The problem with not writing very often is that so much has happened since the last time I wrote I don’t know where to start. So I guess the best place to start is just right freaking now. Now. This very moment I am sitting in my cozy living room with Harley, watching the movie Logan and smelling the mouth-watering roast that has been cooking all day.
Out the window I see signs of spring on a wintery day. It’s April 15th and it’s 30 degrees outside but it feels like 17. Our weeping willow tree is barely showing sweet little leaves that have probably just frozen their nuts off. Yes, I know weeping willows don’t have nuts. But if they did, they would be freezing them off … literally and figuratively.
Rocket is running around like a psycho chasing a HUGE fly that somehow managed to escape the freezing weather and get inside. It’s so big I think I can see it’s fur. Three days ago it was 80 degrees and we had the air conditioning on and we had to switch it right from the A/C over to the heat. Rocket can be a spaz, but when it comes to fly-hunting, he is right up there with Mr. Miyagi. You remember him … the patient, chop-stick-wielding, fly-hunting karate teacher in The Karate Kid? I think Rocket must be Mr. Miyagi’s spirit animal. Anyhoo …We have basically experienced all four seasons in the last day and a half.
Speaking of the seasons, I think it was summer the last time I posted. There have been some major changes since then … Trixie married Prince Charming, Bam-Bam proposed to Powerpuff and Clark was promoted to Sargent in the Marines. Our little family is getting bigger and going places!
But right now. I took a break from writing for Sunday dinner. Right now, the dishes are done and Harley and I are settled in front of the fireplace waiting for the season finale of The Walking Dead to start. Powerpuff and Bam-Bam are working on their coloring book masterpieces. PSA – I bought a grown-up coloring book and a pack of colored pencils last weekend and it’s quickly become part of our Sunday family dinner tradition.
But right now. Right now the evening is drawing to a close … the cloudy sky is morphing from a cold, silvery-gray into a dark, starless night. The shadows slowly swallow up the backyard and turn it into a pool of inky darkness. It’s cold outside. The wind flecks sleet against the windows. But inside we are close and warm. The fireplace glows against the faces I love. Right now I am happy. Right now.
The older we get, the more things we lose … car keys, sunglasses, height, memory, to name a few. The other things we tend to lose are much more precious … pets, friends, parents, family. The older I get the more I cherish the latter. We all do. Earlier this summer my family lost one of my cousins and our hearts are broken. We may not have seen a lot of each other in the recent past, but there is another hole in our family and we will never be the same.
It saddens me for opportunities lost and memories that will not me made that would have included her. While talking with my other cousins, one of them mentioned that we need to start making plans to get together again instead of waiting for another family funeral. One of them said that if we don’t start doing something, our family is going to fall apart. The torch doesn’t pass from one generation to another if you are passive. It only passes if you make the effort.
Today my cousins are coming to my house. It’s just a small group, but we feel like it is a start. We have common childhood memories and we all have different stories about the same people and I can’t wait to reconnect. In this day and age of technology and social media it’s easy to become lazy about making time for the important people in your life. REAL time. But if we don’t make the effort, then the measure of what is lost will be gone forever.
I hope that one day we will be able to rebuild again what our parents made for us. The foundation of a family. We all already have the immediate family foundations, but I I’m talking about the larger picture … generations of the same family who know each other, love each other and who are there for each other. Forever.
Green. Blue. Gold. Those are the summer colors of Kansas. Green trees … rolling hills ….. farmland. Until I rode through the landscape on a motorcycle I never realized how many colors of green there were here. If you were to draw a picture of what we ride through you would need every green crayon from the 64-color box.
The blue sky is an endless dome over our heads and the depth is only enhanced by the white contrast of the puffy clouds. Even in 100-degree heat, the Kansas sky and puffy clouds look like something out of The Truman Show movie.
Gold. Glorious, beautiful gold is rolled up into round bales to rival Rapunzel’s locks and dot the landscape to break up the green as we ride by. It smells like sweet summertime and looks pretty as a picture.
Yes, even on crazy hot days Harley and I like to ride on the weekends. The wind massages my skin in soft, summer breaths and plays with my hair like Trixie used to do when she was little. Being on a bike is both mesmerizing and breathtaking.
