Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Friday, August 28, 2009

In Defense of my living room

It's a Friday evening and we've just put Brooklyn down to bed. Dinner is cleaned up and the dishes in the dishwasher and I sit in the quiet of my living room, feet up on the coffee table, a nice glass of Pinot Grigio by my side. The quiet hum of the washing machine behind the laundry room door is broken up by the occasional snap of the jeans in the dryer against the side. The light is dim, only one lamp lit against the encroaching evening. My brown "micro-suede" sofa is comforting, even if it is the "L" shape that I swore to Rob we would never own.

I like my family room. It has a comfortable, lived-in feel to it. Some of you might remember a few years ago when someone commented on my house and called it "Main Street Disneyland, covered in dust." (Those of you who know me well might smile at that statement, as it conjurs up thoughts of my smiling Tiggers everywhere.) At the time the statement was made, I had just finished a major kitchen remodel. (And by "major," I mean that everything was ripped out to the walls and it was completely redone. In fact, I had only moved the dishes and other "furnishings" of the kitchen back in the day before this person saw my home and made the comment. So I would have to say that the "dust" part was at least partially correct. At that time, I also hadn't found a cleaning person that I liked. I had gone through several, but had to let them each go in their own turn, for various reasons. I was in flux and the "soul" of my home was bared to anyone who dared to enter. This person entered and instead of seeing the family that lived there and the toys of a baby scattered around, this person saw dust and Mickey Mouse.
Every once in awhile, I stop to take stock of my surroundings and sometimes wonder if I have the house of an adult. My in-laws certainly have an "adult" house, with their crystal chandelier over the dining room table, the very large, flat screen television and the lack of any evidence of children, but for Brooklyn's play room. Their entryway and living room are decorated in a sophisticated, modern style. Anyone walking into the home would immediately know that adults live there.
My entryway is guarded by several wooden mooses and a bear. Tokens from family trips to Tahoe, one proudly proclaims "go away," while the bear holds a sign that says "I'm not a bear." The sofa table by the wall holds a chess set from a trip to Mexico in granite, a replica of Dodger stadium that lights up and several family photos. The piano in the living room holds Precious Moments figures with Tigger and Pooh and a model of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Someone walking into this room might wonder at the decorating taste of the people within.
As I walked down the stairs tonight after putting Brooklyn to bed, I was drawn to the wall in the dining room that is covered with family pictures. A picture of Brooklyn at 3 months takes the center and immediately draws your attention. Many people notice it as soon as they walk in the house. (The wall is also visible as soon as you walk in the door.) I study the pictures, taking in Brooklyn's 1st, 2nd and 3rd birthday photos and the family pictures that went with them, watching us grow. I can't help but wonder how that "person" came into my house and missed this wall, but somehow latched on to the dust and the Disney. Maybe that person was looking for chinks in my armour?
But I digress... as I sink deeper into my couch, I am comfortable with my home. It's a good size, it's right for us. I am lucky and I love what I have. Of course I'd like to put in new carpet. Of course I would like to finally paint the walls one of the sample colors that have been splashed up for at least a year (don't ask.) But at the end of the day, I'm o.k. with a little dust and I'm definitely o.k. with the Disney - the Tiggers and the Mickey (which Brooklyn loves, of course).
I don't know if I have the home of an "adult." But I do believe that I have the home of a family, one that is lived in and full of love, and I'm o.k. with that, even if it is covered in dust.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dream a little Dream

I dream alot. I'm not sure why, but that's just what happens. Maybe it's because there is way too much going on in my head, or maybe it's because there's not enough going on in real life (yeah, right.) I remember most of my dreams when I wake up, but they usually drift away by lunchtime and I only then remember dreaming, but not what it was about. There are a few exceptions, dreams that I remember in great detail, and recurring dreams. For awhile, I was seeing a therapist (yes, she confirmed that I was, in fact, crazy, but that's beside the point), who asked me to write down my dreams. She gave me some insight into them and I've even googled a few of them to see what's up. (Seriously, who dreams about having to go to the bathroom?!?)

