Saturday, May 06, 2006

I dreamed of a baby...

...with that wide-eyed look of pure joy, pure learning that babies get sometimes when they are totally absorbed by someone who is completely enchanted by them. Somehow I knew this child was my grandchild, thought I don't know which of my children brought this child into the world.

I woke with a smile on my face followed quickly by vague feelings of loss and discontent as I realized it was just a dream.

Strange. I have only wanted to be a grandmother in the vaguest way, at some point in the far distant unseeable future. And then only to prove that as a mother I didn't do such a horrible job as to make my children wish to avoid parenthood at all costs. Kind of as a redemption for my failures, I guess you could say.

I have indistinct ideas of what a grandmother should be, and I'm not certain that I can live up to the job description. My own grandmothers never were my idea of what a grandmother should be. Neither of them was particularly warm. In fact, I wasn't sure if Grandma Carlson loved me until just before she died when I was seventeen. Even then, I knew that she loved me in an abstract way, not with the fervor, delight and adoration reserved for the kids from across the street. We were a disappointment to our grandmother. At least I was. Grandma Anderson, on the other hand, was just old. I suspect that she was born old. Old and prissy. I'm not sure that she ever really enjoyed my presence. She tried, but I, never having felt wanted or adored by her, was always a bit restless in her company.

I want to be a grandma like my friends, Jan Holli and Judy Luff. Their love of their grandkids is so clearly evident, I see the grandkids basking in it.

There is a great gift a grandparent can give when they absolutely adore their grandchildren and are unabashedly delighted by them. What security, hope and comfort that gives through the tough times in life. Grandpa Carlson and Uncle Rich gave me that. The security of their love and affection was the place I would run to in many trying times. A friend of mine, Bob Holli, my best friend's dad and my principal through most of my school years, is another of those people. He is able to express delight in you with a single look, with the tenor and timbre of his voice, and with his smile. Many is the time I went rushing to Bob and Jan's when I wasn't sure I could go on.

Some people's love shines from them like a lantern on a post at the top of a hill, seen for miles. This is what I want to be for my grandchildren and never was for my kids. I got in the way. It isn't that I didn't adore my kids, but I was so overwhelmed by the responsibility, by my own inadequacies, and by my own pain that I wasn't able to relax and display it. I was so busy worrying about passing on all my internal demons that I tried to stamp out scary behavior and frightening words, rather than dealing with the source of those. I probably gave them worse demons to fight of their own. I'm much better now, but I'm concerned that I still don't really know how to let my love show.

Kristen, Craig and Alex. Please know that I love you and am delighted by you. I am incredibly proud of you. How I wish I had said that aloud each day and shown it in each glance. Someday, perhaps I will be able to be the grandma to your kids that I wish to be: available, adoring, there for all the special events in their lives (band concerts, basketball games, recitals, skinned knees, and always ready to share a good book). I promise to make Swedish pancakes and tacoritos.

No rush, though.

Best Friends.

When I say "best friend" the description no longer has a single picture attached in my brain.

Jana Wilson, my best friend, knows me in ways few do. We've been friends since the 3rd grade. How do you measure the person who has known you and loved you skinny and fat, clear-skinned and pimply, up and down, through the trials and joys of life? Her heart for Christ, for her family and her friends is a beautiful treasure.

Kathi and Craig Sipes, my best friends in California, whose kids (inexplicably) love me, who have taken us in as part of their family, whose love and friendship is one of the greatest treasures in life, who taught me about life and marriage and fun. How dear to my heart!

Scott Ayler, my best friend living in the Middle East for so many years. Friends since high school, I have always felt honored to have such a fine man for a friend, and have been delighted that our friendship never seems to falter though years come and go between visits. Scott is one I would have trusted to raise my children if something had happened to Steve and me. I am so pleased with the man he has become.

Beth Knight-Pinneo. Best friends in 9th grade, we stayed in touch for a few years after she moved. She was one of only a very few people who questioned (to my face) getting married so young. I have always loved and respected her for that. A few years back we got in touch again. I, having temporarily given up searching after several unsuccessful attempts, was instead contacted by her, to my amazed delight.

She is another whose friendship is a great joy to me. Seeing her again was like stepping into a favorite pair of shoes, uncovered in the back of the closet after having thought them lost for several years. Amazed to find they still fit, in no time at all, the stiffness is gone, and the shoes (friendship, if you are still following my analogy) are placed in a spot of honor, never to be lost again. Though our lives are at very different stages, she has young kids and mine are grown, we see each other at least every couple of months and keep in contact by phone and e-mail.

