Funerals and other parties

I want my funeral to be a big party. After all, I’ll be 103 and I’m pretty sure people will have an easier time with that whole letting go process. My 50 year old blind lover will probably take it the hardest but he’s still young and quite fit so I don’t doubt he’ll find someone else in time. Hmmm, my daughters will be around 70 and their kids will be probably in their 40’s; he could go either direction. That’s kinda gross and a little twisted. Oh well, I’ll be dead, I won’t care.

A bunch of years ago I started planning my funeral party in my head. Just for fun. It revolved around music, food & laughter…and my body over there in the corner for viewing and making snarky comments. Even though I know I will be at my funeral party and probably affect some sort of shenanigans, it made me a little sad that it would just be my spirit. And family & friends that are older than me and a bunch that are younger will already have died.

Sidenote: I’ve had conversations with the funeral director in town and he said it’s never too early to start planning your funeral so if anyone thinks I’m weird for thinking about this, well, I’m not. I’m normal, dammit!

So anyway, when Gary and my 25th wedding anniversary was looming on the horizon my brain also became aware that I would be turning 50 that year (Yay for the Golden Year; break out the bottle of Goldschlager!). If these aren’t two huge reasons not to have a party, I don’t know what is! You may already be dead if you don’t agree. It was at that moment that a huge 3000 watt light bulb went on over my head. My world became crystal clear…I WAS going to be at my funeral party…in the flesh. It would be the perfect trial run (only with a live person, not a dead one…and probably a lot cheaper). We were going to celebrate with family & friends, right now, while we’re all alive!

The party took place and it was wicked good fun! It revolved around music, food & laughter and just like any big party you obsess about and take over a year to plan, it was over in the blink of an eye. The first half of the party celebrated our 25 years of marriage with a loosely-based ceremony & food. The music & dancing was all about me; my birthday gift to myself with family & friends. The funeral party trial run was a grand success and I haven’t done any funeral planning for myself since. I’m glad I was able to party with the people I love…in the flesh. I danced all night until I could barely walk. Good Times! I appreciate all the people who came to my ‘funeral party.’ Thank you!

Our daughters walked us up the ‘aisle’

Our ceremony was way more fun and a lot less serious this time. My sweet eldest sister officiated (she’s ordained on the Internet…how fun is that?!) and we had a ceremony for our girls and gave each of them a Tree of Life pendant

Happy 25th to us!

We started off the dance with an anniversary dance

And then…it was all about me!

Have passport…time to rock & roll!

With the prospect of 3 of my kids leaving the country for study abroad this summer in Mexico, Ireland, Germany & Spain; it became somewhat necessary that I ought to get a passport for myself. While at city hall last Fall, with #3 to apply for her passport, the elderly lady taking care of us highly recommended, “…at least one parent should also have a passport because, well, on the off chance you need to leave quickly to the country your child is in.” Mrs. Elderly Lady was trying to be discreet in her implication but we both knew what she was saying. “Lalalalalalalalalalalalala…I’ve been trying NOT to think about that scenario, thank you very much! How about rephrasing that into something a little more positive, like, “Hey! Now the 10-year passport clock is ticking for you to get your keester to Ireland!” My ancestors have been patiently calling to me since before I can remember, wondering when I’m coming back to the motherland.
So a month before #1 headed off to Mexico I finally applied for my passport; my initial baby step to Ireland.

The day after my Dad’s funeral I received my passport in the mail. How very appropriate, Dad. After all, I did tell him I was going to bring him to Ireland. But by the time he died my heart was numb and my life had changed in a weird discombobulated way. I had already formulated a list of why I wouldn’t be able to go. It was the customary list of ridiculousness that most people have in these scenarios. Enter…my guardian angels; they got the ball rolling again in my head. A couple close goddess friends of mine exchanged all the excuses I had created with reasons of why I had to make the trip. And then my niece entered the picture…

My niece sat across from me by the side of my Dad’s hospital bed when I announced my intentions on taking him to Ireland. The seed was planted and three weeks later she became the catalyst that propelled us to take the leap. She turned into a rabid lioness who stalked me day & night via e-mails, texts & phone calls with plans for going to Ireland. Meanwhile, my SweetPea was paying attention quietly in the background to the drama unfolding. Unbeknownst to him, he was an important key player in my final decision. We don’t tell each other what to do or not to do and that has worked out pretty slick in our many years of marriage. But if he had not been on board with all of this or had not been happy for me…it would’ve been a deal breaker. He’s still able to surprise me with how immeasurable his love is for me.

