Empty nest

This weekend I drove down to Paso Robles with my mom to see my son off to college.

I’ll be honest, I got weepy.

I had to hug him and squeeze him and kiss him before I left.

It’s hard to feel too sad about the change however, because he has landed in a pretty cushy situation.

He is living in a 250+ square foot bedroom in a villa in Paso Robles.

The place had TWO hot tubs – one on the ground floor and one on the second level.

Yup.

The ENTIRE house has vaulted ceilings.

There’s even an ELEVATOR in the house.

And a wine cellar, which is ACTUALLY a wine cellar not just a closet, down in the ground, through a wrought iron door and down a flight of stairs.

Huh.

He’s 18 years old and his bedroom is twice the size of mine.

He’s living in a 3.2 million dollar villa in Paso.

And he’s got sweeping views of the vineyards surrounding the house.

The kid is 1 years old and already he’s more successful than me.

Go figure!

Burned!

My sister-cousin Jennifer is a HUGE 49er fan.

Their biggest fan, I think.

A true 49er faithful.

This past weekend she took me to their open practice at Levi’s Stadium.

And that’s when IT happened.

I wore a pair of jeans that had a TINY hole in the inner thigh.

Can you see where this is going?

Well, in the course of walking half a mile from the parking lot to our seats in the stadium, I managed to rip that hole WIDE OPEN.

It wasn’t visible to the general public, so at first I wasn’t worried about it at all.

But that changed.

You see the jeans material from my other leg RUBBED on the bare inner thigh of my exposed leg, giving me a friction burn.

Oh the pain of having no inner thigh gap.

But I digress.

So, we walked to and from the stadium and all around the stadium and I literally ripped skin off my inner thigh with EVERY STEP.

I was in a great deal of pain.

When I got home I RIPPED my jeans off of me and threw them on a ball on the floor.

Ever since then I’ve been coating my thigh burn with gun oil lube (to minimize friction) and Desitin (yes, butt paste for babies).

It still fucking hurts!

The worst part is that I had a flirtation that night and I was off my game on account of ALL THE LIQUID WEEPING OUT OF MY FRICTION BURN.

Yeah, it was pretty gross.

I did not feel sexy AT ALL.

On the bright side, I got to see our 49er boys practice football, AND I got to hang out with Jennifer, who I hadn’t seen in MONTHS!

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my baby

I have been pregnant 6 times.

The fifth pregnancy resulted in this OUTSTANDING human being whom I love very much:

It’s not all that often that I talk about my youngest child.

He is by far the sweetest, sassiest, most sensitive of my boys and I’m so lucky I get to be his mom.

Happy 16th birthday Gavin!

Now learn to drive!

Genetics, apples and trees

For a long time, my genetic background remained a mystery.

I was adopted.

I always felt like my parents were my parents but I never felt like I could claim their background as my own.

My father is Lebanese after all and I am the least middle eastern looking “Lebanese” woman you will ever meet.

My mom is also dark skinned with dark eyes and brown hair.

Then, when I was 22, I met Paul and Sherri, my birth parents.

And the mystery was somewhat solved.

I was Nordic and Scottish with a little Portuguese thrown in.

Mystery solved, right?

Not when you’re a geneticist by training.

I needed to know more.

So I sent my DNA sample (aka spit) to 23andme.com and they came back and told me the same basic information.

Northwestern European, British Isles, and Portuguese.

It seems no one could pin point my genetic makeup past Northwestern Europe – Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Then lo and behold, a FACEBOOK quiz was created which analyzes your face to tell you where you are from.

Highly scientific, I am sure.

So I run the test (and probably offer over a buttload of personal data as well) and here is my result:

There is a 95% likelihood that I am Swedish.

Ha!

I had to laugh at that.

Then I had to post it to my Facebook page and tag The Swede.

Just because I know he’d get a kick out of it.

Travels 9,000 miles and meets a Swedish American.

Oh, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree now, does it?

Induction, birth and my “baby”

Eighteen years ago today, I found out that my amniotic fluid was not replenishing itself and my baby was at risk.

I was rushed to the hospital for an induced birth at 8 months gestation.

The induction worked great because 45 minutes later, I’d given birth to a 7 pound 12 ounce baby boy who we named Duncan.

Yeah, it was a WILD ride, let me tell you!

Today, Duncan turns 18 years old and I am THRILLED to see him launch himself into the world.

He’s not only survived low amniotic fluid, he’s also survived snorkeling with speedboats, getting stuck in a banyan tree, and numerous broken bones requiring surgery and pins.

HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY DUNCAN! I LOVE YOU AND AM SO PROUD OF YOU!

Mom to the rescue

So there I am, relaxing on Waikiki Beach, getting my sun on when all of a sudden my sister hollers for me.

“MICHELLE!”

I turn to look at her.

She’s reclining in the shade of a banyan tree, avoiding the sun, which is exactly what I SHOULD be doing but AM NOT.

“WHAT?” I yell back.

She points to the banyan tree.

Standing in the banyan tree, about 15 feet up in the air, is my son Duncan.

He’s gone and gotten himself STUCK UP A TREE IN HAWAII.

I snickered.

Time to rescue my almost-18-year-old son who thinks he’s so grown up.

