Happy Birthday, Andrew

I’m waking up this morning in Vermont. It’s Andrew’s birthday and it’s the 24th of his birthdays we’ve celebrated as a couple, and the first one where we aren’t waking up in the same bed.

I’m headed home tonight, so I won’t miss it completely. But meantime, seems only right to send some birthday love across the Internet.sarahs wedding_3

This photo was not taken on his birthday, actually, but it’s the closest one I can find. It was about a week before he turned 34. Or was it 33. It doesn’t matter. We were young. So young. We were at Sarah & Marc’s wedding, witnessing the beginning of their life together – one that we were honored to see re-committed just a few years back. There we were, looking a bit like characters out of Pretty Woman and daydreaming about where we were headed and if our lives would be intertwined forever. I guess we know the answer to that now.

Happy birthday, Honey. I’ll be home soon.

#DearJerry

Ran into some old friends...

I didn’t go to the Dear Jerry show at Merriweather expecting to see The Dead. Those of us who enjoyed those shows, back in the day, know they can’t be replicated. No, I went to this show because I do really like the songs and I like so many of the artists who were performing.

Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann’s Billy & The Kids, Bob Weir, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Miller, David Grisman, Eric Church, Grace Potter, Greensky Bluegrass, Jimmy Cliff, Jorma Kaukonen, Los Lobos, Moe., O.A.R., Peter Frampton Railroad Earth, The Disco Biscuits, Trampled By Turtles, Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band And Communion Featuring Phil Lesh, Stu Allen, Grahame Lesh, Ross James, Alex Koford, And Jason Crosby

And I also went – maybe most of all went – because Andrew wanted me to.

Here’s my review in bullet points. I’d elaborate, but I’m very tired (it was way past my bedtime) and I have work to do. But, if I don’t do this now, I won’t do it. So here goes:

  • Beautiful weather and I always love Merriweather. It’s pretty and they have enough bathrooms. And the food doesn’t suck too badly.
  • Our seats were great. I almost got crabby about the guy infringing on my right, but he backed off with the infringing.
  • At one point, I wanted to sit down and needed to nudge him. I said something like, “Feeling old, need to sit a minute. Can you excuse me?” And he replied “Well, for tonight, you’re not old.” and made way for me to sit. I had two thoughts: 1) I walked straight into that ugh and 2) Who says that? I assume he meant get in the flow and feel the youth and energy but what came out was, you can pretend you’re young for a night but, you actually are pretty old.
  • At about the beginning of hour 3, I started to become aggravated with my pavilion neighbors singing badly over the bands.
  • Not everyone sitting near us smelled fresh.
  • O.A.R. was amazing – probably my favorite.
  • Seeing Jimmy Cliff was incredible.
  • Loved Grace Potter on Friend of the Devil.
  • Someone said “Far Out” to me. I had no idea that anyone still said that.
  • If you drop your water bottle on the floor, it’s over. Because there are so many water bottles on the ground, choosing one is like Water Bottle Roulette. I chose to stay parched.
  • It’s fun to get out and do something different – especially smack-dab in the middle of the week. Shakes things up.
  • We saw so many old and new friends. Love those girls in the photo above; some I see semi-regularly. Some? It’s been years.

Setlist

Set One:

Communion with Phil Lesh: The Wheel > Uncle John’s Band, Standing On The Moon, Liberty
Allen Toussaint with House Band: Get Out Of My Life Woman
David Grisman with House Band & Sam Bush: Shady Grove
Peter Frampton with House Band & Bill Kreutzmann: (I’m A) Roadrunner
Buddy Miller with House Band: Deal
Jorma Kaukonen with House Band: Sugaree
Jimmy Cliff with House Band: The Harder They Come
Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Dave Schools, Bill Kreutzmann & Jimmy Cliff with House Band: Attics Of My Life intro > Fire On The Mountain

Set Two

Billy & The Kids: Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower
Disco Biscuits with Bill Kreutzmann & Tom Hamilton: Scarlet Begonias > I Know You Rider > Scarlet Begonias
moe.: Loser
O.A.R.: St. Stephen

Set Three

Los Lobos with Bob Weir: Not Fade Away > Bertha
Trampled By Turtles: Brown-Eyed Women
Yonder Mountain String Band: Shakedown Street
Bob Weir with House Band: Days Between
Grace Potter, Bob Weir, Matt Burr & House Band: Friend Of The Devil
Eric Church with House Band: Tennessee Jed
Widespread Panic: Morning Dew
Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann & Mickey Hart: Touch Of Grey
Most Of The Evening’s Performers: Ripple

The view from here.

view
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Clearly, I have been doing something other than writing here, right?

