Our Valentine

February 14th, 2010 § 0

We were asked to present our ‘love story’ today for a Valentine’s Day service at our UU ‘church’ (I may forever need to place that term in quotes of some form). Seems appropriate to document here, in the spirit of both Valentine’s Day and being in the midst of our 20th year of marriage.  I should note that my beloved and belovedly strange husband managed to ad-lib the term ’24-hour leprosy’ into the mix.  I happily post the text here minus the ad-lib:

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“Storybook Love”

We were honored, but admittedly a little daunted, upon being asked to share our story as part of a service on “the miracle of love”. Religious baggage aside, the bar of “miracle” seems unattainably high, although perhaps we, like many couples well past the honeymoon phase, have grown to take our story, and our relationship, for granted. So we’re grateful for this opportunity to honor each other and share with you a little bit of our storybook on this Valentine’s Day.

Nearly 20 years ago, we walked down the aisle to a little song actually called “Storybook Love”; some of you may know it from the movie “The Princess Bride”. Looking back, the path to the aisle was perhaps a little more miracle than storybook.

The miracle began…

When two 17-year-olds who lived 6 hours apart somewhat begrudgingly went to a college visitation overnight in Peoria, Illinois…

And happened to find each other across a room filled with a few hundred high school seniors…

And walked around outside for hours in freezing cold weather, “talking” until the wee hours of the morning…

And, after they left the following day, a young boy with phone phobia braved his fears and picked up the phone anyway…

And a young girl who already had a prom date felt compelled to invite said young boy instead…

And the young boy’s parents let him spend a summer driving back and forth across the 300+ miles of distance between them…

And they weathered the even greater 800-mile distance separating them (and the astronomical phone bills that resulted) as they embarked on their journeys to college.

And all of that was the easy part!

From this chance meeting, our 17-year old selves from very different backgrounds and bearing very different personalities, built a relationship.

If the people in the world came in 31 flavors, Andrew would be the 32nd. He was irreverent, hilarious, brilliant, volatile, and unrestrained, someone unlike anyone I had ever met – and not surprisingly the child of hippie parents.

To continue the ice cream analogy, even though it’s not very vegan, Julie was afraid to be anything but everyone’s favorite flavor. Good at everything (even things she didn’t want to do), grounded, popular, athletic, smart, with a hidden wild and silly side that was carefully managed in order to not stand out or ruffle feathers.

And yet something about the combination sparked more than tumultuous arguments (of which there were a memorable few); there was something truly miraculous about how the puzzle pieces of ‘us’ fit together and brought out the best and tamed the worst.

The recognition that this was more than fleeting young love must have extended far beyond ourselves; this is the only explanation we can find for why our friends and both sets of parents actually ENCOURAGED us to marry when we were barely 20, before our senior year of college. Even the minister we approached to marry us rallied his support, expressing no reservations about our youth or our differing (Methodist and Jewish) religious upbringings.

And somehow, despite a year of engagement that challenged us in many ways, including witnessing the unraveling of my own parents’ 20-year marriage and experiencing a life-threatening illness only weeks before the wedding, we took the leap.

Over the nearly 20 years since, we have in most senses of the word, “grown up” together.

This is the part where those of you who know Andrew can have your little chuckle about viewing him as a “grownup”.

Through everything, we are each other’s support systems and confidantes. We’ve experienced many of life’s joys and challenges together, and our shared sense of humor and trust in each other often carries us. We are best friends in every sense, sometimes to a fault, as we have to remind ourselves to include others in our world. What I find most miraculous is how different we each are today in many ways from the kids that fell in love at 17, but as we’ve traveled the path of growth together, we always seem to arrive at the same core values and life goals.

The birth of our daughter, Alli, 9 years ago yesterday, brought yet another miracle as we moved from ‘couple’ to ‘family’ after 10 years of marriage. Now we have this little (ok, not so little anymore) creature that is in all ways a product of our love and carries so many bits of each of us in her. It also gives us new perspective and new things to love about each other as we see each other in our roles of mother and father.

