Holey Underwear Batman!

I’m pretty sure the idea of planning & packing for an oversea adventure is supposed to be fun & exciting all by itself. In a perfect world I would be freaking ecstatic by now. Unfortunately, I like to use things to the point of falling apart before I replace them…which is the condition some of my needed essentials are in right now. The trip itself is pricey enough without having to fork over cash for it before I even leave the country. And yet…

Shoes~comfortable ones are necessary for all the walking we will be doing. A LOT of walking! I’ve let mine go past the point of comfort (by about a year); the squishy comfortableness of them is long gone. With how misty Ireland tends to be (not to mention the daily rain), two pair are essential for the frolicking we’ll be doing in the dewy meadows…Ch-ching $$

Hooded Rainjacket~I don’t own one. I use an umbrella and if I don’t want to get wet I have a quirky habit of staying indoors. Ireland is too windy for umbrella’s; the wind eats them for lunch. We plan on being outside during the day, rain or shine, and I’d kind of like to stay moderately dry…Ch-ching $

Clothes~somehow, over winter, my summer clothes have all shrunk. WTH?! I am in a quandary about how this happened. I’ve been getting by with just basic pieces of clothing but of course what I essentially need is packed away in the “Maybe Next Year” bag. So I went outside my comfort zone and bought a BRAND NEW (Ch-ching $$$) shirt & two pair of pants that are lightweight & will dry fast (I plan on banging our laundry on rocks in the streams along the countryside…or maybe just use a sink). One pair unzips into shorts (which are usually not worn there unless you’re visiting during the years’ four days of unusually warm weather…we’ll see). Then I paid a visit to Goodwill. I now have enough appropriately sized clothes to get me through Ireland and beyond…Ch-ching $$$$$

Cold Hard Cash~I was aware that our dollar isn’t as strong as the euro (if a meal is 10 euros in that quaint jovial pub in Ireland, we will actually be paying $13; typical meals are 12+ eu) but it was a rude awakening when we got the visual. We handed over a large sum of cash at the local bank and they handed us back a very small, very thin stack of euros…a mere pittance of what we presented to them. Very saddening! Hostels, camping in the car & bringing 5 jars of peanut butter are starting to look doable…and affordable! I’m saving my euros for the pubs.

Underwear and Bras~I seem to have iron-clad underwear. If it weren’t for the holes that our quirky washing machine feels necessary to slash randomly in them they wouldn’t be all that bad (only does it to my dainties & t-shirts). But if I soil my underwear in an accident over there, I want them to at least start out looking nice. The first thing I want to hear from the emergency personnel is, “Cute underwear…did you know you shit in them?” (they talk in that sexy Irish accent and make it sound like it’s something everyone wants to do).
My bras on the other hand were treacherous when two weeks apart from each other, they broke their underwire. That’s dangerous; you could take out a lung if you bent the wrong way! Besides, if we do pay to get our laundry done, I don’t want the Irish washerwoman looking at me with pity when I come to pick up the finished laundry, (imagine her speaking with that cool brogue of theirs) “That poor, sad American. Look at her dingy bras. She can’t get her whites truly white.” I’m sorry but I have a patriotic image to uphold…Ch-ching $$

Andre Rieu and John Sheahan (The Dubliners) play Irish Washerwoman

You can bet I got the best possible deal on everything I bought. Some were virtually cheap inexpensive. At least this trip has forced me to replace things I’ve been procrastinating about. So I’ve finally got my packing list fine-tuned and my extra purchases made. My new mantra regarding luggage is that less is more…Pack Light…Pack Light…Pack Light…!

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.

Friends+Whiskey+The Bocks=Therapy

Today’s been a relatively normal feeling day. Only one episode of crying during a moment of quiet in the car between the chaos of planning the funeral, helping my mom and trying to accomplish my own errands. My house is crazy dirty & unorganized because before I took off down to be with my dad we were in the midst of purging the house and reorganizing; that all got put on hold right in the middle of things getting worse before they get better. Things are still in the ‘worse’ stage at home.

In the middle of an errand I get a phone call from two friends, Kathy & Maria, who went to my father’s funeral only to discover that no one was there…
“Hmmm, there should at least be cars from the family here!”
They were all dressed up with no place to go so we made plans to meet at a local restaurant. I call Gary to let him know I won’t be coming home because I’ll be having a pre-wake for my father with friends.
“What a surprise,” Gary exclaimed, “Russ & Julie are here at the house because they went to the funeral and no one was there.”
“Holy Crap!” How many people thought the funeral was today?! This is insanely embarrassing! Earlier today two of my mom’s friends were bringing food for all the family that was expected and it didn’t occur to me what was happening because there actually IS family coming to help prepare for the funeral.