This is not the first time I’ve saved his butt.

There was that time he went snorkeling among speedboats in Tahoe.

And pretty much his ENTIRE childhood I spent keeping him on a leash because he liked to walk into traffic.

So this was nothing new to me.

“Please don’t break anything,” I said to him when I got close.

We walked over to the side of the tree he had climbed up and he proceeded to jump down and. . .well, see for yourself.

Just so you know, no matter how grown up they are, they still need a mother.

Speedboats and oblivious teenagers

Duncan

The thing is you can be on vacation with your 15 and 17 year old sons in Reno, Nevada visiting your sister.

And maybe you decide to go to Donner Lake for a little R & R.

So you get set up on the beach – towels, sunblock, food, 48 oz can of PBR. . .

And everyone rushes into the water to play while you sun yourself on the beach.

And lo and behold, an hour passes and everyone is still out in the water.

So you look, and your sister is waving her hands frantically.

BECAUSE YOUR 17 YEAR OLD SON IS SNORKELING OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SPEEDBOATS.

And the current is too strong for her to reach him.

INSTANT ANXIETY ATTACK!

But there’s no time to freak out.

So you get yourself up and swim out to your sister, who is floating in an inflatable inner tube with another empty inner tube attached to it.

EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD NO INTENTION OF GETTING WET!

And you slip into the empty inner tube and DRAG your sister, who is tired from swimming for the last hour, out INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE SPEED BOATS WHERE YOUR SON IS OBLIVIOUSLY LOOKING FOR GO PRO CAMERAS ON THE BOTTOM OF THE LAKE WITH A SNORKEL AND MASK.

Maybe you asked him to come in with you.

Maybe you begged.

Maybe you even BRIBED HIM BY OFFERING TO BUY HIM HIS OWN GO PRO.

Then you started yelling.

After all, you’re floating IN THE MIDDLE OF SPEEDBOATS trying to convince your son what he’s doing is dangerous – head down in the water, no flotation device, a tiny body in a sea of water and waves. Practically invisible to drunk, vacationing boaters.

And that’s when he says it.

“When I’m 18 I can do whatever I want and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

And that’s when you realize that he’s still very young for his age. Physically 17, mentally 6.

This just goes to show. . . you NEVER stop parenting your kids, no matter how old they get.Duncan

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One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR

photo-5While my sister was visiting, we had the brilliant idea of making margaritas at home.  I decided if we were having margaritas, we also needed to do shots and so I insisted we pick up a bottle of Patron to do shots with.

Now the thing you need to know about my sister and I growing up, is that she was the naughty one but I always got in trouble.  Somehow she always managed to skate free.  I claim that this is because I used to cover for her.  She claims she didn’t get in trouble because she was not naughty.  LIAR!

In any case, Lisa and I were about one deep in margaritas and two deep into shots when my sister asked me for another shot.

Sure thing.  Coming right up.

As I’m pouring it, my mom comes into the kitchen, looks at me and the tequila, and says, “Really Michelle?  Another one?” and walks out.

I’m left standing there feeling reprimanded and indignant.

I follow her.

“Just so you know, it’s for Lisa,” I tell her.

Yes, I was a tattletale.

But I felt a whole lot better and my inner child rejoiced for not being labeled the naughty one.

Just the enabler.

Ha ha!

[What I did after 2 shots of tequila and 2 margaritas is a different post]

Tahoe Trip: The Black Hole

One thing my sister and I do a lot of when I go to visit her is GET TATTOOS.

Another thing we do is GET PIERCINGS.

I can’t tell you how much fun I have in the dark, cramped rooms of seedy tattoo parlors and piercing studios.

My boys joke that every time I go to Reno, I return with a new piercing or tattoo.

And that’s not far from the truth.

This visit, my sister and I went to Black Hole Body Piercing in Reno.

I needed to get my nose piercing tightened.  Exciting stuff.

My sister, however, got her left daith pierced.

piercingsI held my sister’s hand as the technician got ready to poke another hole in her body.

Lisa flinched when the needle went in. . .  and she didn’t stop flinching.

I didn’t envy her the piercing, though I’ve been thinking about getting another pair of piercings in my lobes.

And the end result?

Nothing short of beautiful:

daith peircing

Do me proud

It seems like only yesterday my oldest son was sleeping peacefully in his crib, wearing footie pajamas.

But clearly more time has passed because last week, THIS happened. . .

That’s right, my oldest son Duncan graduated high school as part of the Class of 2017.

It was a real eye opener for me.

The time has clearly flown by. I thought I had forever to raise this little baby into a man and now I blink and he’s turned into someone I’m proud to call my son.

Hard to believe.

It makes me want to go up to parents of young children and tell them, “Cherish this time. It goes by SO FAST.”

Unlike some parents, I do not feel the slightest bit of reluctance to see my baby fly the nest.

Instead, I feel like flinging my arms open wide and urging him to “Go! Spread your wings!”

In other words, “PAY YOUR BILLS!”

Yes folks, I kinda feel happy to pass all those bills from me to him – the telephone, the car insurance, the lunch money, etc.

Maybe I’d feel differently if I had a daughter.

Maybe I’d feel more protective.

I literally handed my son $500 and two boxes of condoms and said, “Adios love bug! Do me proud.”