I am as in love today as I have always been with Andrew for his unique sense of humor, his frightening intelligence, even his irreverence – but most of all for the incredible amount of caring, kindness and generosity he gives to his family and the world around him.

And I love Julie most for her ability to understand my unique sense of humor, her ability to keep up with my frightening intelligence, and of course her tolerance of my irreverence. I love her for all the same reasons I did when I met her. She makes me a better person. I love that she is still grounded, but that her wild and silly side makes much more frequent appearances, sometimes even overshadowing mine. Who else would pierce their nose as a 40th birthday present for their spouse? I’m constantly in awe of her ability to know how to handle every situation, and watching her as a mother and teacher constantly inspires me.

So on this Valentine’s Day, a day we often let pass with little fanfare, we are grateful for this opportunity to not do so. It is our hope that you and your loved ones, who we know have your own unique stories too, will be inspired to a little fanfare as well.

Of Messes and Wisdom

September 24th, 2009 § 0

So yesterday we weren’t able to do an all-day field trip, as basketball class had been rescheduled to Wednesday for this week. We made do with an afternoon “project” of attempting to attack the nightmare that has become Alli’s room (something I have the unique privilege of interjecting in the ‘curriculum’ as mother and teacher). Several hours yielded only mild progress, which should tell you how bad things were in that jungle. We cleared out a large box of books that we’ll be donating or trading, and found some long-lost treasures that we will both enjoy digging into as part of our studies this year. I find it interesting, btw, that a byproduct of home schooling thus far has been my willingness to adopt a whole new “library rat” mentality – as if books (and “free” books especially – barring the inevitable fines we rack up) are a new-found treasure. It’s a nice place to be, and a nice piece of myself to have rediscovered.

Anyhow, after an afternoon of book and junk-wrangling, and trying to keep my burgeoning frustration with the mess and my daughter’s lack of organization skills at bay (only mildly successfully), we embarked on an “evening field trip” to work at a soup kitchen. Our first experience doing this as a family had been amazing, and last night watching my daughter’s joy at getting the sole responsibility of opening hot dog buns and placing them on guests’ plates with a sincere smile proved to be no less amazing. The numbers are up in soup kitchens these days, not surprisingly, and I feel keenly aware of the almost insignificant turns of fate that separate my own family from other people and families who are struggling so much more.

Andrew made a comment when we picked him up at the train to dash to our serving duties that he was glad the soup kitchen was tonight, because he had run across his homeless friend downtown (a guy he’s sort-of ‘adopted’ over the last year or two, and even taken to lunch a few times) after not seeing him for a few weeks, but on a day when he had no cash in his wallet to offer. Without hesitation, Alli simply asked him, “Why didn’t you just tell him he could come to Evanston for dinner?”

I thought about explaining to her that it was a long way for him from downtown, that he was sick and probably not up for much travel, and that he probably didn’t have train fare to make the trip. I realized instead that here I was looking for justification for why we couldn’t help this man, and overlooking the simple truth that had developed for her – someone is hungry, let’s feed him.

And I let myself feel uplifted by the hope that her generation will hold fast to those kinds of truths, and that the world will be just a little bit better in their hands.

We can study dirt, right?

September 2nd, 2009 § 0

I feel a need to report that I have already come to the conclusion that home schooling and keeping the house clean are not efforts I can co-manage. Mad props to those that do.

Must evaluate whether budget can allow allow us to pursue some help with the latter.

Economics

July 13th, 2009 § 0

Alli has developed a tremendous interest in all things financial. She enjoys coming with on errands, and inspects and keeps every receipt I’m willing to part with. She is even starting to monitor our grocery spending (note to self: put Alli in charge of coupons). She pays attention to prices, and we’ve had many conversations that feel beyond her years about taxes and government spending.

