Birthday!

My birthday is coming up!

Last year I hosted a Bohemian Rhapsody themed birthday party at the premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic.

Two years before that, I hosted a pirate’s pub crawl in Campbell with my friends.

All very fun.

This year, I’m going to my aunt and uncle’s house in Castro Valley to celebrate a late Halloween party.

I’m dressing up as a Lizzo-inspired performer.

Quite frankly, that’s as close as I can get to that bad ass bitch.

I’m excited, however.

Getting another year older is NBD.

It’s a luxury denied to many so I remind myself as I start to feel my creaking knees and spot gray hair on my head that I should be thrilled.

Lord knows that but for the grace of God, or the unraveling of the universe, I might not be where I am today.

Celebrating my birthday with family and friends.

I plan to celebrate my birthday for as long as I can and see as many friends and family as possible.

It’s just a BONUS that there’s costumes involved.

Woot!

The Silver Lining

There’s always a silver lining, or so they say.

It seems unspeakably wrong to have anything good come out of an active shooter situation.

The tragic loss of life and the incredible suffering of those affected by the horror of the shootings at the Garlic Festival far outweigh any positive outcome I could mention.

But I’ll mention it anyway.

People have come out of the woodwork to tell me how much they love me.

Just today, I got a video chat from my friend Michelle telling me how much she loves me and how glad she is that I’m safe.

My boys hugged me like they haven’t seen me in years.

I got calls from longtime friends asking how I’m doing and do I need to talk.

Nadine took me out to dinner Wednesday night.

It was the first time I’d seen her since the shooting.

I hugged her like time would never end.

Barbara called me up in tears, so worried that I came that close to an active shooter.

Everyone is so thankful that the new guy and I left early and weren’t there for the shooting.

It’s enough to make a grown woman cry.

And I did.

In the wake of the shooting (and The Swede’s engagement), I find myself comfortably cocooned in the love and affection of my friends and family, making a difficult week somewhat bearable.

Out of necessity, I think we all inhabit a place where life is less tentative and fragile than it is, until something happens to shock us out of our fog and make us aware that life is fleeting.

I’m living in that space right now.

Our capacity for causing pain is enormous.

All you need to do is read the headline news.

But it is surpassed by our ability to love, help, comfort and provide joy.

In the end, once I’ve moved through this painful place, that is what I’ll take away.

Family

Saturday, I got a little bit tipsy and declared my love for my birth family in EPIC form – with a tear-filled statement I made at my aunt’s barbecue.

As it happened, I was listening to my sister-in-law talk and she was so funny, I just felt overwhelmingly grateful for her and for my whole family who showed up to barbecue with me.

They have my heart, you know.

No, they’re not perfect.

Yes, there’s sometimes conflicts that need to get resolved.

But overall, these people who are my blood relatives?

Well, I’m thankful they’re in my life.

My aunt spent two days prepping and cleaning up for the barbecue at her place and was kind enough to host me.

After the barbecue, I spent the next day at my birth mother’s 60th birthday party where a HUGE group of family and friends showed up to fete her in all her glory.

No one is as funny, kind, and loving as my birth mother and I attribute all of my sweetness and some of my sassiness to her.

I am blessed a million times over to have such wonderful people in my family and I’m so glad I got to spend an entire weekend celebrating them.

Party time!

Lately, I’ve been so busy I’ve missed out on some awesome family parties.

My aunt joked that if she wanted me to come to one of her parties, she’d need to make me a hostess with her.

And that’s exactly what she’s done.

My aunt and I are throwing a backyard BBQ summer party in June.

It’s going to be so. much. fun.

The last time we did this was nearly two decades ago and my great-grandmother let us use her home for the party.

What fun we had!

There was a silly string war.

And awesome baby back ribs.

I don’t get to see my birth family as much as I should so I’m dedicating an entire weekend to hanging with my blood.

First, I’ll have my BBQ with my birth father’s side of the family, then a 60th birthday party for my birth mom.

I’m really looking forward to it.

And just because my aunt is the family photographer, here are a couple of pics from previous parties:

Boom!