One of my recurring dream themes is school. I have several different variations of this dream - in some of them I am back at my high school in Jefferson, and at some I'm in college, or in a school I've never seen before. Almost all of the time, I am either late for class and can't find the right room, or I am in the right room but don't have my book. Sometimes it is finals time and I realize that I haven't been to class the entire semester, haven't read a page in the book and have to take the test. Alot of times, I wander the halls, trying to find my locker, knowing that it is around there somewhere. Usually, my sister Trix manages to find her way into the dream, hanging out in the hall. (This might be because I was slightly traumatized by her in high school. She was only a year older, but had an inch or two and probably 20 pounds on me. Just ask the boys - she was intimidating!) I usually wake up before I have to take the test, or before I find the classroom or the book or my locker. I generally wake up feeling frustrated and tired, having "wandered" the entire time I was sleeping.

Of course, a few nights ago, I had a new twist on this old dream. I was going to school, and when I got there, they had "re-done" the school. As I looked down the hall where my locker used to be (across from Mrs. Bragga's math classroom, down the hall from the gym), there was produce. (WHAT?!). I asked a friend what had happened and she said that the lockers were moved. I immediately got worried because my books and my stuff had been in my locker. Where did it go? Where were my things? Where the heck was my locker? I'm not sure how, but in my dream, I managed to find the locker. The remainder of the dream (cut short by the morning alarm) was spent hanging out by our lockers, which also seemed to be the aisles of our local Ralph's supermarket. The meat department was at the end of one aisle of lockers and the cereal just was down the way. I have no idea- trust me.

My therapist had suggested that this recurrning dream about school might have something to do with a feeling that I needed to get something done, or feeling like there was something I hadn't completely. (Ya think? I've got a scrap room full of 1/2 done projects.) So I'm not sure what this new variation meant. If nothing else, I wouldnt' have to look for my lunch, it was probably right there in the salad bar a few aisles over.

Another slight variation of the school dream, is the sports dream. I find myself back in high school or college, trying out for the volleyball or basketball team again. These dreams also have variations - sometimes I am worried that I won't make the team, sometimes I realize that the season is half over and I haven't been to practice, alot of times, we are headed to a game and I don't have my uniform. Last night was yet another twist on this, basketball team again. This time Anita was there (point guard from high school) and we -along with the rest of the team, that sported some of my college teammates- were going through some kind of training. At one point, we went into a side gym and there were groups of girls of all ages - almost like a basketball came- running around. As we went through the training course, we had to jump up and grab onto a bar, and pull our legs up, sort of a gymnastic move, to test our upper body strength. (It's a dream, it's not supposed to make sense!) Everyone in front of me did the move, dropped onto the mats on the floor and then moved on. For some reason, when I got up to the bar, it turned into a swing and I was suddenly swinging across the gym, almost like a trapeze. Very weird.

I don't have any insight into what that one meant, other than that I sometimes feel like things are completely out of my control (I was swinging farther and farther out and couldn't figure out how to stop). As for going through try-outs again, who knows. Maybe it's because I long for the days of being in shape, but don't miss 3-a-days in August heat. oy.

I'll stop boring you now with these random dreams. I suppose I should go to work now?

Memories and Pictures - the follow up

I haven't checked this blog in awhile and I had to laugh that the last post was about my efforts to put pictures from the last Europe trip into some kind of order. I lamented my failure to take notes last time, kicking myself for not writing something to remember what the pictures were of. I swore I would try to do it better this time.

Well, "this time" has come and gone. We are back from Europe, our wallets lighter, our bones wearier and our laundry baskets full. I spent days combing through the bags of souvenirs, printing out pages with names of friends and family on them, in order to sort the goodies for each. My living room floor is now covered with half-packed boxes waiting to find their way to Ohio and Pennsylvania. We ordered wine and Ouzo which has found its way here from Greece and Florence and now waits for me to figure out how to get it to other states. I spent a week doing laundry, washing and folding and putting it all away. We took a pile of shirts and skirts and suits to the dry cleaner and await its return.

