Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandpa

Today would have been my grandfather's 93rd birthday. He's been gone for nearly 18 years and I suppose I could say that I always think of him on February 28th. But the truth is that I think of him nearly every day.

My parents divorced before I was 2 and mom and I lived with my grandparents for a long time afterwards. So Grandpa was by far the single biggest male influence in my life. We had a very special bond and he always made me feel I was his favorite.

On his birthday, I'm reminded of how many ways he influenced my life and the things I appreciate. He was the one who took me to amusement parks and shared his love of music. He taught me to use a camera, the value of a dollar and how to be grateful for the things you have.

He was one of 11 children and worked hard his whole life. First to help support his parents and siblings in hard times, then to support a wife and 2 daughters. He never owned a house and even in his retirement, got a job working the early shift at McDonald's because after a lifetime of getting up before dawn, he figured he might as well do something.

Grandpa was the first one people called in times of crisis. And even when it meant personal sacrifice, he was quick to give you the shirt off his back.

Grandpa could fix anything. A skill my husband also possesses and it breaks my heart that Grandpa died before they had a chance to meet. I know they would've been great pals.

I miss him every day. Today more than most. It saddens me that he wasn't here to see me get married, to meet my husband, to see the woman I've become and see the birth of his great granddaughters.

I wonder all the time what he'd think of the world today.

What would he think of the choices I've made?

Would he be proud?

I hope so.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

10 Weird Things

I've felt uninspired to write lately. Work and life keep getting in the way and to be honest, I've felt more inspired to read and comment on my fellow bloggers sites than come up with thoughts of my own. Sometimes it's easier to chime in than to ring the bell yourself.

But, I can't ignore a challenge... and the Contessa has tagged me for a 10 Weird Things list. So here it is... read at your own discretion. They're in no particular order.

  1. I have a weird fascination with the engagement and wedding announcements in the Sunday paper. It's like a little mystery novel. I like to try and figure out how these two people got together.
  2. I'm insanely jealous of people who have natural talent (art, music, whatever) because I have none. I can carry a tune and enjoy belting a good song in the car but have been surrounded all my life with people who are far more talented in that arena. So instead, I joke that while they are all on stage, my job is to applaud really loudly.
  3. I'm a walking book of useless trivia...movies, TV, historical, you name it. Sometimes even I'm amazed at the junk I remember.
  4. I'm fascinated by genealogy and have traced a branch of my husband's family tree back to the 1300's and King Edward III.
  5. I have never lived outside of New York or New Jersey.
  6. I'm convinced that The Contessa and I were separated at birth...except she can sing and I cannot (see #2).
  7. Since graduating from college I have worked at an ad agency, a recruiting firm, a newspaper, a magazine and a textbook publisher... and oh yea...I've also been a Nine West store manager.
  8. My favorite song at the moment is Christina Aguilera's Candyman. I love big band music and the trombone at the beginning makes me smile every time.
  9. I love having people over to my house which I suppose isn't weird except that I suffer from "mary tyler moore syndrome" No matter how hard I plan, I'm always afraid that no one will show up or that no one will have a good time. (Does anyone else get this reference?)
  10. I have never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. REALLY.

So there you have it.... tagged next are Word Girl, Crank Mama and Gunfighter.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Watching your language and today's thing to be proud of

First a funny thing...

Just as I pull out the driveway this morning on the way to drive my five year olds to the bus stop, I hear

Daughter 2: "oh, crap"

Me: "What did you say?" (hoping I heard it wrong and trying not to chuckle).

Daughter 2: "I said 'oh, crap'" (innocently as she dropped whatever she was holding on the floor)

Me: OK, let's not say that anymore. It's not a nice thing to say."

Meanwhile Daughter 1 chimes with "What did she say?what did she say?"

Me: Nothing, nothing. She said something that wasn't a nice word and we're not going to repeat it.

Why do these things always happen on the way to the bus stop when I am the only adult in the car?

And I KNOW that I am the guilty party that introduced the phrase into her vocabulary. I obviously try and watch my language around the kids and I certainly don't curse like a sailor but the phrase "oh, crap" has definitely been uttered by me on more than one occasion.

I suppose the good thing is that she used it the proper context, right?

I'm imagining that we're going to get a note home from school if she keeps it up. :sigh:

But on other fronts...
It looks like the family is going on another cruise this summer. It will be my Dad and his wife's (I'm not allowed to call her my stepmother) 40th anniversary and our 12th the week we sail. I'm really excited about it but I've decided that I refuse to be the fat girl in the cruise pictures again. Last time we went... about a year ago, I actually photoshopped myself in a few of the pictures before sending them to the rest of the family. (pathetic, I know). If you saw my perpetually thin husband, father and brothers you'd understand. One brother is a former body builder and my 65 year old dad plays tennis several times a week.

This is the just the motivation I need to stop talking about this and DO SOMETHING. I can diet with the best of them and I've been known to drop 20-30 pounds on everything from Atkins to Weight Watchers. But exercise has never been my strong suit. It's not that I'm lazy (well, maybe it is) it's just that I can't figure out how to fit exercise into my life.

So this morning I got up at 5:30 (set the alarm for 5 but that obviously wasn't happening) and went to look outside. I thought, "maybe, I'll go take a walk" Well, besides the fact that it was 22 degrees was PITCH BLACK out there! I don't know what I was expecting at 5:30 but it suddenly occurred to me that I live on a street with no street lights. OK, so that obviously wasn't happening.

On to Plan B.

I put on a 35 minute Pilates video from my on demand TV service and did that instead. It didn't have the same exhilarating feeling as going out for a walk in 22 degree weather but at least I did it. And I'm damned proud of myself for that.

Tomorrow I'm going to do it again. (and because I've said it here, it has to be true).

Stay tuned.