Old friends are the best friends

The other day I managed to go out with an old friend.

Someone I’ve known for nearly 30 years but haven’t seen in the flesh since 2010.

Seven years!

And I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like an old friend.

You can go years without seeing them or talking to them and then just pick right back up where you left off as if no time has passed.

It’s awesome.

My dear friend, we’ll call him Rob, has had some rough times.

A lot can happen in seven years.

Which is why it was so great to see him and catch up with him.

We talked about difficult topics, like our divorces and our friend who died in 2001.

And we talked about cool things, like our awesome kids and our hobbies.

In the end, I didn’t want to go home.

I just wanted to hang out like we used to in college, playing pool, drinking white Russians (me) and beer over ice (him), and listening to grunge until we passed out.

What I wouldn’t give to live one of those days over again with him and our dear departed friend.

One thing is for sure, old friends carry your story with them and know you like no one else.

Old friends are the best friends.

Lucky baby

“You’re so lucky, Michelle.  And that’s not the booze talking.  That’s me talking.”

My Aunt Xondra was laying in bed at her 50th birthday party, recovering from one too many tequila shots and I was just hanging out with her.

I know I’m one lucky lady.

I have TWO sets of parents.

And THREE sets of siblings.

In my life I’ve been blessed with lots of family.

Xondra, who is quite possibly the sweetest drunk woman I’ve ever known, was just pointing this out to me.

When I tell people I’m a reunited adoptee, usually they ask how my adoptive parents feel about that.

My response is always, “It was hard in the beginning.  But having more people who love you is never a bad thing.”

I see my birth mother about 4 – 6 times a year, but my birth father much less.

If you ask me why I’ll say it’s because he doesn’t seem to take an interest in me.

But this weekend, I got another picture of the three of us and came across a mug in his stash with my name on it along with my brothers’ names.

It was a small thing but felt SO big to me.

It’s as if that mug legitimized me.

And he had pictures of me and my boys around the house.

Like we matter to him and his wife, even though we don’t see each other.

And. . .

He kissed the top of my head when he said goodnight to me.

It was a very fatherly gesture and I got a little choked up.

Maybe, just maybe, he does care.

Happy Mommy

It’s not often that I get to share a moment with either of my sons.

They’re 16 and 18 now and a little “too grown up” for that sort of stuff.

They’re more likely to tease me or jump out and scare me, than they are to share a real moment with me.

But seeing as how I was gone for over a week at Burning Man, I think my youngest son missed me a little bit, because I found him to be awfully snuggly when I returned.

Here is my 6’3″ son leaning his head on me at the dinner table.

It doesn’t matter how old they are, they’re always our baby!

Love you sugar pie!

Wedding Season

I know there’s such a thing as “wedding season.”

When all the brides and grooms decide to take advantage of the pleasant weather and throw a party to celebrate their nuptials.

I LOVE going to weddings, but sadly haven’t attended that many.

Maybe 6 or 7 in my entire lifetime.

That’s not too many considering I’m including my own.

So you can imagine I was THRILLED when I got invited to a friend’s DESTINATION wedding in Yosemite.

What could be better than visiting the sequoias, listening to a rushing river, and watching two people I care about remind me that love is a beautiful thing?

I always feel, if only for a little while, optimistic about my own love prospects.

I am reminded that yes, I actually want something more than flings in my life.

That I’d like to invest my care and concern in another human being.

It all seems so real and possible when I’m at a wedding.

Other people find it.

Why not me?

RIP Wendy

Well, it’s taken me a week to get to the point where I feel ready to blog about it.

My dog Wendy was put to sleep last Friday, May 19th.

I adopted her from the Tri Valley Animal Shelter when she was three years old and she was a TOTAL MESS OF A DOG.

She was crate trained but nothing else.

She was so wild that trainers advised me not to leave my two young boys alone with her.

I didn’t know what I was getting in to. All I knew was that I’d lost my precious Mac a few weeks earlier in a deadly car accident on Highway 80 and I needed to bring a new dog into my life.

Of course, Wendy looked JUST LIKE MAC.

I spent $25 buying Wendy from the shelter and $5000 training her.

The trainers at Cooperhaus Kennels worked wonders with her, to the point that I could recall her with just the sound of my voice.

Over the years, she mellowed but she still maintained a little wild streak.

She never learned how to kiss until the very end, she always wanted to nibble.

Her favorite game was keep away, she never learned to fetch.

On a hot, sunny day in California, Wendy was laid to rest surrounded by her loved ones.

Birds chirped overhead and you could practically see the smile on Wendy’s face as she soaked in all the attention she was getting.

She was so enthralled with all the love bestowed on her, she refused to go to sleep after the vet gave her the sedative.

After waiting patiently for 10 minutes, the vet gave Wendy another shot to make her fall asleep.

Wendy got 10 extra minutes of love due to her stubbornness and her enjoyment of all the attention she was getting.

With two shots of sedative in her Wendy fell fast asleep.

And then the last shot was administered which stopped her fierce, beating heart.

Losing Wendy was difficult.

My dogs have always been an extension of the son I lost to cancer in 1998.

Their presence in my life symbolizes hope, unconditional love, and the bond between a parent and a “child.”

I have been blessed as Wendy’s caretaker, to have been given nearly 9 years with this AMAZING dog and I will hold onto all the precious memories I have of her.

I love you Wendy.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is coming up and I am lucky enough to have two mothers.

Sherri, who gave birth to me, and Alice, who raised me.

For years while I was growing up, I would think of my birthmom on Mother’s Day and wonder if she was thinking of me as well.

And she was.

There are other important women in my life who I celebrate on Mother’s Day.

My Grandma is 94 years old.

I remember her cooking special meals for me when I visited her in Pennsylvania – pierogis, meatloaf, anise cookies, and piggies (stuffed cabbage).