And then there are the memories. The pictures, the thoughts, the words. I took notes on a scrap of paper on the ship, after we spent a day in Rome with a tour guide. I was trying to soak up his stories, to be able to remember every little detail of what he said. I even did it while looking at the pictures, putting the numbers of each picture with the note. I have yet to go back and make sense of my notes, but I will.

I am proud to say that I made a point to take a picture of Rob or Brooklyn, or both, or have someone take a picture of all of us (or let Rob touch my camera and take a picture of me and B) in every place we stopped. Brooklyn has quite the album to show her friends, pictures of her in front of the Eiffel Tower, the L'Arc de Triomphe, the Parthenon, Big Ben, the Tower Bridge... an the list goes on. I sat down one night and spent a few hours going through the pictures to print hers for her, and still only got to Florence.

I averaged about 250 pictures a day, depending on where we were. More in Paris, less in Barcelona. But I got them. These days, I'm spending minutes and hours uploading them all to Snapfish, where I will then comb through them to decide what to print. At this point, I think I need to print them all and then sort them when they are in-hand. Much easier than looking at a one inch square "thumbnail," I think.

Did I do better this time? That remains to be seen. I'm still trying to clean up the "mess" from the last trip, having run out of room in the albums I bought and only just yesterday discovering the new manufacturer of those albums in order to order another. (Thanks to my scrapbooking friends who shared the info!) I think I did a better job of taking more pictures of us, and not so many of places or things (our trip to the Vatican aside.) Then again, people get frustrated when you ask them to pose alot, so I found myself taking 1 or 2 pics of the people and 10 or 12 of the place, and it'll all come together in the books. I hope.

I am still working on the story. I started to type it out, using my notes from the trip (I took little index cards with me and tried to write at the end of each day - I made it to about Florence, or maybe Naples or Monte Carlo.) There were certainly memorable moments to capture, such as how a piece of Mom and Dad's luggage went to Boston instead of Paris, or how the hotel we were booked into in Paris had a flood and no air conditioning and had to move us to a different hotel (which ended up being on the Champs E'lysee.) There were Brooklyn's escapades on the ship- her tantrums, her nap at the dinner table, and her dancing with her daddy in her formal gown. There were the drinks on the ship at 5 or 6 pm, complete with a plate of nachos, watching whatever city we happened to be in drift away in the waning sunlight. I must capture those memories soon, before they too fade. So what am I doing sitting here, typing this?

O.k., back to reality and my notes. I promise myself that I'm going to get the notes of the trip down... soon. And if I don't, maybe I'll borrow Phil's. He was a little better about it than I was, and rumor has it that he has 2 or 3 pages of notes. Then again, they had a bit of a different trip than we did, theirs not being completely ruled by the presence of a little princess. So we'll see. In the meantime, I've got to go order the pictures, since I already ordered the albums.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Memories and pictures

I should be getting ready for bed. I just finished my pre-housecleaning clean (she is coming tomorrow, so I have to try to put everything away.) My back hurts, I'm tired and I have to go to work tomorrow. I should go to bed. Instead, I'm on the internet, go figure.

While enjoying my weekly trip into decadence with the Desparate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, I sat on the floor trying to put thousands (yes, thousands) of pictures into a photo album (or 2 or 3). They are pictures that I took in 2004 on a family trip to Europe. It was my first trip "across the pond," and I was bound and determined to soak it up and to relish every second. We spent several days in London before getting onto a ship and hitting Bilbao Spain, Bordeaux France, Ireland, Scotland, Brugge and Amsterdam, to name a few. We were on Omaha Beach in Normandy the day after the 60th anniversary of D-Day. After the cruise, Rob and I spent 3 days in Paris. And I soaked it up. I dragged him from tourist spot to tourist spot, even if he had seen it several times before. I bought guidebooks. I bought postcards. And I took pictures. Pictures. And More pictures.

