We’ll just say this:
If summertime fun is measured in how many stitches two little boys can get…
Then the Summer of 2013 is freaking awesome.
If there’s one thing no one likes, it’s the shocker.
Let me pause a moment while all you 12-year-old boys out there laugh your asses off.
*waiting… waiting… waiting…*
Are you done?
No one likes the shocker, and I mean the one that shows up right about this time of year, when all you do it stand up, throw off your snuggie, and decide to touch something metal. It feels kinda like this:
Only more painful.
The January joysuck of static electricity.
I swear to all the gods in the heavens I actually almost shorted out the television set. I thought Jim might murder me in my sleep.
But you know what’s even MORE shocking about this January? More shocking than the visible spark that lit up my son’s face as I tried to give him a kiss (and subsequently made him cry and not talk to me for the rest of the day)? It is that at this exact moment, 40 years ago, I was alive. I was here. I EXISTED. Sweet mother of pearl.
I’m not 40 yet. But on January 4 — the best day ever — I celebrated birthday number 39. And as my sister likes to point out, your birthday does not mark that you’ve reached that year, it marks how many years you have completed. Which means I am now in my 40th year.
How did we celebrate number 39? With self portraits on my smartphone:
Then were did what all old people do. We went to the Olive Garden.
When you’re here, you’re family, yo.
I didn’t want to waste the whole freezing cold day of celebratory happiness doing nothing, so I cleaned out a few file drawers, where I was also reminded of my age.
I found the Fisher Price camera my mother gave me. This baby takes 110 film, a flip flash, and according to my mother, it floats.
Then I found this gem:
Why no, that is NOT how you spell my name. But my mother found this novelty item at the moccasin shop in Wisconsin Dells in roughly 1981, and man was she excited to find something with my name on it, spelled correctly or not. Apparently she didn’t realize when you name your kid Marney that pre-printed merchandise with her name already on it would be hard to come by. So she was super psyched about this treasure, and I’m not lying, I was too. Both in 1981 AND when I found it again. I shook it and realized there was money in it. My excitement was slightly lessened when I opened the coin pocket and let that 32 cents pour into the palm of my hand, only to find that every last coin was stamped 1998 or later. Not sure who was using my Wisconsin Dells Marnie wallet, but you’re busted, and your cold hard cash is mine.
This isn’t the only excitement of January 2013. Hockey started again, so we celebrated like every normal suburban family, with a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings where Mom and Dad could watch the game while the kids destroyed their brains with Cut The Rope.
Parenting is so hard.
And of course, January was when I made my trip back to the main land, after our fun-filled trip to Ireland. Can you believe my family took me there for my birthday? Well, you shouldn’t, because they didn’t. We took the parents instead, to mark the fact that not only have they been married 40 years, they’ve been married 10 years on TOP of that.
See how much fun we had? You know what else I learned in January? How to make photo collages on the internets.
The best gifts ever? The ones I brought back.
Little white boys are super cheap in Ireland.
Happy January everyone! Try to stay away from the shocker.
If you blinked you missed it. It’s already a day until October! Holy crap!
I’ve mentioned before my true and utter love of any and all things summer, and how fall might as well be renamed “crush” for the way that it depresses my spirits and horrifies me worse than the time I walked into my parent’s bedroom at an inopportune time. I hate cold weather. I hate it. With a passion. My friends on the face page who live in Florida and Texas are all like “OH MY GOD Y’ALL IT IS SO HOT” and I would like to punch them in the groins.
I’ve made several attempts to savor what it left of the warm weather, but I cannot help the fact that the stars are clearly facing the wrong direction and I can envision the snow piled up all over the sidewalks. I HATE WINTER.
But I have made the best of September I think. It started like this:
That is me in the grey shirt in the center there. What am I doing you ask? Well, I am completing a half-marathon, that is what I am doing! Yes, I started September by running 13.1 miles. ON PURPOSE.
I’ll have you know that this run (well, trot) was not just about proving to myself that I could do it. I decided to make this run after Brendan killed himself, kind of as a tribute to him, but also to really challenge myself and try and see what I could make my body do. And it does not do it fast, but my body sure can push itself. I’d like to think it was a nice tribute to Brendan, even though I was all alone. Although I suppose if there is a heaven, and he was up there watching me do that, he probably thought, “what the hell are you doing?” No one was even chasing me.
