Love is. . .

This post is going to remind me that I am always surrounded by love. Just because my life is missing a few pieces doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot to be thankful for.

LOVE IS:

    A father who defrosts your car in the morning so you don’t have to.
    A friend who calls you on your birthday.
    A brother who treats your children like they’re his own.
    A best friend who always gives the best advice, but only when she’s asked to.
    A sister who lets you call her at 3 AM when you’ve just had your heart broken.
    Girlfriends who always tell you how beautiful and thin you are no matter what you look like or what size you are.
    A birth mother who saves your voicemails so she can hear the sound of your voice over and over again.
    A cousin who lets you hang out with her because she knows you be alone otherwise.
    A mother who looks after you when you are sick, no matter how cranky and needy you are.
    A grandmother who always sends a birthday check, no matter how small her fixed income is.
    Boys who race to the front door and throw their arms around you when you get home after work.
    Dog kisses.

All things considered, that’s a pretty good list. I’ll remind myself to read it when I’m having a pity party for one,

My heart is full

Nick and Kaitlin photo cred: my aunt Xondra

On a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Cloverdale, California, my cousin Nick married the love of his life.

And I was there to see it all.

I was also there to take a fall.

Yes, that’s right.

I took a tumble in my sky high heels on the grass a mere two steps away from an actual walkway.

It was HORRIBLY embarrassing.

But you know, wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t some sort of unusual occurrence to overcome.

Sometimes it’s a rude boy, other times it’s wicked high heels.

So Nick and Caitlin got married and I indeed cried when they read their vows to each other.

Nick had virtually lost his voice the night before but he managed to speak clearly and concisely about all the ways he loved Caitlin.

And I’m not kidding when I say that everyone got choked up.

It was beautiful.

Romantic.

Everything you want to see when your cousin picks out the woman of his dreams to marry.

So maybe I fell.

Big whoop.

It was clear that these two lovebirds had fallen too.

Fallen totally in love with each other.

And watching them dedicate themselves to one another for the rest of their lives, well that just turned a beautiful day in October into an extraordinary fall day in October.

My heart is full.

Broken

It has been SO LONG since I felt even a SMIDGE of love for a member of the opposite sex, it’s almost like I’m incapable of the emotion.

Oh sure, there was Luke AGES AGO.

And then The Pirate, who I imagined myself to be in love with.

But that was three years ago.

And NOTHING!

Should I worry?

Am I just not meeting men who tug at my heart strings or am I truly broken?

Yes, there’s The Swede who I simply ADORE.

He’s in my heart.

And there’s Coke Can Dan who makes me faint of heart.

But I’m not in love.

What’s up?

The other day someone called me “protective” and I think that’s true.

I am protective.

And NERVOUS about falling for someone.

But I KNOW FOR CERTAIN that I just haven’t felt the tug to go in the direction of love in the past few years.

Because when all is said and done, I am a RISK TAKER.

And given even a GLIMPSE of sharing happiness with another human being, I will risk getting hurt EVERY TIME.

And let me tell you this, I MEET A LOT OF MEN.

A LOT.

So why I’m not in love is a mystery to me.

Maybe I’m broken.

I’m a blogger

I’m a blogger.

My life appears on the internet for other people to read and absorb.

I write because I have a bad memory and a diary is the best way for me to keep track of what happens in my life.

I put it on the internet because I’m trying to connect with other people, even if it’s just through a story.

I think there’s wisdom that can be gleaned between the lines of my life, if not by me then by someone else.

Everybody I write about, I fall in love with.

They represent a character in my life and whether temporary or permanent, they always play a part in my development.

Some people I clearly adore: my children, my family, The Swede, Tejas, Barbara, Michelle, Marina, and so many more.

Other people pop in and out, like Coke Can Dan, Jack and Jill, and The Photographer.

Rest assured they’ve all captured a place in my heart.

There is little I enjoy more than writing about a friend, new or old, who has captured my attention.

I never do them justice.

Personalities are far too rich and nuanced for me to capture in my simple writing.

But I try.

And honestly, nothing is better than reading old posts and being reminded of old friends I haven’t seen in a while so I pick up the phone and call.

I hope they know how much I love them.

Electro Threads

Have you ever stumbled across a site on the internet and just fallen INSTANTLY IN LOVE?!

I mean, BESIDES when you fell in love with UNBLUNDER, that is. . .

😉

Well, that’s what happened to me when I came across Electro Threads.

And FYI, this is NOT an ad and I am NOT getting paid to write this.

Yes, I was looking for a wolf swimsuit on the internet.

Something big, bold, and colorful.

Like me.

So there I am, navigating my way through wolf onesies for BABIES when I clicked on a link for this:

INSTA-LOVE!

But then, I had to check out their other swimsuits.

And their onesies.

And their leggings.

And before I knew it, I was adding 5 things to my shopping cart and clicking on “BUY.”

Ahem.

 

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.