Father’s Day and stuff

As we all know, Father’s Day is fast approaching.

I have mixed feelings about Father’s Day mainly because my father basically doesn’t want any acknowledgement of the holiday.

And because he’s a cranky old man.

But even cranky old men deserve a little love and so my sister and I bought him two bottles of 2017 Chateau Kefraya Blanc de Blancs.

Not a huge financial undertaking, just a gesture gift.

Lebanese wine for an old Lebanese man, perfecto!

Plus it’s from the Bekaa Valley which is where my dad hails from so there’s that.

And while we’re on the topic of gifts, I also got my youngest a gift. . . just because:

Parakeet shorts, for my parakeet lover in the family.

Of course, I had to get a matching t-shirt for her as well:

So there you have it – gifts for my loved ones.

All I need is something for my birth father and it’s all taken care of.

Nostalgia

As you all know, I’ve been slowly cleaning my room and going through things I haven’t touched since I got divorced in 2005.

I basically threw things in boxes, stacked the boxes on bookshelves and called it a day.

I’ve come across some lovely old photos in the process, two of which I’ll share here:

Me and friends in 7th grade (circa 1986) – believe it or not, I’m still in touch with seven of them!

One even became my sister-in-law!

Me with friends from my first year of college (circa 1992):

I’ll say this, it was a fun year in the dorms at UCSB.

But the one thing I came across which I was not expecting was a book of photos which I put together for my then-boyfriend Jay.

All the pictures were taken in August of 2008 and capture us at what I think was our happiest together.

What a trip down memory lane.

Camping trips with the kids, beach dates with my dog Mac.

You name it, it’s in there.

Especially PDAs.

However, I was especially touched by how much Mac featured in the album.

Page after page chronicling my affection for my sweet, loving, loyal dog Mac.

And just because I still love that dog more than some people I know, I’m gonna post some wonderful photos which make me smile:

Just in time for Mother’s Day

I made another quilt.

It’s not finished yet, but the top has been pieced together.

It’s a quilt I made using ten inch white fabric squares and fabric markers.

I supplied my nephews with the squares and markers and they designed 12 unique designs to incorporate into the quilt.  Here are two:

I sewed a simple window pane pattern around the squares and I must say, I think the quilt turned out lovely.

It was really simple to do and I followed only the pattern in my head to make it.

Took just a few hours for me to pull together.

Here are the supplies I used:

Ten inch cotton squares (also known as a layer cake):

If you’d like, you can also use five inch cotton squares (also known as a charm pack):

Fabric markers – get the ones with fine point and chisel point tips for drawing lines and filling in space:

Add a little love and magic and voila!

You have yourself a charming quilt.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I might add.

Learning Lesson

It was a crazy week here at Michelle’s house.

I caught my mom cleaning up my 20 year old son’s road rash which he got in a motorcycle accident.

Yeah, every mother’s worst nightmare.

He was riding his motorcycle in a t-shirt with no protective gear and he (admittedly) was about to run a stop sign when he saw a cop up ahead coming toward him.

So he did was any 20 year old young man would do.

He stopped.

Suddenly.

And fell off his bike.

The cop was kind enough to stop, not give my son a ticket, and ask if he needed an ambulance.

My son declined.

My birth family is filled with motorcycle riders.

Nevertheless, I informed him that he must’ve gotten his wild streak from his father’s side of the family because none of my family would do anything like that.

Ahem.

Except for my cousin Jennifer who laughed when I told her it was all my ex-husband’s fault, and was relieved that he wasn’t hurt worse.

So without further adieu, I give you Duncan’s road rash:

Lucky kid!

Family = Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about family A LOT lately.

Being cooped up in a house with 4 other family members will do that to a person.

Things run remarkably smooth, however.

There’s virtually no fussing or fighting.

The most drama I get is from my daughter who is still experiencing teenage angst at 18.

But it’s not as bad as it used to be.

I have nothing but respect for my parents.

They raised three children, from totally unknown DNA stock, and cobbled together a family, despite our differences.

And believe me, they are numerous.

I remember as a child growing up there would be conflict and I’d feel like the world was coming to an end.

But the world did not end.

Instead, we always managed to mend fences.

I was never one to hold a grudge (unless you’re my high school nemesis, lol KIDDING).

Thankfully, I am blessed to live with people who forgive me when I fuck up.

And believe you me, I fuck up royally sometimes.

But most of the time, it’s my dad who is the grouchy yet lovable curmudgeon.

The thing is, the people who mean the most to you are the ones with the ability to hurt you the most.

So forgiveness is necessary if we want to stay a family.

And so far, we’ve done remarkably well.

Sure, I occasionally get the stink eye from my kids for days after a fight.

But it blows over.

Because family = forgiveness.

That’s just how family works.

Diet and exercise

I’ve lost some weight with the help of an app called Lose It!.

But despite my success, it’s become clear to me that I need a more organized approach to weight loss.

My sister, who happens to be a nurse, has had a tremendous amount of success using a program called Optavia.

The Optavia program addresses health issues like hydration, sleep and motion, not just nutrition.

My coach is the greatest.

Not only is she a former Optavia client, she’s a Nurse Practitioner, so I can feel confident that I’m getting the best coaching out there.

I mean, how many people get coaching from a trained nurse, I ask you?