I thanked Julie & Russ, Kathy & Maria, for coming to my dad’s funeral…a week early. We talked, laughed & reminisced. It was still a pretty wonderful time because all of them can relate with losing a parent and they know what I’m experiencing (even if I hadn’t told them) and it’s oddly comforting knowing that. I love you guys a lot!

Coming home to the band practicing was another level of therapy. I brought shot glasses and my Irish whiskey to the basement and the guys and I toasted to my dad and his incredible gift of music. Coach taught himself to play the guitar just like my dad did. We talked about life and they played to me the music I love. Music, friends & laughter are the best kind of therapy around. Once again I am so aware, at this exact moment in my life, of how freaking blessed I am! I am so grateful for the people that are in my life. It feels like my dad is already communicating to me through my friends.

I cried so much over the last 2 weeks and now, I feel oddly at peace when I think of my dad. I had an incredible relationship with him; through happy & difficult times. Without really having the right words, my visual take on it is that, it feels like his unconditional love for me is wrapped around my heart like a protective shield…at least for now. The emotions may flood back once the funeral is underway. But for now, I appreciate the peace I feel.

Goodbye Dad, I Love You!

I love my family. They’re a freaky fun umbilical cord to my gene pool.

This week my family has been gathering in Madison to laugh, to cry, to share memories and ultimately, to say goodbye to my father. I find it ironic that he was born in Madison and even though he doesn’t live here anymore, he will come full circle by dying here. Life’s little coincidence? I don’t think so.

We had great fun and wonderful memories coming to visit my Grandma & Grandpa and aunts & uncles in Madison. My dad had some pretty incredible parents & siblings. They did remarkable acts of love for each other and my parents did the same for us kids.

By some other people’s standards we were poor. My parents reproduced like rabbits and raised ten kids on a very limited income with help from his brother’s & sister. As far as us kids knew we always had enough. We ate cheaply but we didn’t go hungry. We weren’t the best dressed kids but we had clean clothes. We didn’t have the latest toys but we were quite an imaginative bunch with creating our own fun, especially outside. By a freaky twist of fate all ten of us were born in a different month so at least once a month we had birthday cake.

When they couldn’t cram all of us into a station wagon ‘comfortably’ anymore they bought an old school bus & converted it into a camp-mobile. Our camping trips were epic! Dad playing his guitar & singing around the campfire was the highlight. Our family times were filled with laughter, fun, fighting, humor, cat-fights and just enough dysfunction to keep our bonds of loyalty intact.

My dad gave us unconditional love. He was there for us when we needed his help and he was with us to help celebrate the little stuff along with the big. His caring & giving to people and animals was immeasurable. He had a wicked sense of humor that was passed on to us kids which often bit him in the ass because we gave him a run for his money when bantering back & forth with him. Some people may have viewed it as being disrespectful, instead, my dad enjoyed it and found the humor in it. I could talk about anything with him and often did. Nothing was off-limits.

When I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday night it looked like I would not have the chance to ever communicate with him again. Wednesday morning I was talking & laughing in his room with siblings when I had a light bulb moment & in an excited voice loudly exclaimed, “We can bring Dad to Ireland!!!” (referring to his ashes). His eyes popped open & he looked at me. I was already excited but now I’m thinking, “Holy crap! He’s not in a coma!” So without a beat I said, “Dad. Do you want to go to Ireland with us?! “When?” he said. “I don’t know, sometime in May?” He actually looked like he was thinking and made some ‘maybe’ noises and then went back to sleep. I was ecstatic! I was so going to bring my Dad to Ireland!

This last week of his life has been a truely spiritual gift. When doctors thought he was entering into the coma stage of death, he defied them and ‘came back’ to us for additional days of interaction. Despite the emotional roller coaster ride of watching someone in the throes of dying, my dad’s verbal and non-verbal interactions with us and the hospital staff brought us sweet relief in the form of laughter & words of love. He loved puckering up and giving my Mom kisses.

We’ve brought him to hospice now and he’s in the final stages of life. I curse these damnedable love emotions and the tears they create. I’m tired of crying and yet the tears keep coming and they burn my eyes. Going out to the woods to cry was therapeutic; you can really let loose and Mother Nature is very understanding. I am honored to have had my father’s unconditional love and even though I went kicking and screaming into caring for him, I have learned valuable lessons from the experience. I learned that I have unconditional love for him too.

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?!