But the running bug may be spreading:
If we don’t watch ourselves, we’ll stop being fatties any day now!
Starting off the month with a 13 mile jaunt makes the start of fall just a little better. Here are some of the things I have learned throughout the month:
Now let’s get on with October. I’ve got another 10-mile run coming up, and have to build up my snow shoveling muscles. Summer will be back before we know it!
I was wondering if it was a little too soon for me to post about a really sad thing that happened just a few days ago. But it occurred to me that maybe the best way to write about something tragic is from a time close to it, where you feel it the most, so you remember with the most clarity.
This past week, we lost a friend. Our friend Brendan went home to heaven. And when I say our friend Brendan, I mean OUR FRIEND. As in, if you ever met him, he was your friend. And if you never met him, trust me, he was your friend.
Brendan was just 46, which I think we all know seems just way too soon to leave this earth. And in case it wasn’t clear how many people are crushed by his passing, just a moment on his facepage is all you need. To say that the comments of “miss you” and “gone too soon” are from far and wide is an understatement. We’re talking hundreds of people from all corners of the earth, and these are just the ones who posted on his page. The memories are outstanding. The recollections uniquely descriptive.
That is what Brendan did. The impact he had on your life, no matter how big or small, stuck in your brain, so that when you started a story with “remember that time that Brendan…” the story was crystal clear.
For all the hundreds (and maybe thousands) of times that we visited the fabulous Pheasant Inn restaurant in exotic Briggsville, Wisconsin, you’d think those dinners would run together. But the night we ran into Brendan and his family while waiting in the bar is clear in my mind as if it was last week, even though it was more than a decade ago.
For all the nights we all stayed up and played cards or euchre or some random game involving poker chips and cash, the night Brendan taught us a new game and insisted on throwing in an extra dollar here or there so we could keep going is a crystal clear memory.
For all the campfires we had as a kid, I specifically remember a time when Brendan got into (more than a usual amount) of trouble and pouted like you would.not.beleive.
When Brendan met my husband for the first time, his natural inclination was to dunk the hell out of him.
Even the last time I saw Brendan, just a few weeks ago up at the lake, I remember that brief interaction from start to finish, him sauntering across the back of the lake, shaking hands like he was the Mayor of Summer. “There’s Brendan,” said my cousin, as he came over, talked about the family, said he’d just come up for the day and was getting ready to head back.
And when I told my 10-year-old son that we had lost Brendan, he remembered him as “Joe’s brother who once tossed me around the back of the lake.”
For whatever reason, Brendan had the unique ability to ingrain himself in your memory, to preserve his likeness in your conscious, to make such an impression on you that even if you only saw him once or twice a year, and even if those interactions totaled just minutes, you remembered every second of it, even years later.
A few years ago, we lost Brendan’s son Andrew, also too soon. And when Andrew passed, Brendan spoke to us about “purpose.” The Priest who delivered the homily at Andrew’s funeral spoke about how hard it is to make sense out of tragedy, but that we should remember that every life has purpose. This struck a chord with Brendan. When I was leaving, Brendan said goodbye to me and my sister. “Remember, every life a purpose,” Brendan said. “You’re a writer, Marney, write about that.”
It is a struggle to think about the truth that Brendan is gone. These past few days, he is everywhere. He is in the lyrics of the songs on my radio. He is in the face of that loud kid cracking up his parents at Father’s Day breakfast. He’s in the sound of the kids down the street lighting up firecrackers and bottle rockets. He’s in the summer breeze. For as clear as you could recollect a time with him when he was alive, it’s even more apparent now. Even more crystal clear in the memories of those of us — the hundreds and hundreds of us — who are left behind.
I think for the past few days, the only thing that so many of us have thought is, WHY? Why did this have to happen? And why Brendan? But what it comes down to is, with Brendan and with all of those in our lives to leave us way too soon, it’s not about why. It’s not worth our time and sadness and effort to constantly look for the answer to that question, the answer that will surely never come. Instead, it’s our duty to remember what is more important — that every life has a purpose. Brendan fulfilled his purpose beautifully, as he reached out, touched so many, and left behind a legacy of laughter that will never cease to be. His purpose was to touch those around him, even those who merely just brushed past him in this world. And man, did he ever do it well.
Godspeed friend, and safe home.
