Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson, Times Two

These are two of my oldest dearest friends. (well, they're not OLD in age, we've just been friends for a long time!) I met them when we were all in our early twenties and we've remained friends through job changes, marriages, children, divorce, moves, remarriages, another divorce (both mine, by the way), deaths and life itself. They are a huge part of my past, my present, and my future. I feel that they've always been there for me, and have celebrated every important time of my life. Please meet my friends, Mike and Rose Jackson.

Normally, I wouldn't point out the importance of names, but with all the events of this week, it just seems appropriate.

Michael Jackson was also around for all the events in my lifetime. Granted, he didn't know he was involved in my life. I'm sure he didn't realize the impact he had on me. He wasn't even invited to any of my weddings, but he was always there, just like the other Jackson's, named above. We're close in age, and I always felt that we grew up together. "Ben" made me cry. I danced in my room to "Rock with You" and "Wanna Be Starting Something." I listened to and watched the "Thriller" video over and over and over. And, "Man in the Mirror" continues to be one of my most favorite songs ever; causing me goose bumps each and every time I hear it. I was greatly saddened to hear of his passing, and the only way I know to describe the feeling is that I feel like part of my childhood has died.

My friends and family watched a video retrospective last night, all MJ videos. Every single one of his songs is still quality, and still relevant. I doubt there will be another artist that crosses so many barriers and unites so many people of different backgrounds, races and ages. I feel very lucky that I was able to grow up with Michael Jackson's music and will miss him greatly.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Always and Forever OR the Junior High Slow Dance

When I was in junior high school, I was absolutely BOY CRAZY. I planned my route through the halls according to which boy I currently liked. I wouldn't eat at lunchtime, as I didn't want a boy to see me with food on my face, shirt or lap. And, I would constantly scheme to find a way to be around these interesting creatures.

Luckily, I wasn't the only boy crazy one at West Junior High School. Eighty percent of the girls were in the same boat. Since we weren't of driving age, we were dependent on school activities to put us girls and the boys in the same arena. My favorite of these would be the school dances. They would be held in the gymnasium, and just a few of the bleachers would be pulled out; the remainder were flush against the wall. Our parents would drop us off and pick us up, or we would carpool with our friends. We'd start off in little groups together, trying to get up the nerve to dance in front of all our peers. The night would always begin with classics such as, "Brickhouse," "Play that Funky Music" and "I'm your Boogie Man." (I'm dating myself here...) I remember one dance where we actually danced the "Hustle" (now known as the Electric Slide) to Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom." Believe you me, that was quite a stretch to turn that song into a dance tune.

Anyway, the BEST part of the night was when they would throw in the SLOW DANCE. Oh, that was the most glorious dance IF you were dancing with the right boy. There was such anticipation the whole night, as you waited to see who would ask you to dance. Most of the boys that age were painfully shy, so we all just danced with friends. We would put our arms around the boys necks, and our waists were small enough that they could put their arms around them. (HA! That would be a trick nowadays!!!) We would sway back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. If you were really lucky, you'd turn in a small circle.

But, in the 9th grade, I fell in love with a boy named Charles Lane, and how I loved to dance with him. He smelled good (Brut 33) and was a good dancer. (that swaying back and forth was a challenge for many a pubescent boy, but not for Charles) And, the best song to dance to? Always and Forever, by Heatwave. Oh, what a wonderful tune! They always seemed to play that song at the very end of the night. I'd have that glorious sleepy slow dance thing going and then FLASH!! came on the overhead lights. It was like being woken up on a Monday morning for school. EEK!

To this day, I still enjoy the slow dance. I love to dance with Steven when we get the chance. (Usually weddings) I like seeing other people dance at weddings. I loved seeing President Obama and Mrs. Obama dance during the Inauguration festivities. But, if I'm honest, there will never be as good a dance as the old Junior High Slow Dance.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Home Again

We're back home again. Hooray. I was very happy to see my animals and to sleep in my own bed. (I have a strange love affair with my bed, does anyone else?)

I'm still trying to catch up on life outside of vacation, so until I can do that, I'll share some pictures of the trip. All pictures are by Steven, so thanks to him. (as always)

We had a marvelous time, filled with doing a whole lotta nothing. I read a book, sat, ate (a LOT), sat some more, and tried not to burn my feet on the Florida pavement. (note to others: always wear flip flops on the boardwalk)

We had a wonderful week with Taylor, Justin, Mary, Larry and Griffin. There's nothing better than memories made with friends and family.

Larry and Steven were in 7th Heaven with all the photo ops around the house.

When I say we ate, we ATE. One night, Larry made us Sushi and Crab Legs. TO DIE FOR. Please note the two big bowls of butter.

Taylor and Justin checking out the fogged up lens.

A typical shot-a Domino game. Note the baby foot in the lower right hand corner of the pic.

Mary and Griff having a quite moment. Awwww.

The twins spent a day at Disney on their own.

I got the chance to snuggle with Griffin. I am his Sleep Mentor. (I'm good at sleeping)

I could get real used to this vacationing thang.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some Camera Phone Vacation Pix

This, my friends, is vacation in progress.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Weekend that Was

Well, we made it. What a crazy weekend it was. I am still pooped from the trip to Mississippi. Now, I'm pooped from the big Graduation Weekend. I need a vacation. Hey! Luckily, I have one planned for next week. Funny how it all works out, eh?