Harley turned the bike north when we left last weekend to start our Sunday Funday ride. We don’t usually plan out our route, but mostly ride wherever the road takes us. There are a lot of organized rides out there, which we appreciate and sometimes support, but most of the time we like our stops to ourselves, with the exception of a few locals or other random bikers who frequent our favorite spots.
Last Sunday one of our stops was at Helen’s Hilltop in Tonganoxie, Kansas. By the time we got there the sun was directly overhead and I was pretty much sweating like a pig. I made a beeline to the restroom and then found, to my dismay, that getting my tight, sweaty jeans back on was reminiscent of Ross trying to put his leather pants back on in an episode of Friends. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have any powder to help mop up all my sweaty sweat, and thank god for that. But the exertion of squirming and squeezing and jumping up and down trying to get my tight jeans back on made me break out in an all-body sweat all over again. My hair frizzed, my mascara ran and I looked worse than when I had gotten off the bike.
I finally came out of the bathroom to find Harley halfway through his beer. He stared at me for a beat and said, “Everything alright in there?” I gave a slight nod and he looked at me in that way he has sometimes that makes me feel like maybe I am crazier than I am afraid I am. Then the bartender slid me over a Summer Shandy (yep, at a biker bar) and I clapped my hands with glee. And then remembered that I was supposed to act with a bit of decorum and took a long, cold, glorious swig. If there is anything better than an ice-cold beer on a cold day, I can’t think of it right now.
One of the great things about finding places off the beaten path is that you meet some great people and see some strange $hit. We came out of the dark bar and were squinting into the sunlight and saw something I’d never seen before. I had to blink twice to make sure my eyes were adjusting correctly. It wasn’t really a motorcycle. It was a cross between a dune-buggy and a trike and looked like a traveling sofa. They guy who built it was having a beer on the porch and was happy to let me snap some pics.
I love seeing new places and meeting new people and riding with Harley gives plenty of opportunity for both. Being on a bike lets you smell the sweet, fresh air of the country, feel the warmth of the sun and the soft caress of the wind while you take in the rich, vivid colors around you. Riding is a feast for all of your senses and I can’t wait to get my next fix.
The 4th of July might just be my favorite holiday. Most of this comes from a lazy perspective: there is little to no decorating involved, no gifts need to be researched, bought and wrapped, you CAN clean your house, but because most of the festivities take place outside you don’t HAVE to clean your house. Plus there’s the fact that it’s not cold outside AND you get to play with fire.
This was our first 4th of July in our new house and we rang it in with a bang! Okay so it was rainy most of the day, but that didn’t stop us from gorging ourselves on a fabulous 4th food feast, swimming, playing yard games and shooting off fireworks. Friends and family alike came for the day and stayed well into the evening. A good time was had by all. Well, until Baby O got his leg stuck in the door, Bam-Bam almost blew off a finger and Clark came close to setting himself on fire with a sparkler. So maybe I should add the disclaimer that a good time was had by all for the most part.
Yes, they are all okay. Although Bam-Bam had been bleeding from the leg earlier in the evening from something that was either accidentally shot at him or he unintentionally dropped on himself. Let me say this about Bam-Bam: he is self-disciplined when it comes to working out, eating right and generally taking care of himself. But also … he can be like a bull in a china shop … aka: a hot freaking mess. If something is going to happen, and it doesn’t happen to me, it’s going to happen to him. So am I sorry that his leg was bleeding? Yes. Am I surprised? No.
Watching our family and friends gather and celebrate just warmed the cockles of my heart. Yes, my cockles! It also brought back my earliest memories from July 4th’s of the past. When I was growing up, we didn’t always live near family and would fly back to the Midwest in the summers. I remember being given a punk (why are they called that anyway?) and a box of snakes. The sunshine was bright, the sky was blue, the clouds were puffy and the air was so humid it almost felt like it was pushing me into the ground. But there I was outside on the sidewalk, watching little black blocks smoke and hiss their way into long ropey-like snakes that would turn into dust with the touch of a finger. It was magical! Between the snakes, playing non-stop with my fun-loving cousins and my grandma’s fried chicken … I was a goner for the holiday.