Today is May 10.
Many moons ago, on May 10, it was a Sunday, and that day was Mother’s Day. Also on that day, my mother entered the world, kicking, screaming, naked, and mad as hell. Just like every Saturday night since she was 20.
Today is my Mom’s birthday.
I have often complained about my birthday in relationship to Christmas. It’s too close, no one wants to hang out, no one wants to buy you a present, they JUST. GOT. DONE. with all their holiday spending. Bah. But it really did not dawn on me until today that my Mom’s birthday is exactly the same. When she was a kid, if her birthday fell on that Sunday, that must have been sucko. And once she became a mother — which was entirely too young for today’s standards and I’m not being judgy but seriously maybe my Pops could have been brought up on charges — her birthday was a birthday/mother’s day combo no matter WHEN it fell. One gift and done. It’s for mother’s day – AND – your birthday. Enjoy your maccaroni fish picture frame!
How rude was THAT?
Well, here are some truths about my mother:
I know several people who have lost their Moms, most of them way too early. And I know I take mine for granted. But I really do know how lucky I am to have Patty Carey as my mother. Because my Mom is a beautiful lady. And I’m not just saying that because I look like her.
Happy Birthday Mom!!
Love, Your Baby Girl
Ahhhhh, another year older, another year wiser. Maybe. Or maybe not so much?
January 4 this week marked my annual trek into the abyss of senility, as I exited year 37 and kicked into year 38. And you want to know what really learned over this past year? I learned that I am not as awesome in everyone else’s eyes as I am in my own.
I know, right? Says who?
I’ll tell you who says: Facebook.
Facebook has this bizarre ability to trick you into believing several non-sensical truths, for example:
Those last two — man, that’ll get you.
I recently had a Facebook “argument” with someone I do not know. I say “argument” because I do not know this person and therefore was not really arguing with her. I do not know who she is, where she lives, what she is like… NOTHING. Just that we crossed paths on the face page. Via mutual friends we had clearly “crossed paths” before, but honestly, I had never noticed her before.
Long story short — I said something she didn’t like, and she responded, “Keeping it classy per usual.”
Dudes, I was HORRIFIED.
Who is this woman? How dare she!!! What exactly does that mean PER USUAL? Why don’t you just say it to my face? I mean, never mind that I wouldn’t know you from Adam if you were in front of my face. The NERVE!!!!!!!
Then the following things happened on my birthday:
1 – My nine year old son walked into my bedroom at 11 a.m. and said, “Happy Birthday, you want a beer?”
2 – I went to the mall without a bra.
3 – I bought what I would deem as “nice clothing” as Sears.
4 – I received this card from my husband:
(the inside reads, “Wish you a hap-PEE birthday!”)
5 – And finally, we went to a fancy dinner. At the Texas Roadhouse. Where I sat in a saddle on top of a sawhorse while the waitresses yelled “yeeeeeeee-ha!!!!”
That’s not the important part of the story. The important part is, Jim inexplicably told the waitress that I did NOT want my birthday recognized. Which, as he knows, is just plain stupid. I’m a little upset I didn’t get MORE attention on my birthday.
So I pointed my finger directly in his face and said “you better fix this” with a tone that said “you’ll never feel the touch of a woman ever again for the rest of your miserable life if you don’t get those poor minimum-wage paid teenagers to bring their skinny asses back here right this instant and wish me the loudest happy birthday ever.”
Could I *BE* having a better time?
But seriously, look at the woman behind me. How horrified is she? There is NOTHING about this that she finds amusing. Even. A. Little.
So I’m starting to think Facebook girl had a point.
Because look at me, belly roll out, hair swaying, ridiculous smile on my face, oblivious to the death stare coming from behind.
Keeping it classy. Per usual.
So I’ve been having an issue with accountability lately. Seems that a whole lot of the things that I had regularly engaged in as part of an effort to keep myself sane have just gone out the window.
Food — I eat it all, who needs moderation? Not me, I’ll tell ya.
School — why check backpacks, Jimmy will do it.
Television — Okay, okay, not exactly a priority, but as far as down time that I frankly owe myself, well, I have yet to watch a single episode of The Closer.
This space — if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s the sound of my own voice, which translates in these here internets to my blog. More than a month! I’ve skipped five weeks of doing something I enjoy. Bummer.
