Tag Archives: birthday

How can I be this old?

chef jeremyToday is my baby boy’s 30th birthday.

I don’t know how it is possible that I am old enough to have a 30-year-old child.  Life is one, big goofy trip.

I had a rough pregnancy and he was 9 weeks premature.  After he was born, I only got to hold him for a minute before they whisked him off to a NICU isolette.  In that minute, I fell irretrievably in love with him.

Suffice it to say that Chef Boy ‘R Mine is the love of my life.

He has turned into a marvelous man and an exceptional chef – I honestly don’t know how it was that we were surprised by his decision to become a chef.  The evidence was there all those years ago.

Happy Birthday, Punkin’, I love you.

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Filed under June 2015

Carruthers

Photo by Roy Welburn

Photo by Roy Welburn

I’m snuggled on the couch with the puppy drinking coffee.  After complaining about the heat for days, I’m enjoying the storm waging outside The Barn.

I promised myself I would not complain about this summer’s heat after last winter’s cold.  I meant well.

But there’s nothing like feeling safe inside while the rain rages outside.  I feel snug and loved as the puppy is using this opportunity to cover me with sweet puppy kisses.

I joke that Carruthers should be here.  Whenever she visits, West Virginia is dowsed in torrents of rain – tropical monsoons the likes of which we all marvel at.  But Carruthers is turning 25 while doing fieldwork in Indonesia.  I bet it’s more tropical here today.

Her birthday isn’t technically until tomorrow, but it’s tomorrow today where she is, so I wished her Happy Birthday as she ate Mexican food and listened to salsa music in an Indonesian restaurant.  Isn’t it a wonderful world!

One of the greatest blessings I received from Doug is his daughter, Carruthers.  I would never have gotten through this past year without her.  I hope she knows how much I love her.

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Filed under June 2014

My Punkin is 29 Today

jeremyschoolsmallIt’s unbelievable to me that I can possibly have a child who turned 29 today.  I mean, really, how can that be?  No, he wasn’t a teen mama baby, I was 26.

He lives in Atlanta and so I wasn’t able to wish him Happy Birthday in person.  Atlanta is much too far for my comfort.  He might be 29, but he’s still my baby and I want to be able to get to him quickly should circumstances dictate.

I sent him, via Amazon, a not-very-exciting gift.  For some reason, he didn’t get it although tracking showed it delivered.  I feel really bad that he didn’t have a present on his birthday.  Tell me — do parents ever quit thinking of their offspring as little kids?  I imagine a 6-year-old bereft without a birthday present instead of a grown man of 29 who just shrugged it off.

He was the world’s cutest kid and I’m so ready for him to produce my grandchildren.  I can’t wait to live life through the eyes of a child again.

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Filed under June 2014

Bright, Glittery Things

I’m sitting here sipping Dollar Store wine (another story for another time) and listening to The Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions. This is one of the great albums of all time. I never get tired of it.

Earlier I was playing on Facebook and sorting out the china cabinet when I was provoked to post a picture of my handiwork and, later, a promise/threat to blog about the china my daddy gave me.

I don’t make idle promises or threats.

china cabinetWhen I was 12, I was a hormonal mess and my father got posted to Iwakuni, Japan. We found out later that he was really slipping in and out of Vietnam in the waning days of that gawdawful war. Like I said, I was a hormonal mess and my father’s leaving, though by no means the first, hit me hard. This was his fourth tour to ‘Nam and I was old enough to understand.

Just before my 13th birthday, I got a priceless letter from him in response to my birthday list he’d asked for. I can’t find that letter and it’s driving me crazy. It’s a gem and highlights all the fine points of my daddy, particularly his sense of humor.

Ichinan any event, I got a catalogue of Noritake china and Sanyo stemware and was told to pick out patterns. As he was in Japan, not really, I was getting china for my birthday.

I’ve been odd since birth. I was ecstatic! I like shiny, bright things and I like food and I love my daddy.

I picked out a pattern with the coordinating stemware that would have been at home in an Andy Warhol painting. It was the 70s. I don’t know if he lied or not, but Daddy said that the pattern was discontinued so he winged it. I received a disappointing and understated set of china for 12 with coordinating stemware. Disappointing in its elegance, it was from my dad and I loved it nonetheless.

stemwareI carried that china from one posting to another and from one apartment and house to another, finally unpacking it and using it for the first time roughly 30 years after I opened it.