I heard from The Swede!

Yes, it’s been weeks since we communicated and I was getting used to the silence when all of a sudden, WHAM!

He messaged me.

As it turns out, since Sweden is 9 hours ahead of California time-wise, it was Valentine’s Day in Sweden and so The Swede wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Bold move, considering I posted for almost a week about how much I “hate” this holiday.

Truth is I don’t HATE this holiday, I HATE being single for this holiday.

It’s just another reminder that I am alone and unloved by a partner.

Great.  Just great.

I need a reminder of this like I need another hole in my head.

But they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So I’m making the best of my situation and hanging with my family.

Honestly, time spent with loved ones is what this holiday should be all about – just like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So I’m setting my supreme bitterness aside.

Despite the fact that smug coupled up people are posting right and left on Facebook to declare their undying love for their partners.

Really?

Must you?

You know what I want to post to Facebook?

Wanna know what I’m doing for Valentine’s Day?

Whatever I want.  I’m single!

Boom!

Heaven

A small detail you may not know about me:

I live with my blind father.

He lost his eyesight maybe 10 years ago and requires a lot of help and assistance – for meals, activities, house chores, etc.

Needless to say, my mom bears the brunt of most of the work, but I help out where I can.

But it’s A LOT of work.

So last weekend, my sister and I flew my mom to Reno (where my sister lives) for a weekend away.

We were also celebrating my mom’s 75th birthday!

We slept in.  Helped with setting up some furniture for my son (who will be attending UNR in the fall and living with my sister), had an awesome meal at a lovely restaurant, and just generally relaxed.

It was heaven!

One thing we did, which we LOVE to do, was paint pottery.

I still have pottery I made in grade school during Mr. Fairman’s art class – a mug with a big bulbous nose which holds pens for me.

Here are the pieces we painted:

Honestly, I had a wonderful time.

And considering that I left Reno to host 10 events in 10 days at work, I needed the R&R.

I had a great time with my mom and my sister.

I think too often I take their presence in my life for granted and it was nice to slow down a bit and focus on them for a weekend.

One happy momma

I GOT A LETTER FROM DUNCAN!

Yes I did!

In it, he admitted that the first two days were hard – very little sleep and lots of travel and work.

Hence the crap photo of him looking all forlorn and unhappy.

That did not sit well with me.

I’ve been wondering how he’s doing and I’m happy to report he’s doing okay.

He’s made friends and it sounds like he’s having fun, even if he is working hard every day.

This from a kid who is used to sleeping until 2 pm. . .

I’ve been advised that the “currency” that is used in boot camp is mint lozenges.

They’re the only thing allowed by leadership.

So guess what I did?

I went out and bought like a BILLION mint lozenges for Duncan.

The problem is, I can’t send them to him yet.

I STILL don’t have an address for the shipment.

But when he gives it to me, for sure I will be packing and sending him a care package with everything he could possible DREAM of needing at Boot Camp – shampoo, body wash, mint lozenges, candy bars, and family pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I’m DYING to see what he looks like now with his head shaved.

And in uniform.

You know us ladies love a man in uniform.

PARENTING ACHIEVEMENT REALIZED!

Have I mentioned recently how lucky I am to be a mom to my two boys?

I can’t express enough gratitude for being chosen to be their mother.

My eldest, Duncan, is now working and joined the Army National Guard to be in the Military Police.

Of course, he hopes to get a career in law enforcement, just like his father.

My youngest, just got accepted into UNR and will be attending in the fall and studying the field of biology.

He hopes to make a career as a veterinarian or a nurse.

Now, the thing you must know about having teenage boys is that even though they are less work than girls, with less mood swings, and outbursts, they’re also fiercely independent.

I’m constantly texting them asking where they are and who they are with.

I barely see them.

If it wasn’t for the fact that they need food to survive, I could go days without seeing them.

So, all this is just a BIG excuse for me to post this photo of us:

They came into my room while I was lounging on my bed – Duncan on the right and Gavin on the left, and they stayed there long enough for me to snap the photo.

Fuck yeah!

PARENTING ACHIEVEMENT REALIZED!