During one of our last visits to PetSmart to pick up cat food and litter, she discovered joyfully that hamsters and rats were both well under the cajillion dollars she had imagined, and thought for a brief moment that she might be able to evade my ban on rodent pets by using her allowance savings to purchase one. This brought on a conversation about all of the other costs that she wasn’t tallying, including the ultimate price that would be paid by said poor creature when OUR NUTJOB CAT that has zero restraint DECIDES TO EAT THE THING.

I had forgotten to warn the Daddy about letting Alli linger long enough at a pet store to inspect prices, so she uncovered more revelations during their visit yesterday. She spent much of the day today waxing about why there was such a huge price range in birds (“Mommy, one was like $14.99 and one was like SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!”).

But mostly she CAN’T STOP TALKING about finding a 15 cent (feeder) fish. While I initially thought she considered this the ultimate bargain, it turns out she found it quite disturbing.

“How is this POSSIBLE, Mommy? FIFTEEN CENTS!!!! FOR A LIVING CREATURE!!!! Shouldn’t a life be worth more than that?”

From the mouth of a babe. I have no counter-argument to offer.

Worlds collide

January 29th, 2009 § 0

I find that it’s difficult to sustain good blogging mojo after as many years as Andrew & I have been doing this shebazzle thang (10? 11?).  It seems particularly difficult now that I’m frittering away my precious free time with my new Facebook addiction.

So, I’m cheating and posting a meme that Andrew & I both responded to on FB.  I think it’s kind of amazing how much we revealed (explicitly and otherwise) by simply fulfilling a request to write “25 random things”.  And as I shared with my husband after reading his, I feel a need to direct people to read his in an effort to explain how he can completely rock my world and drive me nuts simultaneously.

MINE:

1. I’m a pretty open person, emotionally.
2. Most people don’t know I’m almost as crazy as my crazy husband. He will tell you that I’m crazier. He might be right.
3. I love being a mom, most days, but am really not so good at the traditional mom stuff (cooking, cleaning, etc.)
4. I have the worst memory known to man. I don’t think it was always this way. Was it?
5. I have slightly high ideals for how the world should be. Ok, maybe that’s an understatement.
6. I do also expect a lot of myself. Way more than I expect from other people. This has caused me a not insignificant amount of anxiety in life.
7. I’m more of a risk-taker than people think. I disguise it well.
8. I was lucky to grow up in a school that was more racially integrated than most. I can remember hearing a (racist) neighbor calling one of my friends “colored” and thinking she must have rainbows hidden somewhere underneath her clothes.
9. I think I also believed in Santa much longer than my peers.
10. Some people bother me more than they should. I’m working on that.
11. I’m envious of people who seem to be always happy. I wish I could be more like them. Without medication.
12. I cry at almost anything sad or sappy. I especially cry at anything involving children being hurt. I also sometimes cry when people I didn’t know die.
13. I occasionally dream about living on a farm. Or running a bed and breakfast (and yes, I see the irony in that given my skill level on the cooking and cleaning front).
14. Lately I’ve been dreaming a lot about having foster children.
15. I need to make more time for photography. Sometimes I wish I had pursued this earlier or as a career.
16. And then I think about the student loans I just racked up from grad school and I kick myself for thinking that. I do enjoy teaching too.
17. I think I was cut out for a nontraditional career. Am still trying to find the right path.
18. I snore. Always have. My daughter has a cute snore, for now. I have a feeling mine is not so cute.
19. I have a lot of shame about being overweight. It’s difficult to feel that you walk around displaying one of your biggest struggles in life. Some people can hide theirs much more easily.
20. I am working on all aspects of taking better care of myself, and trying to make my health a priority. This does not come easily to me. I am the person who will equip the whole flight with their oxygen bags before finding my own.
21. I would like to go parasailing sometime. Or at least ride a big zip line.
22. I don’t tend to hold grudges. I get angry, I process it, I’m done. I wonder if my husband will agree with that.
23. I like bike-riding. Especially going really fast downhill. It makes me feel free. I need to do more of it. I would like to recapture my more athletic days.
24. I can ski, kind-of. I’m not so good at the turning side-to-side thing or the stopping thing, but I like going down hills really fast. I guess it’s obvious by now that I’d like roller coasters.
25. I love easily. I especially love my husband and daughter. I am trying to come to terms with the possibility that we may end up as a family of 3. We’re a nice family.

