Dec 18, 2012

Heedless of the Wind & Weather

Today I drove by the spot where I lived when my first child was born.  It was back in 1986.  So long ago I have a hard time remembering much from back then.  I do remember that the love for my new baby girl was immediate and complete.  I gazed upon that sweet little monkey face and hoped she would have a happy life.  I still do, every day.  She is a strong young woman who makes me proud.  She'll have her ups and her downs but she can get through most anything.

You never know how things are going to turn out.  You start down a path that you think could only lead to one place, then boom, you find yourself in a completely different spot.  Sometimes it's your own doing, sometimes not, but either way it can be a shock.  It's life though, isn't it?  Moving forward, adjusting, adapting, doing the best you can.  All while you have the time.  Because as we see every day, our time is finite.

Hug the people you love while you can and then eat, drink, and be merry.  Fortunately, tis the season for it.  

Sep 12, 2012


I had a conversation with my husband recently about music.  He and I like the same stuff for the most part.  He gets into the blues a little more than me.... I like it but it doesn't move me as much as Motown, for instance.  I was saying to him that there are just some artists that you can feel their heart and soul in the music.
They do it because they have to do it, not because of the latest deal they made.   The Stones, Beatles, Bowie, were my examples.  Then Bob Seger entered the debate.  Now, I have nothing against Seger.  He's good.  But I wouldn't put him in the same category as the three I just mentioned.   At some point he just started cranking them out.

The conversation came up after we had recently gone to Pine Knob to see the Winter brothers.  When you see Edgar Winter perform Frankenstein on stage you are watching someone who lives the music they play.  It was like watching a virtuoso.  He lived that performance.  Opening for him was Rick Derringer of Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo fame.  Rick also did Hang on Sloopy.  Both respectable songs.... but I'm telling you it just wasn't the same compared to what Edgar did on stage.

Aug 21, 2012

Realize the Dream

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. ~ William Shakespeare

I always have such grand plans.  It all works out beautifully in my head beforehand.  It's during the execution phase that things all start to fall to pieces.   As evidence I present the quilt I started working on 12 years ago.  It's nearly finished.  All I have to do is actually quilt the top part to a bottom part with some stuffing stuff in the center.  But the joining of the quilt pieces is a little sloppy so I lost my enthusiasm.  It doesn't match the beautiful quilt I had in my head.  So there my quilt sits in a corner of my craft room in a bag.

My craft room.  A whole room dedicated to the wondrous accomplishments I could achieve if only I would put my mind to it.   I have materials for scrapbooking, jewelry making, crocheting, magnet making and cross stitching.   Not to mention odds and ends I picked up with no purpose in mind other than some wonderfully crafty thing I could use them for with a little imagination. That room contains so many projects patiently waiting for me to come finish them.  Sad to say, most of them wait in vain.

In the days before the internet I could multi-task.  I'd crochet or cross stitch while watching TV.  Since the internet came along to feed my endlessly wandering mind I don't finish nearly as many things as I used to.

We have been asked to go to the annual Renaissance Festival with some good friends.  We went with them a few years ago.  They go all out and dress up.  They have costumes that they have slowly been adding to over the years.  It's awesome.  I've talked about getting a costume for the Renaissance Festival for years.  This year we're doing it.

Jim and I are going to be Vikings.  But not dime store Vikings with plastic horned helmets. If we're doing this we're doing it right.  I want to be as authentic as possible.  I discovered that Viking women wore apron dresses.  While researching this I came across several "easy" do-it-yourself" patterns for this dress.  You see where this is going don't you?   I decided to make my own dress, complete with the under kirtle.

I'm ashamed to admit that this blog post is being used as a stalling tactic.  Right now I'm in the sweet spot on this project.  I have the plan. I have the materials. I'm ready to begin.  In my head it's all still going to work out beautifully.  But the minute I start to put it all together, poof, the dream is gone.  I just hope the dress ends up being wearable.

Jul 21, 2012

Things to do.

I'm not a napper.  Not a regular one anyway.  My disdain for napping started when I was a child.   I was forced to nap, like every kid.  As I lay on my bed, wide awake, I felt powerless.  My parents controlled every aspect of my life, even my consciousness.  Don't they understand that I don't want to nap?   I'm not tired.  Finally, sleep would come and the next thing I knew my mother was shaking me awake saying "Get out of bed."  Really?  It was like some sort of sadistic game they played.  Go to sleep, wake up, go to sleep, wake up.  Alright already, I'm up!   What am I?  Your puppet?

Once I got older I took matters into my own hands.  Napping became an accidental affair.  If I happened to fall asleep while reading or watching TV, so be it.  It was rarely intentional.  Not only do I feel like I'm missing out on things while sleeping the day away, I just generally feel like crap after a nap.  My brain is foggy and I have no energy.    It ruins the rest of the day for me.