Our weekend began when our dear friends, the Jackson's, arrived from St. Louis. I don't have much family, so I really count on my friends to serve as my surrogate family members during important occasions. They didn't fail me. Mike, Rose and Angela came out and made the weekend so fun and so special. They are truly the nicest people on earth, and make everything better. (kind of like cake icing, butter on popcorn, or rain on a Saturday morning.) Thank you to them for all the support and help they gave us, and for coming out to celebrate with us! Here they are (with Steven) at the beach on Day One:

We celebrated Steven's 41st (what a baby) birthday at our favorite Irish Pub, Madra Rua. So many of our dear friends came to celebrate with us, it was so nice. After the pub, we opened gifts and had some cake at the homestead. Little Stevie McCabe loved his cake.

That locker had a "yearbook" and stickers inside of it. Great fun for the silly adults in the crowd.
Saturday was Graduation Day. Since Taylor graduated a year early, I knew a total of four kids in her graduating class. (including her) Even so, I found myself with a big lump in my throat as they all processed into the coliseum. And, I'm always amazed that as they sit down, they immediately start looking around for Mom and Dad. I think I was most teary-eyed when they said the last person's name, and the kids all anticipated getting to turn their tassels. In that moment, all things are possible, you know?
I have to apologize for the following picture. I have no idea what is going on with my chest, but man oh man, I am looking crooked. I digress, here we are, in a very proud moment:

After the Saturday festivities came the Sunday party. My friend, Laura's son, Layne, also graduated this year. Thus, we had a combined party for Layne and Taylor. It was great fun, and I'm sure another blog is forthcoming about that specifically. For the time being, here's a pic of us all at the Graduation Luau.
Everything was crazy busy and each minute was jam packed with activity. But, I did have time to be thankful for so many good friends and a wonderful family. Our friends were so generous to Steven and to Taylor. I feel truly blessed.
Aloha until next time!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just a Thought or Two

I sincerely believe that flip flops might be one of the world's greatest inventions.


Unless they look like this:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cap and Gown Me Please

Here we are, the whole happy family in June of 1981. I had brown hair. ONE color. I will never have one color hair again. My brothers have black hair, no grey or white. Both my parents are alive. I just realized that in this pic, my folks are younger than I am today.

Fast forward to 2009. I'm two days away from Taylor's graduation. Jake graduated four years ago, so this is my baby's graduation. I haven't hit emotions yet, but when I pulled up this picture, I realize how young I was then, and how young Taylor is now, and all she's about to face.

Many of the new things will be exciting. Some will be scary, others heartbreaking. I'll always be there for her, but really, it is her journey she's now starting. The last 17 years have been my journey, now I'm just the back seat driver. (Larry)

She won't have the wisdom of grandparents to guide her, all but one of her grands has passed. I was very lucky to have them in my life for a long long time. My grandmother (on the right) is still with us, and her mere presence guides all of us. I hope that I've been able to pass on a bit of their SMARTS to her. Grandparents are the best.

What do we tell our kids as they face adulthood? What sage advice do we have to give? I'm going to have to think on this one for a bit. I just hope I can find the words to help her keep this smile on her face.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where's the Cold Beer?

As many of you know, we spent the last weekend in Oxford, Mississippi for the NCAA Baseball Regional. I have so many things to write, but with all the graduation craziness upon us, it's going to have to wait. I did, however, want to share some LOVELY family photos with all of you. It's amazing how attractive we all are.
Steven likes to get people to take self portraits. We sat at Boure in Oxford, awaiting our dinner (I recommend the shrimp and grits) and this is the result:
He looks much less stressed than he really was here. I guess he had it easy. All he had to do was coach. We all had to root the team on to victory.

Cynthia Lynn took this picture three times, in order to get the nostrils just right. Well done.

Mickey is really into gang signs. I'm not sure what this means, probably something along the lines of, "My aunt is the coolest ever."

My oldest brother, Jeff. He is amazed that we found cold beer. And, he loves the Colonel. CRAMBONE.

Ty is all about bodily functions. ALL THE TIME.

My glamour shot, circa 2009.

Cindy's mom, Pat. Best giggler this side of the Mississippi. Oh, that was punny!

Cindy's dad, Ron; affectionately known as Tubby. Or, as Steven would say, "Butty."

Wait, he looks too normal. Well, he's had practice at this.

And now a few normal pictures of some really cool things.

National Anthem prior to Game 1.

Team "Meeting" prior to game 3.

A Daddy and his boy.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Taking a breath

In the last week, we've:

Driven to Mississippi. (and back)

Watched three baseball games.

Eaten dinner with family three times.

Listened to a great audiobook. (Dog On It. I highly recommend it!)

Worked a month end in a condensed day.

Folded the clothes in my closet.

Washed, dried, folded and PUT AWAY the laundry from the trip to Mississippi.

Had some VERY strange dreams.

And reunited with all our animals. I have some blogs rolling around in my head that I'm dying to write, but that will have to wait another day. I just felt like I had to get this all out, kind of like dumping some of the junk. :-)

GRADUATION IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!! THEN, will the world slow down a bit?