVING surgery…and here was this child, my kid…taking Austin head-on.

The BIG doesn’t scare her.

Which is why she is going to live in New York come hell or high water.

Anyway, when she ‘went away to college,’ she really did.  There was none of this coming home every other weekend or every weekend (as the case was with my oldest…don’t get me started) or even once a month.

And I missed her so much.

But thank the Lord and the internets, it wasn’t like I didn’t get to talk to her…but i missed face time…but it made the times she came home more

YAY IT’S REAGAN HAVE SOME LASAGNA RED MEAT ANYTHING YOU WANT LET’S WATCH REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY.

I do wish, though, that I had gotten to go visit more…show up with food and spend the weekend more…make her take me to see the bats and buy Longhorn earrings and Texas flag coffee mugs at the Capitol more…eat TRUDY’s more…and Amy’s Ice Cream more…

and that was the plan…

until like a lot of other folks my work took a turn for the ugly and I was suddenly not only making LESS, but making LESS THAN I HAD WHEN I FIRST STARTED in this business 17 years ago…and that, coupled with having to work Saturdays again, made fun weekend trips a little impossible.

And now she is graduating and my chance to do all those things with her…poof. Gone.

Thanks to time and money.

Benjamin Franklin is the one who came up with that saying…Time is Money.

And I wish I had more of both.

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You know, I guess I’ve never fully embraced the cell phone. For the longest time, I didn’t even have one and really had no interest in getting one. To me, the last thing I wanted was someone to be able to call me IN THE CAR. So I resisted and resisted and then one Christmas, long about the year 2000, Rob orchestrated the old ringing Christmas box and then it was more of a

OH MAN WHAT HAVE YOU DONE than an OH YAY A CELL PHONE JUST WHAT I WANTED.

So, I got myself some custom faceplates and picked myself a jivey little polyphonic ring tone and I got sort of used to carrying the thing around. The thing was, back then, no one ever called me…aside from my buddies at Capital One when they were looking for money and the occasional telemarketer…during dinner…and neither of them had my cell number, so the thing was largely used as a watch…only without a strap..that you had to hold or keep in your purse and dig wildly for on the occasion it rang.

Then came high school and band competitions and football games and late night pickups, so it was with great glee that I passed the Nokia 1110 off to the oldest, along with the large collection of custom faceplates in lime green and leopard print and silver and red and black.

And that poor little thing didn’t know what hit it.

Of course, i didn’t go without one for long and gradually I used it for more than knowing what time it was and I sort of started to get it.  And then Reagan needed one…and then Rachel…And soon, from the looks of my bill, all of Texas was my ‘friends and family.’

Then came texting and further bewilderment on my part. I mean, seriously, why not just pick up the clock phone and call the person? The kids would roll their eyes and try to explain how SOMETIMES YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO TALK TO PEOPLE.

oh.

okay. whatever.

But it sure didn’t take me long to figure out that I’d better get a limitless text plan added STAT.

I think when I finally went all in on the mobile phone technology was when you could get REAL SONGS for ring tones.  OH the endless possibilities of THAT!  I went crazy nuts picking very specific songs for all of my ‘friends and family’ which took a considerable amount of time given that it’s all of ♠Texas.

Heck, I even have mine set up so’s it plays you a pretty classical piece instead of the usual boring ring….ring….ring.

Or at least I think I do…but I might not have it set up right…

Anyway, so what I’m saying is that I get it. I get that we need to be in constant contact with our friends about what we are doing every second.  I update my facebook status like every 30 minutes, so I get it.  But what I also get is that sometimes you need to not.

Like, in church.

In church, I think cell phones should be turned off and put away…or left at home or in the car. In doctor’s offices too. I was thrilled to see a sign at the eye doctor this morning that said (in big letters so even blind people could read it) DON’T BE RUDE.  DO NOT TALK ON YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE WE’RE TRYING TO TALK TO YOU OUT OF CONSIDERATION FOR OUR STAFF, PLEASE TURN CELL PHONES OFF (the sad thing is is what necessitated that sign having to go up in the first place, i.e. Betty interrupting her eye exam to answer her phone and tell Bob what he was supposed to pick up at Walmart). Also, when you are on a date or at dinner or shopping with a REAL LIVE PERSON in your presence, I find it extreeeeeeeeemely rude to interrupt your in person interraction to answer the phone.

Sure, there are exceptions.  Whatever.

I’ve never ever been with someone who stopped talking to me to answer their phone and it was an URGENT CALL.

not once. ever.

I’m usually a good enough sport about it, and Lord knows I give my kids all sorts of grief about never really REALLY being in the moment because they are constantly and always interrupting the moment to txt back to someone about something VERY IMPORTANT AND URGENT.

To tell you the truth, there are still plenty of times I leave the house without mine. Or have it in another room. Turned off.

And the world continues to turn and people who need me, well, they still find a way to get me.

So, anyway…as my old preacher used to say…I said all that to say this.

At our church, we have a Barnabus Partner program where our young people are secretly paired off to an adult and the adult, in agreeing to participate in the Barnabus Partner program, is given information about their little BP (Barnabus Partner), their birthday, what they are interested in, etc. This year. the emphasis was to be more on the prayer partner part of it and less on the gifting, but it was fun getting my BP fun things through the year.

I really, really enjoyed it.