HIS:

1. I know that many people will expect me to use the words “goats” or “chicken” in this list. But there is absolutely no way I will use either the word “goats” or “chicken” when typing out this list. So, please, adjust your expectations now (Marie). No goats. No chickens. No bull. No shebazzlin’.

2. I hate this. Everybody claims to hate this. This does not seem like a random thing about me, or anyone, really. Nobody really likes to talk about themselves, do they? At least to other people. I’m happy to talk to myself about myself. I usually avoid using the words goats or chickens in the process. However, I do often talk to myself. I can usually not do it in front of other people, however I will sometimes get busted talking to myself when walking home from the train and I don’t realize that someone is walking behind me or coming out their front door…also, very often at work, I talk to myself. This used to be sort of embarassing, but I’ve learned to roll with it. I talk to myself. I sing to myself. Why wouldn’t I? Deal with it.

3. I tend to avoid serious situations by deflecting them with humor. This usually drives people nuts. Especially my wife. What people don’t usually understand is that I’m still being serious on the inside. I just don’t like uncomfortable situations. Well, that isn’t totally true. I do like creating uncomofortable situations (that amuse me).
That also drives my wife nuts.

4. Speaking about worry… I am borderline OCD at times. I have to check the front door lock about 15 times a night before I can go to sleep. On the odd occasions where I find that I had neglected to lock it earlier in the evening I will do a small victory dance and feel vindicated and justified in performing this behavior for another 6 months. I often make excuses to go to the kitchen a few hours after dinner just to make sure all the burners are turned off. I press the lock button on the car key fob about 6x just to make sure the car is locked. I even “lock” the car doors as I pass the car on the way back from walking home from the train. I still check to make sure Alli is breathing in the middle of the night when I go to bed and anytime I wake up to pee. There are many more, I don’t think I’m even conscious of them all.

5. I really want to have my facebook status read “Andrew Bernatein ain’t afraid of no ghosts” just because it would humor me. Alas, it would be a lie. Ghosts petrify me. I do not like the word “ghost” to be uttered in my house for fear it will disturb any spirits hanging out in our 80 year old building. We had a (several?) ghost in our old apartment building in Evanston. Thankfully, he wasn’t too scary. Not like the one that was in the front hallway there. Marie and I named the back stairwell ghost “Max” and tried to help him get to the other side. Our significant others mocked us. I didn’t think that was wise at the time.

——Beginning of the “Andrew is not only crazy, he’s a chicken” section——

I’m afraid of a lot of other things too. Four of them that pop to mind are…

6. Dogs. Dogs scare the crap out of me. I have gotten better over the years, but I’m still afraid of all dogs until I get to know them and there are very few dogs that do not scare me after a time. Julie will claim that one time when we were walking her Mom’s dog, and a crazy rabid giant dog ran at us, that I ran away across the street and left her for dead. This is totally not true as I did what any sane person would do, which was to run away from danger. I assumed my wife was smart enough to do the same.

7. Heights. I am scared of heights. Being inside a building at a height does not scare me. Walking up normal steps does not scare me. Standing on a 3 step ladder to change a lightbulb SCARES me.

8. Public toilets. I do not like to do my “business” in public restrooms. As I have aged, I have loosened this restriction a little in emergency situations, but I LOATHE public restrooms. I like to poop on my own turf. Or at least friendly turf. One time when we were out of town visiting a friend, I borrowed his car to drive myself from the restaurant we were at to his house (abt 15 minutes away) during the middle of dinner just so I could make a deposit in his bathroom rather than the restaurant.

