Saturday, September 19, 2009

500, 100, 48, 5

Grandma and grandchildren
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Sorry it's taken me so long. Is this the longest post hiatus I've taken? Hm. I've been alternately exhausted and distracted with travel and home improvements. Um, in a good way.

Five/Five hundred
I can't believe I've been blogging for five years now. I'm so glad I started though. Thanks to Rebecca and Julia, my Pointy Pals, for their encouragement in this and so many other writerly regards. And to you, for reading and for your encouragement. I'm humbled and grateful for being able to share.

One hundred
Two weeks ago was Grandma's 100th birthday, an event I'd been looking forward to for quite some time. And it was indeed wonderful. No travel problems to spoil my time with family or stress me out. On the way up, I rendezvous'd with the brothers, niece, and nephew in Seattle and we flew to Spokane together. Feeling a little competitive with Jay, who had boasted about reserving a Charger, and egged on, er, encouraged by Felicia, I rented a pretty blue Mustang, which mostly decorated the entrance to the Settle Inn.

We arrived in Wilbur in time to see Grandma for a little bit that evening, which was an unexpected bonus. I didn't think we'd get the chance to see her much, but we also saw her the next morning before the big shindig. It was so great to see Grandma with other family groups both large and small…she was in fine form. I can't imagine having that much energy in 50 plus years.

The party itself was lovely. It's hard to have quality time with so many people in such a short space of time, but I did my best. I did manage conversations with people I hadn't seen in so many years! That was great. Many thanks to Lloyd, Jacque, and cousins for all of the work they did--it was a very special time, and I was so glad to be a part of it.

I made my usual stop at the cemetery Grandpa and others of my clan are buried, enjoyed the drive through the rolling wheat fields, had a very pleasant time bunking with Felicia and room hopping over to the brothers boy room, having a quiet breakfast with aunt and uncle, and sharing evenings with cousins and extended family.

I think part of my delay in writing this post is that I can't do justice to the milestone event. Having so many people together brought up so many memories of visits past and made me wish over and over again we could gather together more often. My big takeaway? I've got a lot of living to do, and I'm not doing it nearly enough. And I wish I lived closer to all of my family generally, particularly my brothers, in addition to seeing all of them more often. I have a wealth of wonderful people I'm related to, and their loved ones that are now part of the family universe, and having our various orbits intersecting only here and there is very…unsatisfying. Why can't visiting family be a fulltime job with benefits?

After Grandma's party, I was home for twelve hours, then off to the other Washington for a conference. It went very well, I'm happy to report. It was hard not having the set-up day to adjust to the new locale, but when I did finally feel settled in, I enjoyed myself. I went to a couple of social events, which I don't normally do. I had Indian and Thai food to my heart's content. I got to see some of the US Open tennis matches via the tube in my hotel room--wonderful! I people-watched on the streets near Chinatown (what fun to have a trapeze school in a parking lot!) and on the Metro, which I still love riding thought it's a little more down at heel than I remember. Best of all, I saw stepsister Judi, met her husband, saw her adorable kids, and toured her lovely home. Her paint choices are way more bold than mine, but I inspiring for when I we're in a new, larger, home, which hopefully will come to pass, at some point...

On the final morning in Washington, I was lucky enough to have a "backstage" tour of the Natural History Museum, focusing on dinosaur bones and beetles! It was very cool. The trip was a very concentrated hit of what I like so much about city life, and I wished for the nth time that week that I had more time to just be present in the place I'm in.

It's tough coming home from a week away to arrive in the midst of household chaos--down time is hard to find. Unpacking included taking some items out to the PODS, which of course still squats in our driveway. Ugh. (Ha ha ha, how quaint that I thought it would all be done by now…) Though M proved himself once again the perfect husband. He didn't say anything as I wandered uselessly around the house after my return while those around me worked diligently. Late in the afternoon, after I declared hatred of a good hour of other people's work installing trim under the cabinets (utterly the wrong color), he suggested that I lie down on the couch and read while he took care of a late Home Depot run and dinner. What did I do to deserve him?

Last weekend was an odd one. In the morning, we just assumed the cloudy skies were usual summer fog, but no…it actually rained (rain in September, crazy!) early in the afternoon, spoiling one of my painting projects and putting off finishing the floor installation for at least another day. But progress was made during the week. Just before my birthday, the floor and trim were finished, and the last of the major checks written, thank god. M and I have been occupied with the finishing work, hanging doors with new hardware, touching up walls and trim, replacing the hall light, hanging curtains, etc. Ah, home.

Since the rain put a stop to the floors last weekend, our handyman turned his energies to installing the washer and dryer. I'm doing a load of laundry as I type! The new washer is making very disconcerting sounds, but I hope they're all in service of saving energy and/or water. Every little step is an encouragement to continue on. It's really starting to look like a habitable place again! The bedroom is sleepable tonight for the first time in weeks. I'm amazed with how much I love, love! the choices we made, the floors, paint, countertops. I think we may just be a couple of weeks from returning to a normal routine. What will I do with myself?

Weeks later, I'm still a little embarrassed thinking about the moment when cousin Chris asked my age at Grandma's party and I couldn't come up with my exact figure though it was just a few weeks away. Well, so it goes. Obviously, I'm successful in my attempts to not think about my age. Happily, I had a particularly lovely birthday. As time goes on, I feel more and more grateful for even the smallest of recognitions, but I for whatever reason (Facebook perhaps?) it seemed like I received more than the usual amount of good wishes and lovely gifts, and I didn't even have a zero attached this year!

In other news

Have I mentioned lately that I love living in Sonoma County? Driving to work on Friday, I spotted the top of a hot air balloon in a nearby field and took a slightly different route so that I'd be close and could take photos. (It was only luck that I had a camera with me--I need to pick up a cheap camera to keep in the car for occasions like that. How often does one see balloons?) I reveled in the roar of the flames firing up to steer it. Going to lunch with a friend on later that afternoon, we came to a crossroads and at our left was a truck laden with old fashioned wine barrels which somehow seemed very quaint. And then there was that fine specimen of a doe trotting about the back field today. Which reminds me, when the interior of the house is finished, time to turn our attention to the exterior--it really needs it.

Contrary to the travel overwhelm noted above, I'm very much looking forward to: meeting Myla soon, New York in November, the usual sprawl at Mom and Don's over Thanksgiving, and Las Vegas for Christmas with M's sister. That last one…well, it's different. Lady Luck and I usual circle each other warily and just agree to disagree so Vegas is rarely my kind of town, but who knows? Maybe this year we'll put aside our differences and I'll come home richer than when I left…right…


At 6:57 AM, September 20, 2009, Blogger bren said...

So glad to read your post. I'm at a loss for some witty comment words, but I enjoyed the update immensely.

At 9:08 AM, September 20, 2009, Blogger Michelle said...

Happy 500th! And thank you for setting such a good blogging example, which inspired me to get started.

At 10:42 AM, September 20, 2009, Blogger elm said...

I knew I would be successful today, hitting the triangle and there being a good piece to read.

Thank you Suzanne!


At 5:57 PM, September 20, 2009, Blogger K2 said...

I've missed you. Great post.


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