And new best friends--people who are of great character and great heart--who are sympatico. These are ones who I can foresee a point in the future when they will be as dear to me as those listed above. I have been truly blessed with friends. Best friends. Great friends. Great people. Wonders all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Things for the garden

oh, one more thing. I have herbs and bags of manure and peat for my planter bed still sitting in the back of the truck from yesterday. There's nothing like fresh basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, or cilantro, unless it's fresh tomatoes, grown in your own yard. I've tried with tomatoes, really I have. I had large healthy-looking plants with lots of large leaves, nice flowers and not a single tomato.

I need to try again, but the yard is torn up due to the sprinkler system being put in along with a lot of other yard work being planned for early this summer.

Anyway, it rained today, for hours and hours, so I didn't get them into the ground. It may still freeze tonight, so I'm heading out to bring in my precious herbs. Oh and the wild blue flax I picked up at Hillside Gardens. If you've never been there and live in Colorado Springs, you have got to go there. Come prepared for a quick soda and a snack in their charming cafe. Wander the gardens looking at the plants and truly unique lawn sculpture and assorted gates, fence sections and more, many of which at least appear to be old. They have these great bells (for the wind to sound as they hang from your trees). They looked familiar, so I took a closer look. I was given one at my friend Sandra's garage sale last year, but the same ones are selling for well over $30. I knew as soon as I heard mine that I simply had to have it. I get enormous pleasure from hearing it's simple sounds as the wind plays with my tree. Because it is quite heavy, it only plays when the wind gains some strength, so I can tell when the wind is blowing in a change in the weather.

I wish you could hear it. It has sounded a bit as the latest cold front blew through. Sometime tomorrow I expect it to ring again as the warm weather we are promised makes it's arrival in time for the weekend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Shedding some light on the ugly side of me

Well, the chandelier is still sitting on the dining room floor, where it awaits the services of an electrician. The cord was cut so short that I need it extended so that I can hook the chain over the center of the table. When the house was built, they centered the fixture in the dining room without considering the walkway between living room and kitchen, so no table has ever been centered under the light, which always strikes me as odd.

Anyway, if I'm going to the trouble of hanging a new light it will be centered.

Well, I'm hoarse. Steve and I just got into it over the dogs again. With the new floors in, Steve doesn't want them stepped on, particularly by dogs. The dogs, of course, don't understand this, and the beagle is constantly sneaking up the stairs. She seems to know we don't want her to do that but, with the mental capacity of a three year old, she does not have the ability to avoid doing what she wants for very long.

My suggested solution is to put up a gate at the bottom of the stairs or, more expensively, lay down runners and throw rugs.

Anyway, to stop him from acting ugly with the dogs, I had an ugly scene of my own, which doesn't stop the ugliness, it just makes me feel bad. I hate it when I'm ugly, but can't seem to avoid it altogether.

My brother-in-law, Glenn, came over today to help get our company website up and running and to get our webcam working. It seems to work just fine except with the one program my dad uses for online conversations. I'm pretty frustrated, as we've both followed the online directions precisely, checked the settings over and over, and still, it will not work. At least it wasn't just me.

I'm exhausted, both by the late hour and by the stomach problems that have been plaguing me of late. For the past 2-plus weeks I have been sick to my stomache. Puking my guts out at the corporate staff meeting, followed by days of feeling awful, one night where I was almost certain I was going to need to go to the emergency room and the inability to keep most food down.

I am surviving on apples, fruit juice, and any food without fat. Even small amounts of fat seem to push me over the edge, severely limiting my caloric intake. I'm fairly certain this is gallbladder related, but until the pain is worse than childbirth or I lose all my "baby fat" (my "baby" is 18), I will probably avoid the doctor. Hopefully it isn't something worse, or is just a stomach virus that is hanging on a little longer than most. At any rate, I'm tired.

Maybe I'm just tired of myself. I work and work at being pleasant and polite, biting my tongue and then I go into a tirade like tonight. I don't seem to get my point across when I speak normally, so I go into a tizzy, which ensures that I will be ignored. I seem to be singularly ill-equipped to persuade Steve. My methods could use some fine-tuning. A little bit of down south charm that gets a man to do exactly what you want and think it's his idea. (Us non-southerners often call that manipulation. Such an ugly word, don't you think?)