Unfortunately, those pictures have sat in boxes, right next to the boxes of paper and stickers and guidebooks for almost 5 years. It is only now, on the eve of possibly taking another such "once-in-a-lifetime" trip to another part of the world, that I am putting those photos into an album. Someday I want to scrapbook them, adding words-my memories- of the trip, of advertures, of our laughter. If I can remember it. And therein lies the rub. While putting the photograhs into the most basic of album pages, I am struggling to remember why I took the pictures. Building after building after building, and I can't remember why I thought it was important.

I think I was trying to capture the trip. I think I believed that if I just had pictures, I would never forget the trip. I wonder now, as I look at some of the pictures and can't remember why I took them, if I missed something, in trying so hard to capture everything. There aren't alot of pictures of the family that went on the trip. In looking back, I find that very sad. Four days in Paris with Rob, and I think there are 3 pictures (of hundreds) of the two of us together. There are a few more that we took of each other. In retrospect, I can't help but wonder if I missed something. Sure, I've got some beautiful shots of Versaille, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and a host of other places. But twenty years from now, how will those pictures help me remember who I was there with? How will those pictures tell the story of Grandma Trudy (then 80 years and still going strong) and Aunt Eunice right there with us, at every port, for every step? How will we remember Grandma holding a pint of Guiness in Dublin (o.k., I do have a picture of that!), or the afternoon we spent in a pub in Falmouth, drinking and telling stories and just laughing.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of the marble and mortar, that I can tell even a tiny piece of the story that was the trip, the story of the people. Yes, we visited some amazing places, but will we remember that we hit a fast food restaurant in almost every city we saw? The horror on the guide's face in Bordeaux when we chose McDonalds over the little cafe that she was leading us to. How do you capture that? (o.k., I think I took a few pictures of the fast food joints too.) I think I took notes somewhere. I think I tried to write things down, so that I could remember the adventures. I hope that I can reconstruct some of it.

And I hope that I will have learned my lesson. This summer, I will probably have the opportunity to see more cities, to tour more of the world, that I once only dreamed of. I will make the trip with a bigger and better camera... and a three year old. Will I take hundreds of pictures of the Coliseum, David and the Vatican, or will I try to capture a smile on B's face as she plays in the pool? Well, maybe a little of both. But maybe this time I'll be able to catch myself. Maybe this time I'll be able to put down the camera once in awhile and soak it up, without trying to capture it. Maybe I can try to commit just a little more of it to my memory.

Then again, ... it is a really great camera, and a once-in-a-lifetime trip... So this time, maybe more pictures of the people and just put the place in the background. Here's hoping.

Friday, January 30, 2009


You blink and a month of the new year is gone. yikes.

I was thinking over the past few days about choices. Choices we make, paths of life that we choose and where those paths lead us. Part of the reason I have been thinking about this is because I have been going through my old journals trying to write my book. (Well, one of them at least.) Don't worry, names will be changed to protect the innocent (or criminal). I have been thinking alot of where my choices have led me and where different choices might have taken me.

It's kind of like that movie Sliding Doors (no, I haven't seen it, but I understand the concept.) You catch your train and your life goes one way, you miss your train and take another, and your life is completely different.

On the surface, my life is good. A friend who will see her 35th birthday before I see mine recently told me that she hated me. This revelation apparently came to her after seeing my family photo, or one of the pictures of Brooklyn smiling and laughing and just being her cute little self. This friend commented that she'd be happy with a guy who was semi-normal, not incredibly horrible to look at, and appropriately aged who would just ask her out on a date. To her, my success is measured by my husband and my family.

Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence (or as Irma Bombeck used to say, on the other side of the septic tank.) That particular friend envies my home life, whereas I (or other of my married friends) might envy, and to some extent even miss, the footloose and fancy free lifestyle of being single. (Or at least, we miss the lifestyle of having our own space and not tripping over toys every 2 feet.)