I realize I'm in the minority.  People love naps.  Some people say the word nap as though they were talking about orgasms. " I love naps."  "I couldn't live without my naps."   There are people I know who treat naps as ritual affairs. My mother did.  She took one every day.  Draw the drapes, shut the doors and everybody be quiet.  This felt like control to me too.  Shhhh, be quiet, I'm sleeping.  The world of the waking must stand still while I am napping.

Now that I'm not so young anymore my body is betraying me. Once again bowing to forces beyond my control.  I can no longer resist taking a nap here and there.  I don't like it but my body demands it.  Curse you naps.  Don't you know I have things to do?

May 25, 2012

Reason to Be Proud

There's a myth on the Lauchstaedt side of the family that mothers favor their sons above their daughters.  For at least the last four generations in my lifetime it seems to be true.  My great grandmother adored her son I am told and tolerated her daughter (my grandmother).  In turn my grandmother worshiped the ground that my Uncle Dieter walked upon.  The tradition passed on down to my aunts on that side of the family with all of their sons being placed on a pedestal.  I think it's less true of my generation but the propensity leads me to be careful about how much praise I heap upon my son.  Not to mention the fact that his sister, for reasons of her own, believes I was easier on him.

I confess my guilt on this last count.  I always saw my daughter as an extension of me.  There wasn't a lot of mystery with her, I usually knew where she was coming from.  I was once a girl, a teen and a young woman too.  I had felt the same feelings, had the same fears.  I spent most my time trying to help her avoid the mistakes I had made growing up.  But my son was always a complete and utter mystery to me.  Most of my time with him was spent trying to crack the code and figure him out.   Add to that the fact that I had to counteract his father being tougher on him than on our daughter and it ended up being a completely different mothering experience.   But they know that I love them both dearly and would do anything in the world for them.

All that seems like a long way to go just to share a video of my son's band but, like I said, I'm sensitive about over praising.  My son Wade has a great big heart, a good sense of humor and a healthy appreciation for a good practical joke.  I didn't realize he was a performer though until I saw him in a grade school show doing a dead-on impersonation of Michael Jackson, complete with the moonwalking.  I remember being impressed by not only his performance but also how at ease he seemed to be on stage.  Through the rest of his schooling he seemed to have an eye for art as well.  My husband, the vigilant one, made sure he took guitar lessons as he was growing up.  The guitar teacher said more than once that Wade had a knack for it.  I was certainly proud but tried to not get too over excited about it.  After all, if he were a prodigy we certainly would have known.

About a year ago Wade and some of his buddies started a band.  They practiced for the first few months in his girlfriend's barn.  As winter set in though it got to be too cold so he asked if they could practice in the basement.  Sure, why not.  The first thing I noticed is they sounded really good.  Then I realized I didn't recognize any of the songs.  I asked Wade about it and he said that was because he wrote them.  I flashed back to his Michael Jackson skit. Really?  You wrote that stuff.  Where did you get that talent?  They've been practicing here for several months and they have improved a lot.  The video clip below is three songs they played at an open mic night at the Tap Room in Ypsi.  Wade is up front and center playing guitar.  The enthusiastic fan is his girlfriend.  My favorite is the third song.  Am I gushing too much?

Apr 30, 2012


Final countdown to the big trip.  We've been counting down since last September and finally it's upon us.  Together with our good friends/Vegas travel companions/wine buddies we booked something we call the GFBT-2012.  GFBT = Going for Broke Tour, so dubbed because it is a six day trip where we will compete to see if we spend more money on wine during our three days in Napa California or on gambling during our three days in Las Vegas.   It was a stroke of genius calling it the GFBT.  It's offered instant guidance on many key decisions 1) which car to rent, 2) which room at the Mirage to book,  3) drive from winery to winery or book a car and driver, 4) which restaurants to eat at.  Duh..... going for broke. 

This past weekend the four of us got together and over dinner and some nice wine, planned the details we don't want to leave to chance, (restaurants, wineries to visit).  The remnants are shown above.  I know it looks like a lot of wine but I'd like to add some perspective.  You should keep in mind that one bottle of wine is like drinking one and a half bottles of pop (750ml) and wine's better for you than pop. Plus it was a really long evening. Not the longest wine night but the wine to time ratio was within reason.

This trip couldn't come at a better time for me.  Going through some really tough stuff in the mother department, being one.... not having one (though with nods to my kids and apologies to my mother, I admit both can be challenging).  

Feb 27, 2012

Are you watching? Are you?