Herding children is a lot like herding cats

Recess on the playground of the Kindergarten, First & Second graders. We’re surrounded by expanses of a snowy winter wonderland. The play equipment that is usually strung with screeching monkeys is virtually empty. The slides, swings & tunnels are now occupied by the quietest kids. Despite the freedom of “Muahahahahaha…it’s all mine!” I would think it’s still a little unsettling having the place all to themselves. And boring.
Meanwhile, back on the range, three quarters of the kids have left the confines of the play equipment and ventured out into the fields of snow and the snow covered blacktop. Toys of choice: snow shovels (big ticket item), sand shovels & pails, their mitten covered hands. There were groups of kids making huge snowballs or adding to the ones from previous classes, piling snow up into random mounds, trying to make snow castles, snow angels, pushing the shovels around making trails on the blacktop and attempting snow football. It was so cool watching the kids just being kids. No toys and basic toys. Kids don’t need a lot when it comes right down to it.
So as I stood outside during the recesses, basking in the beautiful cold winter day I noticed two things. I hadn’t heard a lot of, “Teacher…so-and-so told me I can’t be blah-blah’s friend and she was my friend first.” (because Norman Rockwell wouldn’t have put that in this picture) and with the wide expanse of children all around me, it felt like I was in the middle of this commercial:

If I had put a big empty box on the playground I definitely would have caught a few

The sounds of playground ruckus & the fierceness that comes with it

You Can Skip to Video in 5…4…3…2…1…Skip Ad

Why is it that the YouTube videos with commercials that start out with an option to end the ad early, are the ones that are actually worth watching? The sucky ones that you have no choice but to watch are also usually the longest. So in lieu of posting a really cool song, here are some really cool commercials that tripped my trigger:

This kind of help would NOT have happened in our home. Baked goods…maybe. Kudos to the moms who rock like this!

Ahahaha…everyone needs this kind of friend! Even though it’s a talking stuffed heart.

The Sherlock Holmes in me got kind of excited about playing detective.

The song caught my attention (love the song) and hooked me into watching the preview. I think I might watch this!

Who would ever want to be normal?

And…I couldn’t help myself…I love music!

Laughter is the best medicine…especially when the therapist is as crazy as you are!

I hung out today with one of my therapists, Lady Susan. She’s royalty, much like I am. I think she also has a tiara but I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen her wear it. If she hadn’t decided to go with me I would’ve gone by myself. I like being all by myself sometimes but having Lady Susan along is like going to an amusement park instead of just sitting on a park bench with the squirrels. First we went to an indoor Farmer’s Market for veggies, seeds, patchouli & honey. I was pretty excited that the sprouts guy was there again; it’s a fun snack in the dead of winter.
Next stop was a museum to see the animated holiday window displays salvaged from a local department store from our childhood. I am sooo glad I didn’t bring the kids. They would’ve laughed at the lameness of my magical childhood. Back in the 60’s, seeing anything that moved was a pretty big deal; especially when you’re a little kid. As we went from one display to the next, Lady Susan & I would remark, “I don’t really remember this one either.” We were both hoping one of the windows would trigger a memory. Near the end we see the kitchen baking scene. How ironic…the food scene is the one I vaguely remember. Maybe it was just the child in me that really wanted to see & feel what I did back in my youth.
I really can’t remember what scenes I saw back then. What I do remember are the feelings; the excitement of my parents bringing all of us kids to the big city to walk the sidewalk outside the department store & look at the magic of technology with its moving figures. I’m sure I looked at the whole scene at each window but my main focus was on the stuff that moved. I have memories of being fascinated by that. Then we went inside & walked through the ‘enchanted forest’ to see Santa Claus. It was one of the highlights of Christmas. All in all I’m glad I finally went to see the displays. It was nice to see the windows again through my adult eyes but with the memories & feelings of my childhood still intact inside me.

We would’ve left then but the entrance to a cave caught my eye and I felt compelled to explore. We continued walking and looking at displays until I realized that it felt like we were in the middle of a maze & I was getting a little bit claustrophobic because there didn’t seem to be a way out. I’m pretty sure we could’ve found our way out faster if they had wedges of cheese waiting for us at the end.
Before heading home we stopped for some shots of wheatgrass & ginger. We’re rebels that way. It was spicy hot, sweet & delicious…just like we are! The whole day we laughed, bantering back & forth with comedic timing. We’re a funny pair, sweet Sue & me. Funny lookin’ & just plain funny! I’m fortunate to have a lot of funny therapists & I love them all. They keep me healthy. We’d all make for a kick-ass TV talk show!