In the intervening years my tastes changed and the beauty of it just takes my breath. It’s basic white china with a smoked rim. The glassware is a smoky black.

The serendipity of it all is that without my thinking about it, I decorated this room in a black, brown, white, beige scheme when The Ex and I finally caved and hired a professional to finish the barn. I had to whine and carry on, beg and plead, but I convinced The Ex that after 30 years, I needed and deserved a china cabinet to put the china in. As we were so far over budget by that time, he just threw up his and hands and nodded yes.

The china cabinet and china slid into this room like it should have always been here. It takes my breath, it does, it does.

dragonwareAlso in the cabinet are some pieces that mean something to me for other reasons. Chief are some moriage dragonware that just make me swoon. DragonMan and I discovered the pattern in an antique store outside of Boston one summer. I’ve decided I need snack plates to prop in front of the dinner plates. I have my daddy’s china, Doug’s dragonware, and the wedding mementoes from The EX – all three good men and the love of my life at one time or another.

precious momentsLove is a funny thing. I still love all three of them. Vietnam changed Daddy, change took The Ex and death Doug. But all three of them glitter and glow in a china cabinet from the J. C. Penney.

Good men abound and I’ve been blessed more than my share.

 

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Filed under November 2013

The Wa of 53

Kanji for Wa

Today is my birthday and I’ve turned 53. I remarked the other day that turning 53 is a nothing year. I was immediately bombarded with exhortations to seize the year and whatnot. I didn’t express myself well.I didn’t mean nothing as a negative. Some birthdays are imbued with an energy related to the number we use to mark the passing of time. Turning 13 is a high-energy number; so is 21. The year of 30 stops some people in their tracks. Or it might be 40 or 50 or 60 or 70. The year 25 was fraught with significance for me. This one, 53, is just another turn of the wheel which is not to say it’s not worthy of being something. Terming it a nothing year was a bad choice of words.

The past year has been rough in terms of sheer disruption; a trend that looks as if it will continue for the following year. A long while ago, I discovered that I’m one of those people who needs routine and structure. I discombobulate easily when the external gets a little too free-flowing even though I generally perform well under such conditions. Though the chaos–often chaos of my own creation–drives me crazy, I don’t crawl under the bed in a fetal position and refuse to act until the merry-go-round stops. As much as I want to.

Here at the barn, the chaos has reached critical mass. A black hole is getting ready to implode or explode of mutate into a worm hole or something. For various reasons, the barn home improvement project has been stalled for almost exactly a month. No, I haven’t been in a fetal position under the bed. Well, okay. I haven’t been just in a fetal position under the bed. There have been extenuating circumstances: six day power outage, sprained wrist, handyman delays, work obligations and family events.

I’m on vacation beginning today and continuing all through next week. I have an ambitious to-do list. I’m channeling Scarlet O’Hara, shaking my fist at the sky, and solemnly swearing that I’ll never be hungry again. Wait. No. That’s not quite it.

I’m vowing to jitterbug through this chaos and prevent a Big Bang. I cannot live like this any longer. I tend to measure my success at handling life by how much grace and style I can muster under adverse conditions. Grace and Style exited along with Equanimity when the Wa (Japanese concept of peace, harmony and balance) of my home ended up sitting in the driveway with the rotted bookcases. Even worse, Grace, Style and Equanimity had been threatening to move out for a good while before that. It’s time we were all friends again.

The bookcases were offered to a funeral pyre this week. It’s good to have them gone. I’m surprised at how much better I feel when I drive up the hill and am not immediately reminded of just how badly this project has gone. I suspect the Wa survived the cremation and is napping behind a tree somewhere.

At this stage, I can’t envision the end result, but I’m trusting that by doing what needs to be done Wa will return and wrap its tendrils around my heart and home.

With any luck, 53 will be both a return and an advance.

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Filed under August 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

This is kind of creepy, but also kind of hysterical.

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Filed under August 2011

Nurture and Nature

With all the busy-ness, drama, peril, stress and discombobulation of the past weeks, months, years, I’ve been out of sync with my universe. This statement is probably one of the biggest understatements of my life.

Places to live usually just fall on me.

Three things ground and root me: friends and family, nesting and gardening, writing and creating. This great triumvirate of my life has been stripped of power for far too long and it is with great joy that HMO’Keefe’s arrival in West Virginia has put them back into office.