I started this blog on January 17, 2005. Ten years ago.

Ten.

My kitchen was green and white – country-style – as it was when we moved into it sight-unseen late summer 1999.

My business was growing, but I was unsure which direction it was going.

My sons were 9, 7, and 6.

I read bedtime stories every night. And loved it.

I was a little freaked out about being over 40.

I baked challah every week.

Andrew and I had time together every night after 7:30 pm. Except poker night. On poker night, I went out, bluffed, and laughed with my friends.

I blogged nearly every day.

This place. This blog. It’s been a wonderful escape and a way to express myself. Back then, it was a way to connect with the world outside my world before we all were so very, very connected. I’m grateful for so many things and so many people – and among them, my earliest ‘fake’ friends, Lori, Jenne, Leah. They, and so many others, made my world bigger. And better.

I think we all knew where this online thing was going… and that we’d be here – where we are now – at some point. Maybe we didn’t know exactly what was coming. But maybe we did.

So, I know what you’re thinking. “You’re quitting, right?”

No. Not right.

I’m just introspective. Ten years have passed and my life is unrecognizable.

My sons are 19, 17, and 16. The oldest is in his second year of college, the middle one starts this fall and the youngest will go fall 2016.

If I read at night, it’s to myself.

I’m sometimes a little freaked out about being over 50. Right now, I’m a little freaked out that my baby sister is turning 50 in a couple days.

I bake challah and pies and French bread and you-name-it all the time.

My kitchen – and my home – suit me. Perfectly. It’s a peaceful, happy place.

My business is growing and I’m learning and challenged every day.

Andrew and I get a little quality time each day, but as the boys get more and more independent, we have freedom we barely remember ever having before the kids were born.

And contrary to my expectations, I’m not sad that they’re independent and busy. I’m excited for them and love who they are and who they are growing to be.

My life has changed. That is true.

But it’s going swimmingly.

I’m not quitting my blog. I’m recharged.

Creating Quality Time With My Son and a Power Sander

table

Originally published July 15, 2014 at the fabulous TueNight.

I love junk. I like old stuff. Interesting shapes. Putting together odd combinations and using items for something other than what they were intended to be used for.

I was also an obsessive flea marketer and garage saler before it was considered stylish. (Is it considered stylish?) I was an upcycler before upcycle was a word.

My husband, Andrew, is an enabler like no other. He humors me on early weekend drives while we follow signs to the next sale or as I pull out my phone to scope them out using iGarageSale and Garage Sale Rover. My teenage sons? They tolerate it. Sometimes.

My oldest son just finished his freshman year of college. He’s an art major. He’s quiet and he likes his solitude. But I really wanted to figure out a way to spend time with him — something that involved a shared goal.

And then it came to me! This kid has the best taste. He’s always decorating his future home in his head, and I am often the delighted recipient of links to gorgeous furniture he’s found online, as well as unusually beautiful ensembles and fabulous homes. Plus, my son knows his way around tools. The natural conclusion was that we make a sofa table together. I’d been looking for one for some time and could not seem to find what I wanted. And much to my joy, when I asked if he would help, he was all in.

So one Saturday not long after, when my fabulous sister-in-law Liz asked me if I wanted to go barn sale-ing, I jumped at the chance. And I brought my son along, too. We took measurements for the table and started the hunt.

We found an old door at our first stop, which was a cute vintage marketplace called Sweet Clover. The piece was leaning unobtrusively against the wall with a $50 price tag. It had lots of personality, in addition to lots and lots of splinters. But hey, we have a power sander.

Fifty bucks seemed a little steep, especially in light of the fact that we were simply planning to take it apart and use a third of it, but before we even had a chance to haggle, the vendor told us she was pulling all her merchandise out that day and “how does $30 sound?”

It sounded great. Sold.

The door fit easily in the minivan and the three of us talked about what kind of legs it might pair well with as we drove home. We decided to order midcentury iron pin-style legs from eBay that night. And the next day, my son and I started disassembling. We pulled nails. We struggled to get the rusty hardware off. It wasn’t easy, especially since we wanted it to stay intact so we could put it back together once the wood was finished.

We sweat. We cursed. We cut wood. Together.

My son and I thought about finishes and tested different ones. We strategized and struggled. We cursed more. But we sure did laugh. And it’s amazing where the conversation can go when you’re not trying to make a conversation.

And did I say we sanded? Oh yes. We sanded and sanded and sanded. Then came the polyurethane and even more sanding. And more poly.

Then we put it all together.

The result was the best five days of my summer. We didn’t just make a table; we made a memory.