So what were my choices? Well, if I go back to high school, I suppose I could scrutinize several choices that might have affected my life's outcome and brought me to where I am right now. I went through high school and college with the single-minded goal of law school, and my choices reflected that, for the most part. For example, my senior year of high school, despite massive protestations from "Del," I quite the high school band. I packed up my trumpet, relegated it to my closet and moved on. A choice. One that I made then without much thought to the future or to what my trumpet might get me. These days, when I go out to see a punk band play, that has a horn section, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had kept playing, auditioning for a band or an orchestra somewhere. Would I be on a stage right now? Would I be travelling the world?

Another choice- singing. I sang in the school choir, and I liked it, and I think I was pretty good. But it was never something I saw as a vehicle to carry me into the future. I saw it as a way to pass time and have a little fun. As I look back now, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I had continued to sing into college, or taken voice lessons. Especially these days in the glow of American Idol, I can't help but wonder whether I would have cut a record or be singing to packed houses. (Odds are, I would not, but it's fun to wonder, right?)

A favorite "what if" for me has been basketball. I loved to play. I played in high school and for 2 years of college. A bum knee sidelined me for part of a season and after that, I felt hopeless (there were other factors at play) in continuing to strive for playing time. So I gave it up. I can't help but wonder what would have come of my sticking to it? At the time, I saw basketball as a way to stay in shape and to stay competitive. I loved to play and as long as I could still play at a certain level, I did. But when that got taken away (a la' my injuries), I was still focused on the law school finish line, and so basketball simply fell away. Even today I still miss that time of my life. Would I have gone pro? Would I have toured Europe with a team there? Could I have cut it playing in the big leagues? Who knows. Again, fun to wonder sometimes, but these are the choices we make.

I could go on with various choices, things that I chose to do (or not do) because of money (or a lack of it), places that I opted not to go, trips that I convinced myself I could not afford to take. I would not say that these things are regrets. I look at my life today and I love what I have, and I love my life and my family. When I wonder about the swinging doors in my life, my choices, I think that if I had made a different choice anywhere along the line, I might not have what I do today. I know for a fact that if I had not chucked it all, packed my car and moved to LA, I would not have met my husband in law school and I would not have my little girl. The rest of the stuff is a throw-away if you consider that choice as being fundamental. And there have been choices since the move. I could have pursued a career in federal law enforcement. I tested for the FBI and Secret Service. But both of those programs had pretty strict re-location policies, that are difficult if you have a family tagging along. Yes, I think about how that might have been, jogging along side a limo going down Pennsylvania Avenue, but what about the family that I would not be able to have.

I'm not sure there is a point here, and I know there is not an answer. Sometimes it is fun to consider what might have been or things that might have become, but I guess in the grand scheme of things, we have to live in the "now." I can long for the bygone days, friendships, places that I've been, or I can look forward to what's coming next, the places that I will go, the friends I have now, the friends I have yet to meet. Ultimately, that makes for a much more satisfying journey.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

About two weeks ago, I starting thinking about resolutions. Why do people make them, what they usually make them for, and whether or not they do any good. Lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, quit drinking, be nicer to our fellow man, drive slower, eat better, spend more timeetc., etc., etc. We all have these thoughts of grandeur that usually wither out around January 15th or so. If we're lucky, they may last through Easter. So I started to think about resolutions, like I do every year around Thanksgiving, wondering if there was something I could do differently or better, or maybe there was something that I've always wanted to do, but could never seem to find the time. Maybe my resolution could be to make the time.

So what do I want to do with my life? You might laugh at that question and wonder what else there is for me to do. I have an education, a good career, a nice house, a great family, what more could I want. That's enough to keep me busy, right? Well, back in the day, I did quite a bit to keep me busy. Music, sports, school, art, writing, boys (of course!). I was always up to something. These days, although Brooklyn is enough to keep me busy nonstop, there are still things I'd like to do. Someday, I'd like to open a bakery. Someday, I'd like to open up a shop and sell my handmade cards. Someday, I'd like to open up a volleyball club. Someday I'd like to write a book, or two or three. (Someday, I'd like to play pro beach volleyball, but I know that's probably a little bit beyond me these days.)