This month on the facepage, people have been doing something
obscenely annoying totally introspective: The Month of Thanksgiving. Folks from all walks of life are taking time normally set aside for stalking ex-boyfriends and playing mafia wars to list one thing each day for which they are thankful. You know, for Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving in America is all about saying, “Hey Indians, thanks for the food, now step aside while we rape and pillage your land. Oh, don’t worry, we’ll give you “reservations” where the earth is bruised and rocky and the water is completely non-potable but the Bingo far exceeds any expectation you saw in your latest hot sweat vision quest!” And nothing celebrates that sentiment quite like two sentence quips each day on an addictive website built by a millionaire teenage dork.
Well, I have NOT participated in the Month of Thanksgiving. But I am. Thankful, I mean, For all sorts of stuff. So I present to you, 30 days of thanks, all in one convenient package:
1 – Health. Food might be on my list of things I have been bad about, but at least Zumba Stacey keeps me in check. It’s nice to be able to move like you’re one big sass machine.
2 – Beer. How can anyone dislike a food that will trigger you to vomit if you’ve had too much? It’s barley and hops sponsored bulimia at its best.
3 – Teachers. Without them, I’d have to parent 24 hours a day. No thank you. I didn’t have kids so I could watch them.
4 – Naps. Did you ever notice the way children freak the hell out at even the suggestion that they settle down, let alone lie down, let alone close their eyes? Can you imagine if every single day someone said to you, go sleep for no less than 45 minites. Sweet mercy, I would be in heaven.
5 – Pooping. I’m sorry, that just feels great.
6 – Chocolate. I am not a sweet fiend, but even I can appreciate this one.
7 – Chicago. Everyone has their big city, even if they don’t live there. This one is mine.
8 – Aruba. I’ve never met you, but we have a date. January 4, 2014.
9 – The never-ending saga that is Law and Order. Man was I ever pissed when they canceled your flagship show. IT NEVER GETS OLD. bum-BUM!!
10 -Lady Gaga. Self explanatory.
11 -Selena Gomez.. Your songs are so catchy and my sons are deeply in love with you. Sure, I am totally afraid that the day will come when the very magazines I bought featuring you will become my son’s first stroke material. At which point I will want you banished from all things Disney. Just please don’t Lohan on me.
12 – Smart phones. THEY ARE SO SMART!!
13 – The First Amendment. Totally working for me.
14 – Divorce. Also totally working for me.
15 – Pitbull. Possibly the worst artist ever. But I have never in my life wanted so bad to find somebody sexy and tell them hey.
16 – The Omaha Morning Blend. Making my kids stars at least twice a year.
17 – The facepage SO. Don’t ask, it’s secret!!
18 – Makeup. Zits + splotchiness + 38-year-old woman = your eternal customer
19 – The Winchester Brothers. Damn you’re fine.
20 – Central air. Now hear me out. I despise manufactured cold air. I love few things in life the way I love to sweat in July. But with my love comes fear that the rest of the free world disagrees. And no one, especially me, wants to deal with my husband Sybil when the oppressive heat of summer refuses to let go. Even I know when it’s time to flip the switch.
21 – The oppressive heat of summer. That’s why I have both a front and a back porch.
22 – The Chicago Cubs. Because the only way to stay sane is to deal with eternal heartbreak.
23 – Boobs. They’re right there and even these old gals come in handy.
24 – The Happy Place. Where happiness takes place, 365 days a year. I know there is supposed to be some natural rivalry and lifelong disdain between the cheeseheads and the FIBS, but there are few things in this world as truly beautiful as rural Wisconsin. Just so long as we don’t have to collectively bargain to keep it that way.
25 – Kayla and Nancy. A girl ain’t nothin’ without some girls of her own.
26 – Three sisters and one brother, all of whom are in their 40’s. I am in my 30’s. Suck it hags.
27 – My Mom and Dad. I NEVER tell them how much I love and appreciate them. Because clearly, I am a shit.
28 – Jimmy. Seriously, what were the chances of that ever happening?
29 – My boys, Hank and George. If you’d asked me when I was younger if I’d have sons or daughters or a combination, I would have told you sons. It’s pretty much the one thing I was ever THAT right about. I love those kiddos. They are the best thing I have ever done.
30 – Peace, love and happiness. I have it. I should take the time to notice it a little more often.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!