Taps

This morning I listened to the most beautiful rendition of Taps I have ever heard.

I was at my father’s funeral.

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I wish I could put into words how I feel right now. I have such mixed emotions I wouldn’t even know where to start. All of the events of the last week have left me utterly exhausted, weary down to my bones.

I’ve cried, I’ve accepted, I’ve made my peace, I’ve gotten angry, but I did have my moment to say goodbye, and I’m grateful for that. Listening to that short sweet bit of music today summed up everything for me, it was an amazing moment and I will never forget how that felt.

On a side note, I have to thank my family and friends for their love and support. Those who came to see me, called me, send me texts, emails, and facebook messages, they got me through this weekend. Then there were those who came to the wake yesterday and the funeral today, and those who sent flowers when they couldn’t, well, I just wouldn’t have made it through the day without them. I am truly blessed to have so many dear people in my life, really, I have the best friends in the world.

xoxo Annette

milestones

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary! Fifteen years. I can’t quite wrap my brain around that. It went by much quicker than it sounds. We still like each other. And we both still have all of our hair and teeth. I consider that a success. 😉

This is actually one of the only anniversaries we’ve had that both of us remembered it ahead of time. Usually at least one of us, and on occasion both of us, have forgotten it. One year we got an anniversary card in the mail from my MIL and we both went: huh, our anniversary must be coming up. Except it was that day and we didn’t figure it out until the next day. Duh.

I think anniversaries aren’t that big of a deal to us, because really, it’s every day that’s important, and we both know it.

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This weekend is also my 20th High School Reunion. Yikes! Now that makes me feel old.

We’re having it at a HoJos. No, really.

This is the first time I’ve been able to go to a class reunion. Funny thing, our 5th reunion was the same day I got married. I remember thinking at the time what a great excuse that was not to have to go! For our 10th and 15th I was living in Virginia and couldn’t travel back for them. So I literally haven’t seen most of these people in 20 years.

Other than their Facebook profile pics I have no idea what to expect. And we all know FB pics lie. They’re all photoshopped to make everyone look younger and skinnier than they really are. Except mine. Of course.

Walk MS

I have this amazing friend. Let’s call her “Amy.” Okay, that’s her real name, but whatever. 😉

She is one of those people you see everywhere, usually volunteering for something. She serves on boards and committees, helping out at school, at church, throughout the town. She always delivers the prettiest cookies for the bake sale, and makes a homemade meal for her family every night. She accomplishes more in one day than any other 5 women I know put together.

She the kind of woman you might look at and want to hate because how does she do it all? She makes the rest of us look bad!! But you can’t hate her, because she so darn nice. She will do anything for you, for any one of her circle of friends and family, and most especially for her kids. You have to love her, just because she is Amy.

She is strong, and beautiful, and funny, and always smiling. And she has Multiple Sclerosis.

Since this is MS Awareness Week, it’s a perfect time to let you all know I am participating in Walk MS on April 18 with Amy and the rest of her team and we would really appreciate your support. It’s super easy to donate online. If you want to donate but aren’t comfortable doing it online, send me an email (catnip35@gmail.com) and we’ll work it out.

If you have any questions about Walk MS check their FAQ page.

xo

Annette

the fun and the funny, BlogHer style

I’m going to stick my head in the sand for a bit and ignore some of the strange/bad/crazy a$$ stuff that went down at BlogHer. Especially since everyone else is talking about it – I certainly don’t need to. No, instead, let’s talk about me. Me, and the fact that people(!) you can’t take me anywhere! I truly am the epitome of disaster walking.

Before I even got there I dumped most of my in-flight ginger ale on the poor dude sitting next to me on the plane. Ice and all. I got plenty on myself too. After I said sorry a million times all I could think to say was “at least it’s nice and cool – it doesn’t seem so hot in here now.” Yes, I did say that, and he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. Well, it was hot in there! Oy.

It’s good I had two more hours left to dry off before deplaning. If I hadn’t I would have been walking around O’Hare looking like I’d had an accident. If you know what I mean.

The rest of the day weekend I spent stalking seeing bloggers friends I knew and squealing like a, well, like a girl. Squealing doesn’t quite cover it though. I don’t think Stimey has yet recovered my hug attack. I did get a bit of a reputation for my hugs though, didn’t I Pocklock? 😉 Heh.

Friday just got better. Especially lunch, when I got a piece of dear-god-the-driest-chicken-I’ve-ever-eaten-in-my-life stuck halfway down my throat. Do you know what you shouldn’t do when you have a piece of chicken stuck in your throat? Drink water. Don’t drink the water! Because you will spew it all over the table, your lunch, and quite possibly probably most assuredly down the front of your cute new green shirt.

Since I could actually breath, just not swallow, I waved off all the waiters lining up to give me the Heimlich and ran off to the bathroom to stick my finger down my throat to get the freaking piece of chicken out! (Thank for watching my stuff while I was gone Kelby!) Can you imagine if I’d had the Heimlich 3 weeks after abdominal surgery? Just imagine! I’d be known as the girl who choked on a piece of chicken and then bled to death at BlogHer! I’d be famous infamous. And dead.