I’M GOING TO IRELAND!

I’m trying to contain myself by directing my energy on the every day stuff and the rites of passage my kids are making. I’m focused on #1 leaving for Mexico and returning safely home as #4 leaves for her own adventures in Ireland. The excitement of seeing her online pictures makes me a wee bit giddy of what’s to come. In three more weeks #3 heads to Spain and #4 will be in Germany; then the countdown begins for my trip of a lifetime. Not to be outdone, #2 will also be accompanying my niece and me to Ireland. It doesn’t seem real yet. So, along with the wait for my Dad’s death to finally hit home, I will be waiting for the excitement of Ireland to take hold. Somehow it feels like the two will be going hand in hand. And I smile inside at the bittersweet appropriateness of it all.

Naked Yoga is in a holding pattern

Three (or is it four) weeks of empty nest after #3 and her OsoBear moved out. Oso bought a house in the big city that he’s had his eye on for almost a year. This is why they moved in with us in the first place; so he could save his money instead of putting it all into rent. Excited wasn’t a strong enough word for how he felt when he signed the papers. After telling us, he even told Peach the cat how excited he was. Understandable because buying a house is a really big deal! So they’re all settled in and turning the house into a home.

Sunday, #2 daughter & her PoohBear get a call that there was someone interested in their (very expensive) apartment & if they wanted out of their lease early they need to be out by Wednesday (June 30th’s lease date was a long time & a lot of money away). WooHoo!!! I was thrilled to pieces that they could leave early! So the scramble began. Trailers were loaded. Cars & vans packed to the roof (I’m an excellent packer…great spatial perception). Treks up & down basement steps for storage & more again for their living area upstairs. Advil was our friend! Thank god for Pooh’s brother, dad & mom for helping; it goes so much faster with more hands.

Most of Wednesday, #2 & I cleaned the apartment. Top, bottom, inside-out. The lease pretty much stated that it needed to look like a brand new apartment. If there was a surface, we cleaned it…we wanted ALL the money back! I’m so happy they aren’t slobs! Oh yeah, that burned out light bulb we couldn’t find in any store that we had to replace…they have to special order it! Seriously?! (insert any foul language here) Well then, I guess you’ll have to charge us for it huh? What a scam.

Notwithstanding the negative reasons; I’m going to just dwell on the positive.
1) We have the cheapest rent in these parts. Now they too can save some money for more important things! Like #2’s college loan (and Pooh’s when he graduates).
2) I get to see my 2 grandkittens EVERY DAY if I want to. The boys love their grandma!
3) I can go back to only visiting this particular city when I attend functions at my Alma mater or hang out with my girlfriend. Oh Happy Day!
4) Getting a full load of clothes for the washing machine shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
5) I think it’s cool to get a chance with yet another daughter to spend more time with them before they leave ‘for good’ to start a new life.
6) Gary & I will have to put naked yoga in the living room on hold for now…you’re very welcome #2 & Pooh. We can wait.

I think my body has recovered enough to celebrate #3’s birthday today & tomorrow. Happy Birthday #3!!!

Are they ever REALLY gone?!

Went to India; had a taste of the Maharaja…

…I rather enjoyed it!
Even though it was ALL delicious I still prefer eating Indian food just a few times a year. The first time I ate Indian food was in New York City. Who knew goat meat could be so tasty (although those yummy spices would probably make squirrel* taste good).
At the end of the meal our waiter brought us warm, moist, ultra soft napkins rolled up and served on plates so we could wipe our hands (WAY classier than the moist Towelettes I receive at the places I normally frequent). My brother & I started to unroll ours and at the same time noticed our mom had picked hers up and was raising it up to her mouth. We both shouted, “NO!” at the same time before she had a chance to bite off a chunk of her napkin. She blinked in astonishment at us like WE were the crazy ones. “Mom…it’s a napkin…for your hands.” We all had a good laugh about it but in hindsight I had kinda wished that we’d let her go; see how long it would take to bite off a chunk of her chewy ‘burrito.’ In her defense it actually felt like a warm, smooth burrito shell but still…it was the start of our list of “Signs that it’s time for a nursing home.”
I like the ambiance & food at the Indian restaurant near us and I always get the buffet because I have no idea what the names of the dishes mean and the descriptions are kind of vague. I like variety and I can try a sample of all sorts of different dishes. This time before we left, #3 & I took a take-out menu and marked off what we liked from the buffet for next time. I asked the guy where the carrot looking stuff was listed because it was so incredibly delicious; I had a second helping for my dessert. “It’s Gajar Halwa, right here under Desserts.” No WONDER my body was in seventh heaven eating those sweet, coconutty** carrots. It was a DESSERT! Those tricksy** Indian people…I love their style! Thank heavens I had already drunk the Maharaja beer for my dessert before I found out. Two desserts! Win-win for me! P010613_1442b In the background: Daughter #3 got brave and ordered the Mango Milk Shake (milk flavored with mango & rose water). Quite tasty!