The bakery, the card shop and the volleyball club are probably a little out of my reach, until I find someone who can invest and give me start-up capital. So I'm left with the "do-it-yourself" kind of projects. Writing. You don't need investors to do that, not really a lot of start-up capital needed. I guess in order to write a book, you have to have patience. And determination. I have those things, I just tend to get sidetracked- by Brooklyn, by the job, by life. And then there are those pesky little things like actually sitting down to write and what to write about, and then there's the editing.

I've heard that you should write what you know. Fiction or non-fiction, you write what you know. Then I heard somewhere else that if you want to write a book, you should sit down and write a page a day. Doesn't matter what you write about, just make sure you write a page a day. In one of those "how to" books, it says not to edit until you are all done. (That's just one of my issues, that I keep going back over what I have written, trying to edit it all of the time.)

So, in thinking about all of this, I decided that my New Year's Resolution was going to be to sit down and actually write my book. (On a side note, I have two friends that have actually finished books and I am completely in awe of their drive and ability to do it.) I have a ton of ideas. I have journals and notebooks full of ideas, I have lots of things to write about. I just need to nail my backside to a chair once a day and write... something... anything. (I even thought about keeping a diary or journal and just writing something everyday, whether or not it all following the same topic.)

I resolved to do it. I was going to pick one of my topics, I was going to write a book. I had my New Year's Resolution, I was ready to go. As the year dwindled to a close, I thought about it, I planned it out. Was I going to use the laptop and type on the living room couch, watching t.v.? Was I going to use the desktop and close the world out for an hour a day? How was I going to do it, where was I going to do it? I figured those things would come to me as I put fingers to keys. The year was coming to a close, and I was ready.

At some point on New Year's Eve, I remembered my resolution. I remembered my big plans, my dream of putting my thoughts down and making something of them. Then I went back to chasing Brooklyn around, trying to get her down to nap, then getting ready for our dinner out. As we sat through a steak dinner and then danced around and had a few drinks with friends, resolutions were the farthest thing from my mind. As we drove home with a sleeping baby girl, I never once considered my book. After we convinced her that 1:30 a.m. was not a good time to play in her playroom, and looking forward to sleeping in, the last thing I wanted to do was think, about anything.

And so, New Year's Eve rolled into New Year's Day, and 2009 began. No worries, right? It was the first. Plenty of time to sit down and write something. At least 12 whole hours of being awake, time to write something. Then the Rose Bowl Parade was on, then we went out for lunch and a few errands. (Target, anyone?). Then the Rose Bowl Game was on. We tried to get B to nap somewhere in there too. Then I finished wrapping up the last of the holiday gifts and boxing them up. Then I got started on dinner. Then we played with B, then we put her to bed, then I watched a few back episodes of Without a Trace, and then... and then... and then... and then I went to bed. And fell asleep. And had completely random and weird dreams, the stuff that movies- or novels are made of. And then it was the 2nd. And then I realized that I hadn't written a thing down yesterday. Not a darn thing.

Ah well. Realization sets in. The resolution is out the window, and it took less than 24 hours. So much for the resolutions. But, as with things like resolutions, there are no "real" rules. There's nothing that says that if I fall down, I can't get back up and try again. There's nothing that says that because I failed once, I can't try again. So I shall try. I will endeavor once more to actually sit down and write something, just a little something, even night. Maybe when I'm done, I'll get lucky and someone else will actually want to read it. Maybe when I'm done, I'll get lucky and find an agent who might want to sell it for me. Maybe. Oooh. Maybe, I could sell my book, and then use the money I make as my start-up money for my card shop or bakery or volleyball club. Ooooooh.

Well, it's good to dream. Dreams are what life is made of, I suppose. And we all have to start somewhere. Even if it's somewhere as small and simple as writing a little bit each day. So you'll have to excuse me, while I go write something down.