Watching a bit of the Oscars last night I was reminded how much I dislike Angelina Jolie.  There's another actress I dislike just as much, if not a wee bit more, Nicole Kidman.   I dislike these two so much I refuse to watch any of their movies. I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is about them I don't like. Since they both elicit a scowl and a slow shaking of my head I'm pretty sure it's for the same reason.

It's not the red hair.  I like plenty of red headed actresses. I'm not jealous of their current or former sexy husbands.  Though Tom and Brad are both very good looking, neither strikes me as particularly intelligent and that is a deal breaker in my book.  The girls are welcome to them.  It's not that they aren't good actresses. ( I refuse to call them actors. Get over it. Actress is a perfectly fine word.)   After some thought I finally figured it out.  It's how they carry themselves.  Every move seems orchestrated and mechanical.  They aren't genuine.  They seem to be pretending to be somebody they aren't.  All the while being overly interested in the reactions they get from people.  Like a little girl showing off to a table full of adults.  They have different styles though.  Angelina is the bad girl and Nicole is the good girl.

Angelina's little leg move at the Oscar's is a perfect example of her style.  She's always tries to be in your face and irreverent with her big pouty lips.  It just ends up being weird and uncomfortable.  In the beginning I liked her.  Then came the nonsense about kissing her brother. Plus the way that she and Billy Bob flaunted their sexuality in front of everybody really turned me off.  It seemed like such a show.  The last straw was when she stole Brad away from Jennifer.  Calm down.......  I know you can't steal anybody who doesn't want to be stolen but a decent woman doesn't mess with someone's husband, period.  Angelina just doesn't seem stable.  I'd bet money that one of these days she'll go mad in a very public way.  She'll just start cackling like a crazy she-devil and pulling her own hair out.

Nicole on the other hand puts on the demure, sweet and innocent act. She giggles a lot and bats her eyelashes. If it were in fashion to carry fans she would be seen holding one up to her face and fanning frantically, as if she had the vapors.  Underneath all that gentility though I get the feeling like she could turn on you for saying the wrong thing.  I can imagine her screeching before she goes off on a kicking-scratching-biting fit aimed at someone who's made her angry.   She reminds me of a lady Jim and I used to share a house with.  Sweet as brown sugar in front of others and then crazy as a loon when the visitors left.  you can see it in her eyes.  Tom knows what I'm talking about.

I consider myself lucky that neither of them chooses roles in comedy, science fiction, fantasy films or post apocalyptic films.  It would be quite the dilemma for me.  

Jan 27, 2012


'Egret's Regrets' photo (c) 2008, *~Dawn~* - license:
When I reached middle age I began to imagine myself as a grandmother.  I often wondered whether my grandchildren would love me as much as they would love their other grandmother.  I imagined this unknown rival for my grandchildren's affection as a petite, sweet woman.  Surely she would be all smiles and hugs and chocolate chip cookies, typical grandmother material.  How would I ever compete?  Me - towering over them with my pragmatism, sarcasm and biting wit.  

My own life experience should have made me realize these thoughts were ridiculous.  I was fortunate enough to get to know both my grandmothers.  I never compared the love I had for each of them.  I loved them equally but in different ways. 

My paternal grandmother was very involved in my life.  I saw her regularly until her death when I was 30 years old.  I knew her strengths and her weaknesses and loved her dearly.  She was an intelligent, beautiful woman who always managed to make me feel special.  My maternal grandmother lived in Germany.  I saw her rarely.  When I did see her I needed a translator because she didn't speak English and I didn't speak German.  Even so, I was captivated by her quiet, calm demeanor.  Her personal stories of WWII Germany were told in the most matter of fact way despite the horror she faced.  She was a strong, sensible woman who didn't let her difficult life diminish the joy she took in living.  

 Choosing which one I loved more would be preposterous. They were both a part of me and me of them.  It wasn't a contest.  

I met my daughter's mother-in-law at the wedding in October 2009.  She was sweet and kind and loving and tiny.  A strong contender for the affection of our future grandchildren. But instead of confirming my worst fears I suddenly realized that any thoughts of rivalry were complete and utter nonsense.  She and her husband seemed like family from the minute we met.  Such wonderful people.  My daughter couldn't have picked a better family to become a part of. How lucky my grandkids would be to have one big, loving family. I began to imagine the joy she and I would share, both being grandmothers to the same wonderful grandchildren.  

Sadly, this wonderful woman passed away last May.  I think about her often.  She was a special woman.  I feel ashamed now of my petty worries about who would be favorite.   I am overcome with sadness when I think about the loss her husband and sons must bear every day.  I am also deeply sad for the grandchildren who will never know her gentle kindness, her genuine warmth and her loving hugs.  They will have to rely on their father to tell them what a special person she was.   I would gladly play second fiddle to her if only it would bring her back.  All I'll be able to do though is give those grandkids an extra little squeeze from her every time I hug them, and I will.