So I have one Indian dinner under my belt for the new year and I’ve converted #3 over to some new taste experiences that she likes. Of all my kids, #3 was my pickiest eater. And when I say picky, I mean PICKY!!! She drove me slightly crazy insane when it came to eating. I’m still a little in shock at the turnaround she’s done and what she’s willing to try now. I’m so proud of my little pumpkin pie!
Disclaimer: *I’ve never eaten squirrel (although I’m sure someone that actually has will tell me they taste like chicken) but I detest them enough that if there was a Zombie Apocalypse I would definitely put them on the menu!
**Cool words that spell checker doesn’t know.
Surprisingly I have no Indian music on my Favorites List; this video seems to be a good compromise. Instead of ABCD, I saw the letters ACDC (a favorite band of mine) so that got me excited and #3 is good at & loves to dance like the people in this movie. Be forewarned though, it has scary clowns in it and you won’t get this kind of action at the restaurant we went to:

In reality…1 day = 4 days…and that’s basic fact

Monday~I’m applying for a job that requires a resume; a requirement that is sooo incredibly outside my comfort zone. I put on my big girl panties…and it’s still difficult…and nerve wracking. I would’ve liked to hire this out to someone else but Tebazilena is convinced we can get through this with our sanity intact. Oh yeah, I also want it done by today. I want to get the jump on all the other applicants. I’m planning on me being the only applicant but sometimes my wants and reality don’t jive as expected. Betsy decided, years decades ago, we would only work at a place that DID NOT require a resume. That would be all fine and dandy if it were rational but we really want this job.
Tuesday~Sending my resume out to different people for feedback. So much for getting it done in one day but I want it to look professional.
Wednesday~Okay, I’m done with the resume and now I need a cover letter. Arrrgh! I can’t just whip these things out like I’m sure some people can. I have to research, which I think may be driving #3 daughter a little crazy. She thinks I should not be so anal about it and mellow out. LOL, it’s almost like she doesn’t know me after all these years. It’s been quite a few decades since the days I needed a resume. The rules have changed…probably a couple times. Words that got you the job 10+ years ago are now curse words that send your application to the shredder. I think the organization I’m going to work for is more people friendly and less cut-throat but I’m not taking any chances.
Thursday~Okay, now it’s another day later and the organization will have my cover letter and resume today. I’d like to get all nervous about the upcoming interview but I’m going to try doing the opposite. Just be me, let the Universe handle the rest and let go. On second thought, maybe I’ll just do a little research on a few things and save all that other cosmic stuff for the actual interview. I’m already imagining BEING in this job. I already know which mug I’m bringing for my coffee, having a supply of my own coffee in the fridge, which driving route I’m taking, walking to Music in the Park during lunch this summer, being so awesome that my part-time status becomes full time w/benefits before the end of the year. Ahhh, it’s fun living in my brain when we’re all in agreement!

Old people ROCK! (‘n roll…some, only when they get pushed down a hill)

The kids asked us to have a New Year’s Eve party. Not the kid living at home of course; daughters #2 & #4 who are in their own apartments. I’m happy they want to continue the tradition (the real reason…they didn’t have any plans or place to go) but last year when Gary & I went out to party at a bar for the first time in DECADES, I was hoping we were starting a new New Year’s Eve tradition…and it would continue this year. We’ve stayed home on New Year’s Eve since we started having kids. As they grew, so did the party. Eventually, the number of kids overshadowed the number of adults. It was always great fun and was a favorite tradition; lots of friends/family, food, music, games, bonfire & laughter. One year Gary scavenged a big red bubble light that was being thrown away. He saved it from certain demise after being discarded from an old road grader. We turn that light on any chance we get but ALWAYS at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It flashes out of the windows & bounces off the stop signs a block away. It looks very cool!