My sister started the program a few months ago and has lost over 50 pounds on this new wellness program.

I find that INSPIRING!

Today, I took all my WATCH measurements (waist, arm, thigh, chest and hips).

For those of you interested, my numbers came out to:

Waist = 43”

Arm = 18”

Thigh = 31”

Chest = 48”

Hips = 50”

As far as my weight goes, I don’t want to disclose that number to anyone except for my coach and perhaps my readers when I get closer to reaching my goal and want to report on my progress.

I’m scheduled to start the program on Monday, May 4th.

Let’s hope I’m as successful as my sister on this program and that I train myself into adopting a much healthier lifestyle.

Wish me luck!

Reservoir Dogs

True story.

Many of us go into labor with a birth plan.

Typically, we hope we can safely deliver our baby with no epidural, managing the pain through breathwork and focus.

I made a CD when I was pregnant with my son Duncan.

I intended to play it during my labor with him.

That plan got blown out the window when it was discovered that two of the four quadrants of fluid in my uterus had no fluid to cushion the baby.

So I had to IMMEDIATELY deliver him.

I was allowed to go home to pick up my things then I had to go DIRECTLY to the hospital.

Which is EXACTLY what I did.

But I forgot my CD.

This was back in the day when there were no iPods or iPhones.

All I had with me was a CD player with ONE CD IN IT and it was the soundtrack to RESERVOIR DOGS.

In case you’re not familiar with this movie, it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie about six strangers hired to carry out a robbery.

You can imagine it’s dark and violent, as most Tarantino movies are.

I made it through my labor pretty easily until the doctor broke my water then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

I immediately requested an epidural.

But it was too late.

So my then-husband played the CD in the CD player and our son Duncan was born while we listened to LITTLE GREEN BAG.

I feel like this detail explains a lot about my eldest son.

He’s a rebel and a fighter.

Also, he’s the kind of kid who will recklessly drive 109 miles an hour on a dark deserted freeway, post it to SnapChat, and scare the daylights out of his mom.

What do you expect.

He was born listening to a Tarantino soundtrack.

One of these things is not like the other

For the first 22 years of my life, my family history was a mystery to me.

I’ve never felt like my parents weren’t my parents, but I did feel like I couldn’t claim their heritage as my heritage on account of they look nothing like me.

Not even a little bit.

My father is Middle Eastern and my mother is Russian and Polish.

One look at my family and the song “one of these things is not like the other” plays.

I always wanted to meet my birth parents because I wanted to know my family history.

My DNA, as it turns out, tells me that I’m Norwegian and Portuguese on one side while the other side is French, German, and British.

Quite the hodge podge of DNA.

I’m about as blond and blue eyed as they get.

Well, I had NO IDEA where the Norwegian came from until I talked to my PATERNAL aunt who reminded me that my birth mom’s father was Norwegian.

What a roundabout way to find out where you came from!

I had a great-grandmother named Engaborg (Ingeborg?) who loved the Lawrence Welk Show and giving sugar eggs for Easter and was actually full-blooded Norwegian.

So, if any of you wonder why I look Nordic but cook Middle Eastern food like a native and can make pierogis and stuffed cabbage like a true Polish mother, it’s because I get to claim ALL OF MY HISTORY NOW.

I think the best part about being an adoptee is getting to be a blend of a little bit of everything from your birthfamily to your adoptive family.

In a way, I feel like the patchwork quilts I make:  a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of love packed into a nice bundle.

Hello little kitty cat

My household is has one cat.

That’s down from the four cats we used to have.

One was stolen, one was eaten by coyotes, and one died from a stroke.

I am a dog person at heart but I appreciate the independence of cats and the occasional camaraderie that they provide.

So I fell in love with this post on reddit:

Aww from aww

Back to my cat.

His name is Callie and he’s about 16 or 17 years old now, so not long for this world although in the scheme of things no one is permanent:

Callie keeps me company while I work from home and I really enjoy leaning over and petting his soft fur every time I need a little break or a pick me up.

Callie and my kid get along famously and if she’s around, Callie will climb into her lap and just sit there waiting for affection:

My kid hates having pictures taken so this is the best picture I was able to get showing Callie and my kid snuggling.

There’s a lot that can be said for holding a purring kitty cat on your lap!

 

Show off

I took piano lessons from the time I was in Pre-school all the way through college.

I was, as you might expect, pretty proficient at it.

I stopped playing piano (and singing in the chorale I belonged to) when my son Douglas died and honestly, I haven’t really given it a thought until recently.

At Burning Man, all sorts of talents are encouraged and I must admit I have some very talented friends who play guitar, sing, dance, spin fire, and so much more.

I’m sad that my skills on the piano have waned in the absence of their use.

Because I think it would be fun to play a song or two for my friends, and possibly even sing along with the music.

There is a more mundane reason why I haven’t played the piano in so long.

I have long nails and they go clickety clickty click on the keys and drive me absolutely bonkers!

But now that we’re in quarantine and I haven’t had my nails worked on in months, they’re all short and therefore TOTALLY CAPABLE OF PLAYING THE PIANO.

I am tempted to go find some sheet music and just DIG INTO IT.

Let’s see how much I can remember, shall we?

It’s ironic, because I don’t think my children have ever heard me play the piano.

That makes me sad.

I should show off.

Just a little.