9. Lightning. Terror consumes me. I run like a small school girl from the car to the house. I have to fight back tears when I walk home from the train in a thunderstorm.

——End of the “Andrew is not only crazy, he’s a chicken” section——

10. I hate the Dave Matthews Band. Hate is not strong enough of a word, actually. Despise? I don’t know. Kill me. One of my most prized posessions is a folded piece of paper I found in a park while walking to the train about 7 or 8 years ago. It was a piece of yellow construction paper that said “Bob Sagat is the Devil and the Dave Matthews Band worships him.” If I wasn’t afraid of needles (should i put that above), I’d get that tatooed on my bad self.

11. I could fill the rest of this with the common answers to the vegan questions. Yes, even though I am “husky” I am vegan. No I did not go vegan for my “health”, but I’ll take any extra health mojo I can get. Yes I feel better now than when I was vegetarian, and yes I felt better as a vegetarian than as a meat eater, but in the end, you just adjust and it all feels normal. No, these shoes are not leather. Yes, they look like leather Yes I can show you the website that sells them or the label on the inside to prove it. No, I do not miss X, where X, most likely equals CHEESE. I still have nightmares about the time I ate goat. Why vegetarian to vegan? You don’t really want to know. But if you insisted that you did, you’d hear something about how I realized that many of the animals I was trying to avoid torturing were still being tortured by the dairy industry. Then you’d ask me how cows on a dairy farm are tortured and I’d try not to tell you, then you’d keep pestering me and I’d tell you more. And then I’d start to get annoyed because I’d start feeling guilty again about the first 38 years of my life. Yes, you are right, I had no idea that plants have feelings too. Wow, what a revelation. I’m going to eat a hamburger now, jackass.

12. I miss my mom. Miss is the wrong word. And it isn’t so much my mom (though I do miss her in the traditional sense) but rather all that comes along for the ride there. But “miss” is close enough, I guess.

13. I met Julie on April 3, 1987 while we were high school seniors looking at colleges. We had our first kiss on April 3, or April 4 in the wee hours of the night. She’ll claim the opposite, but she totally kissed me first. I waited up the rest of the night after I dropped her off at the dorm she was staying at to make sure we could exchange addresses. I still have the little corner of the piece of paper she wrote her name and number on. I laminated it. I like to laminate things. Watch your back. I might laminate you.

14. I am good at making acquanitances. I am not good at making friends. Or I’m not good at understanding who is my friend and who isn’t. I have high expectations. I have a lack of follow through. I have a force field of humor, wit and sarcasm protecting me at al times. I am judgemental and snobby. I am an evil evil person. Or I’m just a loser. I don’t know. Julie is my best friend. Alli is a really close acquaintance.

15. I am addicted to kale. This week between Wednesday and Thursday, I ate a one pound bag of kale. I hope we get a community garden plot this year in order to grow kale. I am also addicted to sriracha. I do not know if you can grow sriracha bottles, but I’ll look into that closer to the growing season.

16. I cannot remember any punctuation rules from school. I’ll often cover for this by just throwing out some “…” and stuff. or just dropping punctuation all together. I am looking forward to Alli learning all these rules so she can re-edify me. Oh, I also tend to not use spell check. I also don’t proofread what I wrote. I regret these

17. Spoons and cups are loaded topics. First of all, you are an idiot if you don’t believe that certain beverages taste better out of certain forms of cups. Water, for insance, should NEVER be drunk out of a ceramic Coffee Tea Club cup. It is wrong. You could die from doing that. Stop now. Same with juice. Of any kind. The list goes on… don’t get me started. Also, you cannot drink water out of a cup and then put another beverage into it afterwards. That is just gross. Though, in our house, since I do most of the dishes, I’ll allow it to happen for Julie and Alli, but I would never do that myself, cuz I don’t want drink cooties.