Our Party Light.

Our Party Light.


So anyway, I agreed…somewhat last minute & reluctantly to make food & have a party. One of these days they won’t want to hang out so much with us because they’ll have their own lives so I might as well enjoy the time given me. The party was mostly 20-somethings with a sprinkling of ‘old’ people. Even my parents showed up and we kept them amused until midnight. You heard me right…Midnight! I believe the ancients were silently pleased with themselves. I told them now they can brag to all their friends that they stayed up really, really late. It was probably one of my mellowest New Year’s Eve. I should’ve known something was amiss when I wasn’t allowed to do a remake of taking my mom to the floor during a rousing game of Spoons; I was the second person taken out of the game with 10 playing. The rest of the night I spent people-watching. It’s fun to observe the younger generation, they are quite amusing. It was also a relief to get to the end of 2012. It was a very difficult year and I have a strong feeling 2013 is going to be spectacularly awesome in all sorts of ways. It’s my lucky year!

Twas the night AFTER Christmas…

I was hoping to post stuff throughout the excitement of our holiday adventure but there weren’t any quiet times. It was a continual blur of activity. All four girls & their guys along with our 5th pretend adopted daughter were here by 3 PM on Christmas Eve and started pitching in to help finish getting the house & the food ready & ornaments on the tree. Two of the kids had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a priority on my list. Of course the kids are still sort of kids (if you compare them to an 80 yr-old) so they wanted to open gifts and do Yankee Swap first.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added...it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added…it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it's almost like she's taking a bow to her admirers.

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it’s almost like she’s taking a bow to her admirers.

Our tree's empty space is being 'filled' by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don't own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Our tree’s empty space is being ‘filled’ by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don’t own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.


Gary & the kids got the cool stuff they asked for but more importantly, let’s talk about what I got! I got my winter boots & Cuddleduds but can you believe Santa forgot to bring me snow pants?! I’ve wanted them since last winter and I cannot believe, with all his magic, that he forgot them. I guess he was too busy concentrating on the boots & long underwear. I also got a Tree of Friendship glass ball, a bunch of warm cuddly socks, lots & lots of headbands (I shouldn’t run out for…forever!), a huge bag of pecans, a jar of raw honey, a magnifying glass & along with some DVD’s from the family pile…Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! (to go along with the classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special that we already own) Gifts from the kids include a big kickass LED TV from daughter #1 (now the lights won’t dim like they did when we turned on the big old ginormous one!), a gift certificate from the delicious Teavana store & a wine accessory kit secretly hidden from burglars inside a pretend wine bottle from #2 & her PoohBear, a Charoite stone & a gift certificate from a goddessey new-age store I adore from #3 & her OsoBear, #4 & her new sweetpea gave me a DVD & a 10 pk outdoor solar light set for when we get around to making the far-far back yard look pretty this summer (*crossing my fingers*). On Christmas day everyone slept in except me because I was determined to make breakfast recipes off my Pinterest boards; Apple Cider Pancakes & Bacon in the shape of hearts (don’t bake them crispy because they break REALLY easy!). They were obviously delicious! Our final adventure before all of the kids were gone for work or significant others’ family celebrations was sledding down the town’s snow hill. (This is where those snow pants would have come in handy) Elizabeth wasn’t too keen on going but Betsy & Tebazilena were already bundling into snow gear so she didn’t have a choice.
Snow Tube 'Island' Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

Snow Tube ‘Island’ Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

It was GREAT FUN!!! We assembled all the tubes into a mass island, hung on to each other’s handles & inched our way to the top of the hill and…….adults just need to do that at least ONCE in their lifetime. It really brings out the kid in you!
Sometimes the 'island' becomes a 'peninsula!' At least we're all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

Sometimes the ‘island’ becomes a ‘peninsula!’ At least we’re all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

It was a great Christmas! We should be relaxing now but #2 & #4 informed us that we need to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Why? Because THEY don’t have anything planned to celebrate. I guess we need to enjoy having the kids spend time back home while we’re all young.