Moving on to parties. I went to every party I possibly could. And then spent my time explaining/apologizing for not being able to dance/bowl/eat/drink because of the gallbladder thing. I can’t believe I talked about the stupid gallbladder so much. Yikes. Am boring.

Anyway. The parties. They rocked. I wore princess crowns, and bright pink boas, and ate from chocolate fountains (that I was afraid I would fall into – for real afraid – because you know – past history and all) and didn’t eat a cheeseburger, because of the stupid gallbladder, but I was there. I was there for everything I could stay awake for.

I’m really really glad my friends took pictures since I only snapped like 4 the whole time I was there. This was one of them:

This is Leighannthe best roommate ever – she didn’t mind my junk everywhere or my going to bed late or my tagging along with her to lots of stuff! Or when I spilled yet another drink at BowlHer. Luckily not on her. Love you babe!

I can’t possibly link to everyone I met, and hugged, and loved, loved, loved. I had more fun than I ever imagined I would/could/should have. And I really did go to sessions. Pinky swear.

blogher: really in real life

I once said that BlogHer is what happens in the hallways, and these last few days have only confirmed that. There is nothing like randomly running into someone you only recognize from their avatar or their url and having that instant “OMG I know you!!” ~squee!!~ moment with. And then repeat that moment a hundred times over with a hundred different people. And then do it again the next day with another hundred people.

Imagine sitting there chatting to someone for 20 minutes while you’re taking a break and finally saying, “so what’s you’re twitter name? What?! I totally follow you!” It’s actually quite bizarre, in a good way!

For me, BlogHer is also sitting in a hot, crowded, session surrounded by women typing away on their laptops and iphones, intently listening to freaking fantastic panelists and tearing up because you suddenly realize I have found my people. These are my people.

I know what you’re waiting to hear me say, you want me to talk about cliques and snobbery. Not gonna happen. Because it didn’t happen.

Here’s the truth. I have not met one person who snubbed me. I have not witnessed cliques. And not because I haven’t been in the thick of it. I’ve been all over, met a million people, and had my own fan girl moments and honestly, it’s been amazing. I’ve hugged everyone I can get my hands on, and I’ve been hugged right back.

I’m not going to sit here and name drop so-called “big bloggers” that I had dinner with or who I hung out with at this party or that. You know why; because they don’t see themselves that way and the big blogger rock star crap embarrasses them. They are just women (and a few men) trying to have a good time and not hide in a corner because they’re afraid no one will talk to them, just like the rest of us.

Um, hello, most bloggers blog because they have some form of social anxiety. Lucky for me I don’t really. I’m pretty dang good at introducing myself with no expectations. And you know what always shocks me? When someone knows who I am in return.

Let me also say one thing that BlogHer ISN’T about. Swag. I know. You’ve all heard about swag and wondering what we got. Well yeah, some people got some cool stuff if they happened to be at the right place at the right time. The majority of us got a lot of tote bags, water bottles, some toys for our kids, and strange amounts of laundry detergent handed to us. And you know what? Who cares?! It’s just not about the swag! I would much rather collect friendships thank you very much. I have missed a number of opportunities to get “stuff” in order to hang out and have actual CONVERSATIONS. To each their own, but that’s my take on it and probably the last I will say about the swag.

Anyway, I can’t tell you enough how incredible this experience is. Busy and crazy and fun and crowded and overwhelming at times. What I’ve learned, and what I’ve done, and who I’ve met have imprinted themselves on me. I know now that the way I blog is just fine, because it’s my way. I do it for fun, for an outlet, for me and me alone, and I’m much more secure about that than I ever was before this.

As soon as I get home I need to start saving for BlogHer 2010 – in New York City. I’ve found my people, and it’s fantastic. (And yes I have some funny stories for you, soon!)

eerily alike

I had such a great weekend! Josh got to play with his cousins like crazy and I had a chance to visit and catch up with two of my oldest friends. There is nothing like talking to people who’ve known you forever. It’s always like no time has passed since you were together last.

Funniest part of the weekend: both of my good friends have chickens (this is in Maine people – it’s like normal to have chickens roaming your yard there!) and neither are people I would have expected when we were growing up to ever own chickens and yet they do and both of them gave me fresh eggs! God I love these women. (Growing up they were as opposite as can be – little do they realize how much they now have in common!)

Wouldn’t it be great to have fresh eggs everyday?! I told DH I want CHICKENS!!! aaaand he nipped that idea right in the bud. (I don’t think I would ever actually get any eggs out of it anyway because of George the Mighty Hunter who can kill a bird even with a bell on his collar.) DH may have told me it was white trash to have chickens in the suburbs but he was mostly kidding. (Meaning where WE live of course, NOT where they live!) You don’t think my neighbors would mind a hen wandering over for a visit do you?