Regarding spoons. Spoons trump forks. Grapefruit spoons are close to being the ONLY utensil you need. If they were a little larger to account for the eating of soup, methinks we’d only need one kind of utensil in our drawers. Beware, however, spoons can be evil. You don’t want to be caught eating out of some freaky spoon. I can’t describe a freaky spoon, but I know them when I see them. When you are met with a freaky spoon, you may need to use the fork more than you would, but suffice it to say, you are using your fork too much, and your spoon not enough. I know you. I know this is true. You can admit it.

18. I hate the telephone. If I don’t call you, don’t take offense. I hate the telephone. I hate the telephone. I do not like it at work. I do not like it at home. I hate the telephone. As a kid I was afraid (chicken alert) to call places for fear they might…I don’t know, come through the phone and mock me. I would be, for instance, afraid to call a bowling alley and ask if they had open bowling today. As an adult, I’d like to say that has changed. I can’t. I’m still afraid to call people on the phone. I inherited (learned) this from my mom. On a related note, I love my iPhone. Maybe a little too much.

19. I wish I was a better father. I constantly worry that Alli and I won’t be friends when she grows up and this makes me sad.

20. My wife is the smartest human I have ever met. I wish I did a better job of convincing her how amazing she is. At everything. I love her more now than the day we got married. I wish I could do a better job of convincing her of that as well.

21. If I am mocking you, it means I either like you or I hate you. Or both. Or it could just mean that you are alive. Oh, wait, or dead too. I might have a tendency to be a little sarcastic. I’m not sure people notice. I can be quite subtle and tactful. I think those words describe me so very well. Add normal in and you have a wonderful trifecta. Subtle, normal and tactful. Andrew Bernstein. Boo yah.

22. I have not been to a White Sox home game since Julie surprised me with a ticket for Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. I am not sure any game will ever live up to that. I did see the White Sox on the road a few times since then and Alli and I did go see a woman’s professional softball game as well. I miss baseball. I miss playing, reading, simulating, living baseball.

23. I am constantly convinced that nobody likes me. I’m needy like that.

24. I humor myself. A lot. I never get tired of the following jokes:
“On purpose?”
“I used to date __________ back in 1972”
The fist

25. I often say that I am psychic and telekinetic, yet haven’t harnessed the powers yet. I am only partially joking. I am 53% sure that I am psychic (I knew I was going to say that.) My parents did a lot of drugs when I was a kid, so who knows if this is true, or just the qualudes talking, but I was tested at the University of Chicago for psychic ability cuz I predicted something or another. I often have a feeling of deja vu, I attribute this to the untapped psychic ability. I have other examples. I’m too tired to list them.

On the telekinetic thing, I just need a few hours to sit down and master the skill, and I’ll show you all. Just like juggling. Nobody thought I could do it. Three balls and one afternoon later, who had the last laugh? Me. That’s who.

Another delightful addiction…

January 29th, 2009 § 0

Alli Obamicon

http://obamiconme.pastemagazine.com/

If you weren’t thrilled yesterday, maybe don’t read this one…

January 21st, 2009 § 0

However lame my attempt at documenting bits and pieces of our life has been of late, it would be an incredible oversight to not have commented on the enormity of the history that has been made with the election and inauguration of President Barack Obama.  I have been surprised at the level of emotional impact it has had on me and the degree in which it has enabled me to shift my views about our country and our future to include glimpses of positivism.

The obvious initial enormity, and perhaps the explanation for a good amount of the emotional tears I shed, is that a whole generation of youth of many colors are now being raised with the actualization of at least one of the dreams of the civil rights movement.  I don’t mean to imply in any way that our nation doesn’t yet have a long way to travel on the path to ending racial divides and discrimination, but that my daughter gets to grow up in a world where this barrier was broken and where a man of color is valued at this level for the content of his character by a majority of our nation gives me great hope for the future.