Sugar, Sugar…You Are My Candy Girl & You Got Me Wanting You

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I can’t eat sugar…probably ever. I lose the weight…I start eating sugar & bread…I gain the weight back. I lose the weight (a little less each time)…I start eating sugar & bread…I gain the weight back…etc.,etc.,etc. I don’t even want to figure out how often I’ve fallen off my horse (she’s a really large Clydesdale named Teensy Weensy). She used to run off indefinitely. Now she waits patiently next to me until I can get the ladder out and climb back on. This time she was gone a long time; I think she was trying to teach me a lesson. Lesson learned! It took me a long time to write my resolutions post (1/05/13) because the 3 of us were trying to figure out a way to keep some foods ‘safe’ from the chopping block because they were considered healthy. Chocolate won by a landslide (Elizabeth has a way with words!).

That was a light bulb moment for me. Carb addiction is no different than alcoholism, smoking or drug addiction. Well, there is one difference. Your body doesn’t need alcohol, cigarettes or drugs (& sugar, contrary to some people’s belief) to survive. Food, that’s a different story. You do have to eat. You have to make food choices every day! Try giving up junk food, sugar, bread or alcohol and find out how few of places there are that are safe. In no way am I trying to say one addiction is more difficult than another. What I am saying is that sugar IS an addiction. So when well-meaning friends tell me that it’s not good to totally give it up; to eat a small piece of something sweet and then not have any more, I started telling them, “Would you say that to an alcoholic?” I CAN’T EAT JUST ONE! It slowly (& sometimes not so slowly) snowballs into a feeding frenzy I can’t stop until I make myself sick. I’m envious of those of you that can eat sweets and stop after a few pieces or only eat some and decide you don’t want the rest. I can actually do that with alcohol. I enjoy beer, scotch & wine but I can either say no altogether or not finish a drink because my body just decides I don’t want it anymore; especially if I’m full from food.
About the same time I decided not to label myself a carb-addict, I realized that if I want to really be healthy long term I have to go against societies norm of ‘don’t deny yourself totally or you’ll want it even more.’ LOL, seriously? I want it more as soon as I start eating it! And pretty soon all I can think about is my next fix. This blog post came to me very last minute because I was reading an article that explains really well how some of us literally can’t eat just one. How many of you have a problem staying away from something you ache for but can’t have? Here’s the article (it won’t let me link it so you’ll have to copy & paste): http://athleanx.com/for-women/spike-crash-and-burn-how-even-a-little-sugar-could-be-sabotaging-your-weight-loss-and-workouts

My tongue has no feeling anymore…sweet!

I love spicy food. I’ve even converted some of the family over to the hot side of life although I’ve been accused of going overboard by some of them. That’s crazy talk! I try to be respectful of those people whose taste buds are much like the Princess & the Pea. A drop of hot sauce, a dab of wasabi or a teaspoon of red pepper in a stock pot of stew will send them scrambling to the sink to gulp water straight from the faucet; all the while cursing me for trying to kill them as they futilely continue trying to put out the fire from the red hot poker that is stuck in their throat. I’m usually at a loss because I ate the same thing they did and I can barely feel any kind of heat in my throat (and I’m not gonna lie, I’m always a little disappointed in that). Depending on the food, if your nose isn’t running…it’s not hot enough. On a few occasions I have surprised myself by not liking the spicy hot food, but only because the intensity of the burn overpowered any flavor the food might have had. I love food too much not to taste it!
Just off the top of my head these are foods that I (& the general public it seems) regularly add spicy seasonings to: a LOT of Main Dishes, Pizza (red pepper flakes), Chinese Food (I like hot mustard but only if I don’t have wasabi; the green paste that if you breath the vapors into your lungs you will die…or wish you would until your body stops hating you for what you just did. I almost died twice from wasabi…it is some serious shit!), Jalapeno Pickled Eggs, Eggs (not including salsa), Salsa, and Nuts.
And these are foods that I’ve found taste delicious with a healthy dose of Red Pepper sprinkled in that you might not think to add to: Peanut Butter, Chocolate/Brownies (probably any dessert known to woman or man), Ice Cream, Coffee, Applesauce, Hot Apple Cider, Pickles (I drain out the pickle juice and add juice from the jalapenos) & all the other Main Dishes not included in the first category.
I’d like to hear if anyone has tried something (especially out of the ordinary) with hot spices that they like (or would want me to try for them). Disclaimer: I found out that it’s actually possible to put too much red pepper in brownies. It didn’t stop me from eating them (they were chocolate after all!) but I wouldn’t put as much in next time. Okay, sometimes I do go overboard and my response to that…blah, blah, blah.

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!