Her recipes will always be my comfort food.

I also think of my sister, Lisa, on Mother’s Day.

Although she only has fur babies, she is the closest thing my boys have to a second mother and her role in our family is very important.

Also, there’s my Aunt Stacey, my cousin Jennifer, and my niece Bella, who I love and admire greatly. They are real warrior princesses and I’ll love them forever for accepting me into the family when times were rough.

Finally, I think of Barbara, my dear friend.

Her mother has passed away and so my heart goes out to her on Mother’s Day when I know she acutely feels the loss of her mom.

Of course, it’s impossible to think about Mother’s Day without thinking about the two young men who made me a mother in the first place – my sons Duncan and Gavin.

What incredible young men they are growing up to be and I find myself in awe of their spirit and zest for life.

They are, by far, the best things to ever happen to me and I thank the universe on a daily basis for allowing me to be their mother.

So on this Mother’s Day, I’m sending out my love to all the mother’s out there and all their beautiful children.

That includes YOU!

Mac

Some of you know the story of Mac, the incredible white German shepherd my ex-husband rescued for me when we lost our oldest son to cancer.

That dog brought me back to life and saved me when I was at my lowest, deepest point of suffering.

Mac died when he fell out my truck window onto Highway 80 when the boys and I were coming home from a camping trip.

I remember watching him fall in my rearview mirror and also seeing my 60 pound, 7 year old son desperately trying to hold on to him.

I thought that perhaps my son was falling out the window too.

You can’t imagine the horror I experienced.

My son stayed safely in the car but sadly, Mac was killed while getting off the freeway (10 years to the day after my oldest son died).

We’d just finished up a LOVELY vacation at the Yuba River with my Uncle Donald, Aunt Stacey, and my cousins Jennifer, Travis, Bella, Matt, and Nick.

It was amazing.

Today, I was reminded that when it was my turn to swing on the rope and fall 8 feet into the water, I was chicken.

I didn’t want to jump.

And Mac stood by my side and waited with me while I worked up the courage. . .

And JUMPED!

And only after I jumped did he follow suit and jump in with me.

He was an amazing dog.

And I feel lucky that I somehow managed to take this picture of him THE VERY MORNING OF THE DAY HE DIED.

The last picture I ever took of him.

And I’d like to think that in the afterlife, he is playing in the water, in the sun, surrounded by family.

I love you Mac.  You are not forgotten!

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Toilets and Love

My sister tagged me in a Facebook post calling me “the eternal love optimist.”

Along with that sentiment came her “two cents” on the topic.

diarrheaLove is the best feeling.

But finding a toilet when you have diarrhea is better.

Hmmmm.

Perhaps in the moment.

I remember one time my ex-husband had the trots and we were LITERALLY A BLOCK from our house when he made me pull over so he could use the bathroom at McDonalds.

A BLOCK!

I’m sure at that time I held little value for him where as the toilet was a thing of beauty.

If I remember correctly, I think I was laughing a little bit at his plight.

Or at least trying not to laugh and failing miserably.

Let’s face it, the superiority of love over toilets doesn’t need to be proven.

It’s just a fact.

Toilets can’t love you back.

They can’t keep you warm in bed.

And they can’t hug you when you’re feeling down.

They certainly can’t give you an orgasm.

At best they can make you feel all tingly inside, but that’s just a temporary side effect of poor blood circulation.

The point to my sister’s post (and I think this is key to the difference between us) is that I am an optimist and expect love to fall in my lap at some point in the future whereas my sister is a pessimist and has found other ways to keep herself happy.

I suppose when you’re a mobile nurse driving from home to home in the Nevada mountains, finding a toilet could feel similar to falling in love.

It could.

But it’s not.

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Big news!

michelle and tejasBig news!

One of my single friends is now “coupled up.”

I used the term “coupled up” loosely because they are just starting out and no official labels have been used (like girlfriend or boyfriend).

In fact, they call their relationship a “non-relationship.”

Well, I call BULLSHIT but whatever makes them happy I can agree with.

In any case, I met the significant other last night and I have to say SHE IS MAGICAL.

In my mind I had an idea of what was perfect for my friend and she’s all that and a bag of chips.

Magical, I tell you.

Part of me is disappointed to be left behind.

My friend was my “non-date date” for the longest time at parties and get-togethers.

He was my companion when I was lonely and sitting at home with no dates on the horizon.

But seeing how happy he is, it is IMPOSSIBLE to not be THRILLED for him, even if that THRILL is a little bittersweet.

Congrats you two lovebirds.

So happy you are enjoying each other!

Reunited!

When I was 22 years old, I met my birthmother.

I called her on the phone and for the first time she answered.

She had the most beautiful voice I’d ever heard and I knew someone with a voice that kind would NEVER be mean to me.

So I told her who I was and asked if now was a good time to talk.

The rest is history.

In 17 months, I will have known my birthfamily LONGER than I haven’t known them.

I find this a strangely reassuring milestone.

It’s as if I went away for a little while, or took a long vacation, only to return.

I have three families now – mine, my birthmother’s and my birthfather’s.

Try juggling holiday commitments when you’ve got three families.

[ASIDE: If I was married, it would be EVEN HARDER].

Two weeks ago, I made the trek to Santa Rosa to visit my birthfamily and I had a really great time.

My birthmom and I got to hang out and chat before the rest of the family showed up.

I talked to my sister, who was so nice I can’t help but think there’s potential for a real relationship to develop.

We shared a meal before I drove for three grueling hours (it normally only takes two) during a deluge where even my wipers on hyper speed couldn’t keep up with the rain.

And just cuz I love them BUCKETS, I’m posting a pic we took that day. . . in all our clever goofiness.

We’re in DISGUISE!

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