Monday, May 01, 2006

I just bought a chandelier.

I wish I could really write about all the many details of fixing up this house. Sometimes it seems overwhelming and like it will never get done, but lately, I feel hopeful--as if this is a project that really will be completed soon.

The hardwood floors were just installed in the living room, hall and staircase. Oh my, they are beautiful and just scream at me to finish the room quickly. The trim work needs to be done to match the downstairs ( which I designed and had installed specially for us). Then the painting needs to be done. Much as I love the red walls, Steve doesn't, and I have decided that it will be much easier to decorate with more muted wall color, and it will be more calming and peaceful as well. Life is stressful enough that our homes should be relaxing and welcoming. The red is very beautiful, but high energy. I think I may leave one wall that color, but I haven't decided yet.

Then we need to furnish the space. I have drawn a sketch of what I want and Steve even agrees (gasp!). I've gone hunting for the furnishings, but haven't found the English club furniture that I'm looking for. The ones I have found don't have the right kind of legs, or don't have them in the right place, so the look is wrong. Also, the fabrics are wrong. The only place I've found that seems to get it right is Crate and Barrel and ultra high priced places mentioned in Architectural digest and House Beautiful. The prices are unbelievable. I'm hoping I can find them SOMEWHERE. Perhaps if I sell enough houses this year I can just bite the bullet and buy the real stuff. After all, I intend it to be a lifetime purchase. If you buy decent stuff, you should be able to pass it down to your children.

But back to the chandelier. I've been looking at marvelous chandeliers for 300-400 dollars and up. Today I decided to go with Steve to Longmont while he paid for yet another contractor's license in yet another municipality (they all just want money). While he went in, I decided to check out the main street shopping, looking for thrift stores, antique stores...whatever. Not half way from the corner I walked into a thrift store to aid people with alcoholism. It didn't really have anything that called out to me, so I went up the wide stairs toward the back of the store and wandered around up there. Part of what I'm looking for is big art and travel know, coffee table books as they are sometimes called. They didn't really have anything, but as I was turning the corner to go back downstairs I spotted it: the chandelier. and with a price tag of $14.99. I mean, seriously. 15 bucks for an absolutely awesome chandelier and the guy loaded it into my pickup bed for me and helped me cinch it down. Even if I have to have it rewired, at most I'm out $100. I can't wait to hang the glorious thing above my dining table.

In fact, I think I'll head to the truck now and see about getting it wired yet tonight.

Stand Up Comedy

Well, I signed up to do stand-up comedy at a church function. Don't know how that'll go. People seem to think I'm funny, but sarcasm and dry humor may work better one on one, than playing to a crowd.

I think lots of things are funny, so maybe if I just talk about the things that amuse me, perhaps it will tickle other people too.

Like the differences between men and women. I would guess that there's not a straight man in America that understands cucumber sandwiches that women serve at their teas. In fact, teas are a strictly female phenomena in this country. You never see a flyer for a men's group at church getting together for a "tea".

Another thing men don't do on their own is salad. I once attended a construction cookout put together by men for men. It consisted of the men basics. Meat, sugar, salt. They would have had beer had it not been in the middle of a workday. So there were burgers, chips and cake. No fruit salad, no pasta salad, no deviled eggs or jello salad. That's what women bring.

On the other hand, there are things that men do that women will never understand. I mean, I like football. I love watching the Broncos. I watch the playoffs and the Superbowl. I don't watch the draft. I don't watch the NFC and AFC games to better predict who will make the playoffs and how my team will fare against them. And I really don't understand watching college ball so that you can determine who would be best for your team to pick up in the draft. I suspect that few other women get that.

I don't understand how you can get through life with three pair of shoes. I might wear three different pairs of shoes in a single day! I don't understand how you can roll out of bed and leave the house within 5 minutes. I don't understand what's hard about buying tampons. It's not as if the guy behind the counter thinks they're for you!

How is it that guys look in the mirror and always seem to see a handsome suave guy standing there? Do you know that women, in general, know the minute the first wrinkle appears? I remember staring in horror at my first wrinkle for at least half an hour. Half an hour pulling and checking, trying to wish it away. Why is it that men always think they look so good?

Then there's family and church to discuss. I guess I could go on for a while.