Anyway, I made the best crustless quiche ever with some of those eggs, maybe I’ll give you the recipe, maybe I’ll just keep it my little secret! It was so good I may have eaten three quarters of it by myself on Saturday. Just. Maybe. But crustless means fewer calories right?

So here is a photo of me and one of my friends, who came to visit me at my parent’s house. When she comments here she calls herself Cluckers. After her favorite chicken. For real. She pets her chickens like cats. They really are very very soft!

If I wasn’t wearing my glasses and had pulled my hair back (and you haven’t also known me forever) you probably wouldn’t know which one was me. (Hint: I’m always the one wearing black.) Seriously, I look more like her than I do my actual sisters. We’ve been freaking people out for a good 20 years.

I love you girls. And you’ll both always look sixteen in my head. I just can’t help it. xoxo

flashback friday: this makes me giggle!

This week’s Flashback Friday over at My Tiny Kingdom is “This makes me giggle.” I don’t think this song should make me giggle, but it does. Back forever ago, or about 25 years, my best friend Teresa and I were in love with The Monkees. Yep. She had a thing for Mickey and my heart belonged to Davy.

(If you needed to click that link to find out who The Monkees are, well then, you might just be too young to be here!)

We watched the show (in reruns!) faithfully and listed to all of their albums on cassette. We weren’t just “Daydream Believer” fans though, no not us. We loved the weird stuff, “Auntie’s Municipal Court,” “The Porpoise Song,” and this one, “Zor and Zam” from the album and movie Head:

We were like 10 year old, what did we know? We just thought it was funny! Apparently I was anti-war before I knew what anti-war was!

It makes me giggle to remember how much fun we had singing along to these songs, watching those old shows, and plastering my bedroom walls with Teen Beat cutouts!

how fragile we are, part 2

Some of you may remember when I wrote this post. I was in agony, not for myself but for my friends but I didn’t feel it was my place to tell their story.

I think it’s time to share a little bit of what was behind that with you, by sharing their blog. A blog they started after their 9 year old daughter Grace died in an accident in June. A blog to help them share their heartbreak and their healing. A blog to help them start a Foundation in her name to help orphans around the world.

The blog is mostly Bill’s, and I suggest you start at the beginning, but then read Teresa’s guest post, and after that you should read all the posts about their recent trip to Romania, where they originally adopted Grace and her sisters almost 6 years ago.

Can I just say that Teresa and I have been friends for 30 years? 30 years. She was my very first friend and one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met and I love her like my own sister.

After you read their blog, go hug and kiss someone you care about, and tell them you love them.

what a flop

I wrote a post and it was depressing so I deleted it. There’s no funny in me today.

I played poker with some friends last night so I was sure I’d have some stories for you, but man, I sucked. I was exhausted from a week of taking care of chicken pox boy and dealing with work crunch and I just couldn’t concentrate.

Today we’re missing my father’s 75th birthday party. Stupid pox. Bah humbug.

Dang, this post came out depressing too. At least it’s mercifully short.

Anybody got anything fun to talk about? Or at least wanna commiserate?

take me to the river

I know you’re just dying to know what happened! It was more fun than I expected, and totally worth putting myself out there. Although some of the players take themselves much more seriously than I expected! Scary! Anyway, I actually did quite well. Out of 18 people I was 7th. And I don’t mean 7th to go out!!

I also wasn’t the only newbie. That was unexpected and very welcome news. Yay! Not the only clueless one! One fear down!

My only biggest problem of the night was, I had the biggest frigging headache. All day really. Ever have one of those 3 day headaches, that although it doesn’t hurt that bad, it just lasts so long you think your eyeballs are going to explode? Yes? Well, now try learning poker at the tail end of one. ugh.

About the learning, I didn’t find it that difficult to decide what to bet or if I had good cards or not, but I thought the hardest part of the game was when it’s your turn to deal. You have to remember how to do that on top of handling your own cards! I guess I’ll get used to it, but geez, I think my blood pressure spiked 20 points everytime I dealt!

Anyway, by 10:30, my glasses felt like bricks weighing on my face, and I really wanted out of the game. I had pretty good luck so far and way too many chips as far as I was concerned! I kept betting big and calling bluffs and kept freaking winning! At one point I held on to a 3 and a 6 thinking, eh, I’m sure to lose this one. Yeah. I ended the hand with a straight. That just about killed the rest of the table: “why did you play a 3 and a 6?” they said. Hell if I know but it still beat’em. I do admit the highlight of the night was calling the “president’s” bluff and beating her with a pair of 9’s. heh. (She’s the president of the women’s club I’m in.)

By the time I lost all my chips, it was 11:45. I know. I never stay out that late. It was a joy to go home and put my poor head on a cool pillow. I’ll definitely go back again, but probably not every month. I can see myself getting addicted! But next time, I’ll be glad to know what to expect 🙂 And next time, I’ll try harder to get dh to go with me! You hear that? That’s him laughing.

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