My daughter was born during the 2nd month of George W. Bush’s first term.  I was in the middle of a mom and baby yoga session with the 7-month-old version of her when the towers fell on 9/11/2001, after which our country’s rhetoric and actions in the international scene surpassed even my wildest nightmares of what a rogue bully might look like, and did so with the accompaniment of much flag-waving from a citizenry that in large part seemed to buy into the ideals of invasion, war and hate in the name of preserving “the American Way”.  I say this not in any way to condone the events of 9/11 or to minimize the profound loss experienced by so many, but I have been completely unable to understand why we as a nation have seemed unable to look at ourselves in the Global mirror to reflect upon what has bred the kind of anger that fueled that and other terrorist actions.   Instead, we have chosen to give the world an even heavier dose of the same, and have taken it upon ourselves to effect unilateral decisions and to continue to assert our (political and) economic goals at the expense of others.

It is heartening to hear a leader who isn’t putting the same rhetoric out into the world, and who seems to understand the need to extend a hand of partnership before marching out with guns blazing.  I am encouraged to hear someone who seems even moderately aware of the extraordinarily large footprint we make ecologically and economically on this Earth, and is interested in investigating alternatives over preserving the status quo.  I’m further heartened by his ability to convey not only a positive message, but also a pragmatic assessment of the place in which we currently find ourselves as a nation.  Most of all, I’m hopeful about his ability to convey the difficult message to the people of this country that he comes to this role as a leader and not a savior — that we all need to be engaged in the business at hand.  The amount of people who have already been mobilized by his message to participate in the election and inauguration process is, I hope, an indication of a beginning of standing up to participate in the world in a new way.

To participate in a shift of culture from war-think to peace-think, from consuming to preserving, from pursuing self-interest to caring for the global community — these are the greatest gifts that we can give to our children and our children’s children.

I am hopeful, and maybe even cautiously optimistic.  I won’t be belting out the Star-Spangled Banner on any streetcorners, but I can bear to look at the flag and feel something postitive.  And that is indeed big news.

Would be a nice spot for a lemonade stand…

July 11th, 2008 § 0

Extreme Home Makeover (a la Ty Pennington) is currently doing the house literally right across the street from my sister’s (so much so that one of the cameras is mounted on her house’s roof).  Apparently it’s quite the production, with the neighborhood practically becoming a gated community/film set for the next week. My sister and her husband got to witness the big kickoff, and just left for an extended weekend anniversary trip to Atlanta, but will be back in time for the big reveal next week. If you’ve ever doubted that this stuff actually gets done in a week, I guess we’ll know for sure!

[link removed due to highly irritating unchangeable auto-run feature]

All of the neighbors were solicited well in advance by the production team, and had to sign a variety of permissions (and I think are reimbursed for a variety of things, including any damages to their property). I assume this pre-production also included zoning and construction planning and approvals. Apparently there were 3 “contenders” in the Cincinnati area that were all scouted out this way in advance, and ultimately only one is chosen — imagine it would be heartbreaking to be one of the other two.

Passages

June 5th, 2008 § 0

I just kissed my first-grader goodbye for the last school morning. When I pick her up this afternoon, she’ll be a full-fledged 2nd grader. I did my best to hold the tears in until I got home. There’s something about this particular transition that heightens the nostalgia ante for me — both Kindergarten ad 1st grade have a certain “beginning-ness” about them, and I’m finding myself more and more having to acknowledge this new phase in my child’s life — something that’s not quite a beginning anymore, but more like a work in progress.

This past weekend, during her dance recital, I was awestruck by this brilliant, beaming, self-assured, graceful young performer. I was equally awestruck by the chasm now separating her from the teeny tiny beginning dancers that were her only a few short years ago.

Then:

danceold.jpg

and now:

ballet1.jpg

This growing up thing, it’s been happening like lightening right before our eyes. And if I don’t clear the tears that mourn the passage of time, I might miss out on being able to bask in the beauty of the masterpiece in progress.

softball.jpg

You go, girl!

Grammar bandits

May 23rd, 2008 § 0

39105584.jpg

No offense, Andrew, but if I weren’t already married, these guys would be on the short list…

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