This year Clark and Bam-Bam got the fireworks for our celebration. I told them about my lifelong love of the magical snakes, but they couldn’t find them. What they DID find, however, was much, much better. It was called the Pooping Puppy. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re thinking. It was a cardboard dog with its tail in the air and a fuse sticking out of it’s pooping-area. I got the honor of lighting said fuse. And guess what? It “pooped” out the snakes of my childhood! I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down and clapped my hands with glee. The wondrous wonders of firecrackers!
They also picked out a special firework just for me … The Frog Princess. It was a ball of hot-pink foil with a frog-like face. I lit that sucker on fire and the eyes and mouth GLOWED OFF AND ON like magic while fountains of spark showers rained out the top of her round, froggy head. It was the best thing ever! I didn’t think to take pictures during the festivities so that you could have seen the Pooping Puppy and Frog Princess for yourselves.
So the next day, Harley and the baby grownups cleaned up the warzone-like backyard while I dragged my festivity-weary self to work. When I got home they had put all the firework trash in the firepit so we could just burn up the rest of the cardboard pieces in one fell swoop. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me. We waited until after dinner for the day-after burning and I came outside to water plants while Clark poured lighter fluid all over the trash/firepit. Harley and Clark sat close to the firepit on the patio while Powerpuff lounged nearby on the outside loveseat. It was a lovely evening. And then suddenly something decided it wasn’t finished showing off and decided to start the show all over again. I heard a loud whistling sound and looked over to see the firepit ablaze with fire and sparks. Unfortunately for Clark, it was pointed directly at him … and it was the Neon Patriot, our grand finale fountain. Oh, irony.
Clark jumps up to get out of the line of direct fire and I see Powerpuff standing inside looking on from behind the storm door. How she got in there so fast without actually moving, I don’t know. But who am I to question the power of the puff? I’m just standing there frozen, with my mouth open, holding the still-spraying hose. Do I think to point it at the fire and help? Nope! Just stood there. Harley was the only one who seemed unaffected. He just sat there gazing into the firework display at his feet and smoking a cigarette like it was an everyday occurrence. Thank goodness it didn’t last long and nobody was hurt. Of course, after it was all over, Bam-Bam sticks his out the door and says, “I told you that was going to happen.”
Someone at work told me last week to have a memorable 4th. I wasn’t sure at the time if that was a good thing or a bad thing. But they were right … if nothing else, it was memorable.
There are boxes in our house again. But this time the boxes are moving and we aren’t. Our baby grown-ups are moving out and starting their own lives. We call them our baby grown-ups, although we are talking about twenty-somethings. Our younger kids are already gone and the oldest is the last to go.
One year ago we packed up everything we owned and moved into a new (to us) house and have spent the last year making it a home. Now that we’ve made it a home for the four of us, it is a little bittersweet to finally have the house to just the two of us.
You may remember me … I’ve been around before … a couple of times actually. I envy those of you who have started out and kept going. I recently read that one of my previous blogger-buddies has just posted his 900th blog (Go Ben!). But since the dust has settled from moving out of my life, leaving my 22-year marriage, sending my baby to college, falling in love with Harley, selling my house, moving in with Harley and Bam-Bam, buying a house with Harley and everything else that has happened …. I finally find myself with the itch to tip-tap away at my keyboard and re-join the virtual world. That being said, I’m back to share my life with you again.
Between the two of us, we have three twenty-somethings: Bam-Bam, Trixie and Clark. In that order. Our youngest, Clark, is a hot-shot marine and is currently stationed in Japan. He is home on leave for a couple of weeks and we are soaking up every minute with him. Trixie lives with her fiancée in the Pacific Northwest and is chasing her dreams in the fashion world. Bam-Bam and his girlfriend, Powerpuff, are the ones packing up and moving into their first apartment next week. Sidenote: we sometimes refer to Bam-Bam and Powerpuff as The Vegans. Not because they are vegans, but because they workout all the time, meal-prep and eat healthy. No, it doesn’t make complete sense, but it makes enough.
With Clark adding to the hustle and bustle of young adult energy in our house, it’s hard to image what it will feel like when he returns to Japan and the vegans move out. But just as we have with everything else so far, I’m sure we will figure it out. It seems like I’m always trying to find the new normal. Hence, the blog name. Not only am I metaphorically riding again in the blogging world, but in so many other facets of my life. Things are constantly changing. Life goes on. And it is good.