New Riders of the Purple Sage

Weinberg Center
Walking past the Weinberg Center in Frederick the other day, I remembered going to see the New Riders of the Purple Sage. We got a flat tire on the way to Frederick. Was André driving? Joe? I can’t remember, but I do remember walking to get help. It was cold. Very cold.

And we didn’t have cell phones because it was February 1979. Here’s an ad for the show:

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 2.48.46 PM

I need to remember that my parents let me go at 17 with friends to a concert an hour away. With no contact method. We had a problem and we solved it.

It’s a great reminder now that my guys are making bigger and bigger asks.

Bedtime stories.

Books

If you were to ask me what I miss most about my boys’ younger years, I’d be quick to tell you I miss bedtime.

No, not because the days were long and I was exhausted. (Though the days were long and I was exhausted.)

No, I miss bedtime because there is something magical about reading those stories again and again with a child. I loved the giggles and the drowsy eyes and the questions. I loved the cuddles and the long hugs. I loved the “one more thing” as I was leaving the room and turning off the light.

I loved transitioning from picture books to chapter books. I loved moving to young adult books. And then, they didn’t want us to read to them anymore. It was gradual. I don’t remember exactly when it ended.

But, I miss it so much.

I’ll tell you this, though. All my guys know the surprise ending of Dinsmore and none of them would ever stand on a swivel chair and they all know how to make Mrs. Peters’ birthday cake.

Sitting at the bottom of the pool.

Diving Helmet
Diving Helmet

When I was a kid, I was a swimmer. I was on the JCC team and we’d swim miles a week. It was hard, I remember, but I loved it. Sure, I occasionally vomited from swallowing too much water and sure, I hardly ever won a race. Still, I loved it.

I loved the quiet of it. I loved how the thoughts in my head were all mine and that I could think – really think – without the outside world or any other thoughts or sounds peeping in. Being underwater was this peaceful place that I owned.

When I was around 10 or 11, my family built a pool in our backyard. We’d swim all day long when it was warm enough, though no one had the stamina of my sister who would do laps until someone made her stop for dinner or bedtime.

So speaking of quiet and being underwater, my dad bought this diving helmet. It was just like the one pictured here. I looked it up:

This helmet was produced in the USA in the 1970’s. In those days it was sold for $49. It was used together with a 12 Volt or 110 Volt air compressor.People used it for fun in their pools or to inspect their boats. It is in fact a modern shallow water helmet that needed extra weights.

We would take turns putting on the heavy helmet and walking into the deep end and hanging out there. My father did it best; he’d take a folding chair with him and set it up the deep and and sit in the quiet. The only sound was the air coming in through the tube at the top.

We were talking about this the other day and he told my boys about the time that my brother wanted to get his attention and pulled on the cord – ala Jacques Cousteau – and disconnected the air cord. It’s funny to laugh about today, but imagine sitting there minding your own business at the bottom of the pool when the water starts to pour in. Scary! And that thing was heavy. (Obviously, my dad was okay and he laughs like crazy when he recounts the story.)

Next week, I start a swim class. It’s been 25 years or more since I really swam. (I used to swim laps back in my advertising agency days before work.) So this class is a stroke improvement and endurance class and I figure, I have no place to go but up. Thinking of the days when I could swim miles without even blinking, I wonder if I can make 10 laps without major effort. But we’ll see.

I am looking forward to the quiet.

Sunday in Paris

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No offense to you curling fans out there, but I find it very amusing to be in a hotel room in Paris watching the sport in German on TV while keeping my sick son company as my husband and other 2 sons venture out to a nice dinner. Aside from snacking on the amazing baguettes we picked up earlier, I plan to order the Japanese dinner from room service. And finish the bottle of wine Andrew & I started late this afternoon after my solo field trip to Marais. What an adventure.

This morning, I hung back with the sick one when the rest of the guys visited Versailles. They loved it. And afterward, I took them to find a pharmacy & to a really nice (and very French/not touristy) lunch.

Now, I’ll look for a pay-per-view movie to watch with the kid – assuming I can bring myself to switch the channel from the curling.

Jumping for joy.

wendyjumping This is me at Blissdom last year. Alli took the pic. And I love it.

In 3 days, I’m jumping on a plane and headed to Dallas. Yes, to Blissdom! I’m having a tough time deciding what I’m most excited about:

  1. Seeing old friends
  2. Making new friends
  3. Teaching/speaking about Using Data for Creative and Impactful Marketing
  4. Hearing Chris Mann sing
  5. Seeing C.C. Chapman speak about Living An Amazing Life
  6. Sleeping in my own room (Sorry, Andrew. But, it’s just 2 nights!)
  7. Offline time with some of my Cabot colleagues

If you see me there, please say hello!