Last night was the big finale of the Barnabus Partner year…the great REVEAL of who the adult partners were. My friend Karen and I scoured the Christian Bookstore for just the right ‘parting gifts’ and cards…and they (the yoots) got to open their envelope and find their partner and then partake in a delicious barbecue feast whilst visiting a bit with each other.

ORRRRR as was MY case, sit at the same table but participate marginally in conversation by answering questions with one-word answers while texting the whole.entire.time…

at first, it was sort of funny.  and then it was like i was thinking…she’s probably texting her friend

at this brnbs dnr thng. so lame. my brnbs partner is totally lame.

well, that’s way too much like a real sentence to really be what she was saying, but you get my point.  Sort of like when the gals doing your toes and nails are talking amongst themselves and it is always about you.

It is.  They think your feet are disgusting.

anyway, I have to say I was disappointed.

I think it is a cool program, though, and I can’t wait for Dane to have his own BP next year when he is a youth.

My baby son is a YOUTH.

Weird.

But on this, you can bet the farm.

his phone will be at the house.

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Regret

Was there a word “blogging” in 2004? If there was, I had surely never heard it. It was the fall of that year that I tentatively dipped my toes into the pool of online journaling, after stumbling upon deadjournal.com, a journaling site largely comprised of a bunch of kids who seemed, for the most part, very dark and goth-y with lots of black hair and black nails and black journal layouts with red letters…with dripping blood font.  Soon after i discovered the much cheerier LIVEjournal, it was, after all, NOT DEAD, and at the urging of one of Reagan’s friends who thought I was horribly wise for a mother, in September of 2004, after much pondering, Grey is My Favorite Color was born.

Then, and now, it sort of escapes me why I think anyone is interested in whether or not I’m mopping today.

I stopped writing there in June of 2009, after some of my friends got ‘big girl’ blogs and I, after all, have always been well known for my inability to withstand peer pressure of practically any sort.  Historically, my blog entries, well, most of my blog entries were made late in the evening, well after the 5 o’clock cocktail hours, which meant my edit button was all but gone and I was HYS-TERICAL.  Man, was I funny.

Anyway, what was I going to say…(that happens more and more these days…shiny things)

Oh.

I love blogs. Love. Love. Love them. I think it is my inner voyeur…or peeping tom…who loves being able to see into the world of people I’ve never met. It’s just fascinating to me. Like when I was little, sitting in the backseat of my Mom’s German friend, Carla’s perpetually brand new Cadilllac, driving through Dallas after dark and gazing up into the office buildings and looking at the ones with lights still on and wondering what it was that went on in such a tall building so late at night when all the other lights were off…or lying on top the storm cellar with Brad, staring up into the summer sky at the jets flying over and fantasizing about where it was going and what the people on it were like.  Call it childlike wonder or chalk it up to the fact that I grew up in Glen Rose, Texas and EVERYONE’s life was more exciting than mine…and still is…

or I’m just nosy.

Either whichever, I have gotten to know some really neat people over the last several years, people I consider my friends…folks like Kerry in WisCANsin who, when she read that Dane, when he was in the 3rd grade,  had hit the times tables wall and was struggling MGHTILY, she sent him some flash cards that helped him over the bump, and though I’ve never met her, I consider her my friend…or Sharon in TN who also I’ve known now for about 10 years…we’ve watched each other’s kids grow up, I’ve seen here through two divorces from the same fella, and am thrilled to be able to watch as she enters that phase of her life where she has grandbaby sonogram pictures as her profile picture on her facebook :-)…or Maria in NE who is also an “older parent” who is bladderly challenged and watches Survivor and loves Twilight…and she is also responsible for introducing me to David Sedaris.

So, this morning, as I was doing my morning blog surf while having my coffee, I came across one whose author had since passed away of scleroderma and as I sat there reading the heartbreaking love letter that was the last entry, written by her husband, I felt so…privileged i guess…to be a part of something so intimate…and as I watched the slideshow she’d put together of her life, I just got so sad.

Not just sad for her though…or her family. She lived a glorious life and fought a brilliant fight…

No, as I watched her slideshow, it hit me that due to my severe cameraphobia my whole entire life (aside from that little window in the early 90s when I was most decidedly a little hottie), there are largely no photographs to chronicle my life. Which, as funeral slideshows go, some Glamour Shots from 1993 and the obligatory hospital photographs where you look like hell but OH LOOK NEW BABY…well, folks won’t be able to fuss about how long it went on at least…

My point, I guess, when I started all this was to say that I sort of regret not letting Rob take that picture of me when I didn’t have on makeup and I was suffering severe bedhead…or the time at the beach when I was so fat but so enormously happy to have pulled off our first, and what might be only, huge family vacation or when we built a snowman that time it snowed in April…

But I won’t ever get those times back and my kids won’t ever have those pictures to look back on and go wow, look what a happy time that was.

And I somehow feel that I have cheated them on that deal. and myself, too,  really…though I do have, arguably, the best memory of anyone in this family (aside from Dane who can practically remember the day he was born and where those shoes are I’ve been looking for) and I can remember precisely how happy I was at graduation and vacation and the day we closed on the house…

And that makes me sad, and i don’t care for being sad anymore much…

So I said all that to say this. From this point forward, I’m not going to throw my hands in front of my face and threaten death to the photographer…I’m not going to insist on this angle or that angle…i’m not going to worry if have a zit or the gap in my teeth shows too much or if I look too fat in those jeans.  My life is more than all that.

That said, I better go mop.

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