Topsy Turvy SnowWoman ~ Topsy Turvy Apocalypse

Since seeing an upside down snowman on Facebook I’ve wanted one for my very own. It’s very difficult though when the ground is covered in brown frozen grass. So, I did what I do in most situations that seem somewhat futile…I wished! I wished a LOT for a lot of snow. I even talked about it to all the kids I encountered in school last week. First we talked about how to construct an upside down snowman and then on Wednesday I told them I wasn’t coming to school on Thursday because we would be having a snow day so I could make my upside down snowman (They totally believed me this time because the forecasters already predicted a huge dump of snow). And what happened because I believed & wished strongly for it? SNOW DAY! I had to wait until evening for enough snow to accumulate but it was sweet success! A lot of people have stopped to take pictures of her.
SnowBeth & Stella 009
The only problem I was concerned about was The End of the World. It could make my sweet SnowWoman become a puddle of slush. The intensity of the apocalypse prediction was similar to my towering inferno hot flashes.
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Since summer, I wanted to have a party to celebrate. The End of the World; Party like there’s no tomorrow! What an awesome reason to have a party! Sadly, there were too many things I had to do and I would’ve lost my mind if I’d added that to the mix. So daughter #3 surprised us with a mini party. She played R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” when I walked in to the decorated dining room with candles lit for ambiance.
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Try to imagine that the bag of Red Vines is filled with licorice instead of cinnamon sticks & pretend that I didn’t eat the Almond Joy bar that’s missing from the table.
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By midnight Friday, all was calm, all was dark, and it was freaking cold…WTH? No End of the World? No Zombie Apocalypse? I’m a little disappointed after all the hype. Would it have killed the cosmos to throw us a bone of sorts, something nice & uplifting? Like maybe the top 10% of evil overlords are suddenly immune to gravity and float off the earth into space, never to be seen again? Nope, I guess not, so it’s back to ‘normal’ living…for now. (I still think something topsy turvy is in the works out there)

I Love You because You are Unique.

This is the first Christmas in 28 years Gary & I will get to celebrate at home with just our kids! We are giddy with excitement. It’ll be a whole different kind of Christmas. To mark this auspicious event we have cut down a live evergreen tree. Don’t get me wrong, we are tree lovers but we knew the evergreen would have to be removed (boring story, won’t be sharing) and we have since planted new trees to make up for it. We bought live trees the first 5 years we were married and each year the price tag got pricier. That’s when I bought an artificial one. The kids only remember having one live Christmas tree so far. It was the year my parents cut down an evergreen in their yard and we cut 9’ off the top. Note: the top of full grown evergreens do NOT look like the ones in an average person’s living room at Christmas! This was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We have a picture of the 4 girls each standing ‘inside’ the 9’ tree (I wish I knew which box that picture was in). It was our best tree EVER! We laughed & grinned every time we looked at it. It also coincided with the year I got to use my first ever, brand new, last year’s clearance, awesome tree skirt…and got sap dripped ALL OVER IT! (No worries, Gary got it all off with solvent and saved the tree skirt) So, now, Gary has cut 8’ off the tippy top of our beloved evergreen and it’s now in our living room. Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one! It’s missing an entire section…and it’s bendy! I told Gary, “THIS…is the Ugliest Tree EVER!” He started getting all protective & even called me a ‘name’ or two, “This tree is f*cking AWESOME!” Whoa cowboy, settle down. Christmas tree communication is the key to a happy holiday, so I explained: “Just because it’s an ugly tree does NOT mean I don’t want it in our living room. The fact that if we went to a tree lot they would GIVE us this tree because absolutely nobody else would buy it is the reason I love it so much. It’s the reason I helped you drag its sorry looking a** into our living room.” “Putting lights on and decorating it is going to be interesting.” “Yep, and it’s going to be even more awesome when I’m done with it!”

Charlie Brown's tree has got nothing on this one!

Charlie Brown’s tree has got nothing on this one!


Daughter #3 came downstairs for a look-see, “Ohhh. my. god!” And then silence. And then laughter. After eyeing up the gaping hole in the back I told her we should hang a big something or other in the huge empty space facing the street…or maybe put a TV back there with Christmas shows playing for the bystanders outside. She’s a sweet tree and we honor her uniqueness. Now it’s time to play dress up!