He and I have had separate lives that intersected too infrequently. We anticipated that blending our lives would create some flash points in terms of turf wars. My beloved barn is so much mine, we both feared the time it would take for it to feel like his while I adjusted to what might feel like his encroachment into my space would be uncomfortable for us both. This is one of the perils of independent, old folks moving in together. For this reason and several others which are actually more important, HMOKeefe and I have taken a pied-a-terre in town where we will live during the work week retiring to the country estate on the weekends.  🙂

[I find it completely ridiculous that I have a home in the “city” and a “country house” – I have yet to refer to either without feeling pretentious.]

Pied-a-Terre

I had great fun and great stress finding an apartment. I have never looked for a place to live before. Like the Wicked Witch of the East, houses just seemed to fall on me. I started this project eager and anticipating the process to be a big bunch of fun.

I approached the task of finding the pied-a-terre in a logical fashion. I created a wish list which included the neighborhood I wanted. Then I stalked that neighborhood, classified ads, real estate magazines, and Craigslist.

What people pay for rental property in Hooterville was a great shock to me. My optimism plummeted with every phone call not returned by a landlord, with every walk-through a roach motel and every apartment with no laundry facilities. [We are too old to be schlepping to the laundromat.] Finding a place for grownups to live in a college town is pretty damn difficult.

And, yet, my timing was perfect. I opened Craigslist at the very right second. I called the landlord at the very right second. I raced over to see the apartment at the very right second. And within 10 minutes of walking in the door, I was shouting “It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s perfect, I’ll take it!”

The apartment hit every bullet point on the wish list except one (ground floor). It is just beeee-youuuuuuuuuuuuu-tiiiiiiiii-fullllllllllllllllllllll. I’ve been consumed with ideas for decorating, furniture arrangements, and color schemes while simultaneously restoring order to the Barn. I have been up to my neck in domestic nesting.

I love BOGO!

The garden, alas, was neglected. The harsh winter, endless spring rains and real estate flitting translated into an eyesore of a garden.

Yesterday and today I ran around home improvement centers and nurseries buying bedraggled, late-season annuals to effect a quick aesthetic fix. I ran into a buy-one-get-one sale that went a long way to improving the garden. I ran out of time to get all the little (some of them sad) plants into the ground, but my equanimity has the warm fuzzies with the little bit I have done. I neeeeeeeeddddddddd to have my hands in dirt.

Instant Garden

Now that HMOKeefe is here and is a tiny bit settled in (we have yet to begin the task of moving into the apartment), I’ve had some time to reconnect with friends. Last night, I sat in a dear friend’s garden with more dear friends. We played with twinkle lights, ate good food, drank cheap wine and had a fine time. These gatherings are dubbed “sisterings” and more than a decade ago, I helped to establish sisterings as a Friday night tradition. The craziness of my life has been such that I haven’t been able to attend with any regularity for years now. That sad state of affairs is coming to an end.

Twinkle Lights and Wine

So, I’ve had time with my True Love, time with my friends, and tomorrow I trundle off to Charlotte to take my Baby Boy to dinner to celebrate his birthday. Throughout this week and weekend I have taken photos to bear witness. I’ve come to really enjoy the creative aspect of photo editing. I’ve written blog posts this week. I’ve nested, gardened, nurtured and created. I’ve hit all of my pulse points and life is good.

I had intended on posting way back in January that the slogan for this year was Almost Heaven in 2011. We’re about half-way through the year and things are on track.

I’ve also been remiss in acknowledging an award. Back in April (more than a month after my last blog post), I received email telling me my blog had been named one of the best West Virginia sites. In bestowing the award, The Very Best Sites wrote,

W.Va. Fur and Root is a self-proclaimed “hillbilly diva’s” blog (or, as she says, “blatherings”). Connie writes about whatever she wants, thank-you-very-much, and the title of her website comes from a sign that came with her old home, which she says is pretty much an old barn. She talks about nesting in that great old structure, but also talks about current events, TV, music, and pretty much whatever comes to mind. With terms like “Agog-O-Meter” I find her particularly fun to read, and so will you. She hasn’t posted in about a month, which I guess is because she is busy gardening, but read her older posts for a taste of something special.

As I think I’ve explained, I haven’t been busy gardening, but I have been busy. I’m very honored to have been listed as one of the best particularly in light of the other sites listed – many of them are favorites of mine and have characteristics that are goals for my blog.

It’s going to be a good summer. I’m sure of it.

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Filed under June 2011