Friday, December 23, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

I don't know of anyone who actually knows the words to this song or what they actually really mean, but, to quote my favorite movie of all time, "When Harry Met Sally", it's a song about old friends. 

And, while I'm thinking of it, I highly recommend that you download James Taylor's version of Auld Lang Syne.  It is, I think, the best rendition of the old standard out there.  Kind of makes you want to curl up by the fire with a hot toddy and snuggle up with your very own Hot Todd-y.  Okay, sorry about that.

So, at the end of almost every year people take a moment or two to reflect on the year and think about what it has meant to them....the good, the bad, the ugly.  I have already expressed that for the most part, this year has, well, sucked.  But, as I laid in bed this very early morning, thanks to the insomnia that has found it's way back into my world, I couldn't help but think about how extremely lucky I am for the relationships that I have developed, old and new, this past year.  I almost had to laugh, in spite of myself.  But, I do feel so blessed that in light of all of the sadness that has surrounded this past year I can recognize the beautiful connections that I have made that have made what should have been one of the worst years on record turn out to be one of the best. 

There are, of course, certain people in my life who need no mention.  Their relevance and importance in my life are implicit.  My children, to be exact.  They are my life.  My family, as a whole, is my life.  But, I need to express my gratitude towards my sisters.  They are my heroes.  These are the type of women that should make you proud to be a woman.  My sisters are, perhaps, the strongest, kindest, funniest, bravest, most generous and most loving women that I know.  I am proud to be their youngest (like how I slid that in there?) prodigy.  But, one of my sisters, in particular, has shown me this year that there are no boundaries to her love.  She is a gift from God.  She has gone above and beyond herself to care for our parents.  I worry about her constantly but know that I shouldn't because I'm pretty sure she's got a direct line to the big Guy.  He has put more fortitude and perseverance in that one woman than most of us could even recognize.  Anyone should be so lucky to know this woman.  I am so lucky to call her sister.

I have created new bonds this year that I think have truly changed my life.  I think when you get to a certain point in your life you recognize that you should really just focus your energy on positive relationships and not waste any more time on toxic and exhausting ones.  They just rob you of yourself.

It's important to me to mention a few individuals that have really touched my life this year.  If I were to acknowledge everyone who is important to me then you would be reading this blog up through the new year.  And, I realize that you are all very busy people.

There is a certain red-headed lady whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know.  Not extremely well, mind you, but enough to know that she is special.  She is a cancer survivor and she is fantastically fashionable.  I admire her and am so happy to have gotten to know her.  The brief and few conversations that we have had are of substance and I look forward to getting to know her even better.

As a child I assumed that you would have the same friends for the rest of your life and not make any others.  This is partially true, but, I am thrilled to know that you actually can make new friends, even in your forties!  I feel so fortunate to have become very close friends with a certain gal with whom I have a lot in common.  We bonded this past year over our life circumstances and have in the mean time developed a great friendship.  And, for that, I am thankful!

To a certain beauty queen, all I can say is, thank you.  You have been a rock to me.  I can not express my gratitude enough.  For as much as I know I have driven you crazy (and have actually been crazy) over the years you still stuck by me and helped me get through the tougher times.  I am lucky to call you my friend. 

Of course I have to mention a certain lovely Italian man!  I won't make you all squirm too much, but, I would be remiss if I didn't remark on this development in my life.  All I really want to say is, thank you....for making me smile, and for reminding me what "this" feels like.  Although, "this" is very different this time around. :)

I have had the same best friend since the day I was born.  How many of you can say that?  Yes, we've have our fair share of bumps over the years, but, for the most part, we have remained as close as two women can be.  She is more like a sister to me than anything.  I have to say that I feel like this year brought us full circle back to one another.  Not that we had drifted apart, it's just that there are miles between us and we were living very different lives.  It took a health scare for me to recognize how unbelievably important she is to me and that my world is much better with her in it.  I feel as though we have rekindled our relationship this year and I am so grateful for that. 

I wish I could go on.  In my head I have.  I am, I think one of the most fortunate people in the world because of the amazing people that have graced my life.  I thank you all, and you know who you are. 

Happy Holidays, to all of you.  I hope this finds you healthy and happy...and most of all grateful!  I am very grateful to all of you, for humoring me in my blogging/venting/journaling/writing efforts. Here's to another wonderful year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Sick" Day

As a child I was famous for being "sick".  I had some sort of weird aversion to school.  So, I took on being "sick" as a profession.  My mother was so proud. 

I became an authority at my trade by the 3rd grade.  It helped significantly that I was a toe-headed, shy little girl with the face of an inner devil-child was undetectable to all except for my family and close friends.  And, my 3rd grade teacher was easy prey.  She was months from retirement and had once even told me that I was "cherubic".  I had no idea what that meant, but I knew I had her exactly where I wanted her. 

It was an easy process, really.  First, transform eyes into puppy-dog mode with a hint of a glaze.  Second, pinch cheeks for a flushed appearance.  Third, bend over and hold stomach.  Fourth, breath heavily.  And, finally, exit desk and approach teacher.  Use standard line such as, "Mrs.  Denney, I don't feel....very well."  Proper English always impressed her. 

"Oh, you poor sweet dear" was usually her response.  "Come on now, let's go to the nurse."

Yes!  Score!!  I'm goin' home!  Ooo, settle down, don't blow you're cover.....

Tell nurse the problem, check.  Act extremely pitiful, check.  Go lay on cot while nurse calls mom, check.

The tough sell was, of course, Mom.  And, typically she wasn't in a buying mood.  Unfortunately for her I knew only too well that she would show up and she would take me home and she would save the condemnation for the car ride home.  She had to save face in front of all present school officials as they all too often had on their pooched lips, tilted head "aww" face as they watched my mother sympathetically escort her ill child out of the school. 

Manipulate much?

Well, a little.  Sure.  But, home was awesome.  School wasn't.  And, really, what was I missing out on in the 3rd flipping grade for pete's sake?

The standard speech from mom was, "Julie, you've got to stop doing this.  I know you're not really sick.  You have to stay at school.  I'm not doing this again!  Unless you are throwing up or have a fever, I will not pick you up!"

Until the next time.

I remember once she even sent my older sister to retrieve me.  She brought me gumballs.  That was awesome.

My career came to a halt after that year.  Mainly because I discovered boys.  Perfectly good reason to want to stay at school.

So, Karma, as they say, is a b.i.t.c.h.

Here I am today, using my last paid sick day of the year to stay home with my "sick" 5 year old.  I did take him to school this morning.  As we walked into his classroom I couldn't help but notice that he was particularly quiet.  And very huggy.  Hmmmm...he did not eat his breakfast this morning. 

Then his teacher said this, "He was like this yesterday.  Very quiet.  Kept coming to me for hugs.  Not his normal self."

As I became relatively alarmed I couldn't help but notice the little darlings eyes widen a bit.  But, these symptoms were usually an indicator that something was brewing.

So, I knelt down and asked him, "You feeling okay, baby?"

"Uh, uh."  Dumb question, mom.  You know how this works.  "I'm sick, mommy."

Crap.  Teacher heard.  Sigh. 

"Ummm, yeah.  I think I'd better take him home.  I have a feeling something might be on the horizon."  But, I knew better.  As soon as that statement came out of my mouth I caught a glimpse of a smile cracking on my son's lips.  Little s**t.

He has had a low grade fever, so I feel a little better about that.  Which, I realize, is a tad bit backasswards.  But, you know what I mean.  It wasn't a complete fib, on either of our parts.  It's just the "mom can I play, I'm, can I get up and play now" comments that are ticking me off. 

I'm on to you kid.  I'm a pro.  Don't mess with me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life is Funny

Well, it is and it isn't.  For the most part, yes, I'd say it is.  My life, well, I think most of you know the rhythm of that tune.  It's noteworthy, for sure.  You have to laugh at it, or you'd just, um, cry?

I have been so ready to close the book on this year.  This stupid 2011.  Worst year yet.  Period.  I've been almost twitterpated at the thought of burning said book to fine ash and casting it out to sea.  "Be done with ye 'o damned year!"

I won't bother to list my grievances because most of you are well aware of how this past year has played out for me.  But, frankly, I wouldn't wish the experiences bestowed upon me last year on even my worst enemy, even if I had one. 

Yep.  It's worth repeating. This year has sucked. 

And, then, almost in time for my book burning party, something funny happened.  Not funny in the "ha ha" sense, but, funny in that it was a complete surprise.  A very nice surprise. 

I met someone.

A man someone.  A very lovely one, in fact. 

Funny, right?

After all of my cynical rants and blathering on about how fantastic it was to be single and now I find myself in a state of almost denial about the fact that I am in a deep state of "like"!!  With a man.  A very lovely man.  Did I mention that already?


Yeah.  I've been doing an embarrassing amount of that lately.  But, I have to tell ya, it's so great to be reminded of what "this" feels like.  If I could bottle "this" and sell it, I'd be set for life!  I know you know what I'm talking about.  We've all been there, at least once.  Or at least I hope everyone has had the opportunity to feel like "this". 

"This" could be the cure for divorces.  If everyone were to get a prescription for "this" when they were starting to feel a tad bit itchy in their marriage then all would be well again.  It would probably be better than well.  Things would probably be, well, wonderful.

It really is kind of funny.  I feel a little silly, like a silly little school girl. 

I am keeping the details relatively quiet from my boys as of yet.  But, my 9 year old did ask me who I was going to dinner with last weekend.  I wasn't going to lie to him, but, I was discreet.

"Mommy is going out to dinner with a man.  We're just friends.  That's all sweetie."

Excruciatingly long pause......

"Don't you think you're a little old for that, mom?"


It is soooo different, I will say that.  Even at my ripe old age, though, it's kind of like riding a bike.  But, not.  The difference now is that I am older, maybe wiser, well, probably not, but I do at least have the sense to know that I just need to enjoy the here and now.  Lord only knows what tomorrow will bring. 

What perplexes me most about my current state is that I feel somewhat guilty about being so stinking happy.  I do realize how stupid that sounds, but, I can't help it.  My mother is still sick, my father is still in failing health and there are 3 important people in my life who are in crisis mode as we speak and they are weighing heavily on my mind.  Who am I to be so happy?

Someone recently said to me, "Don't you think you deserve to be happy?"  I actually had to think about it for a minute.  Well, yes, I suppose so.  But, it's just confusing!

My body is certainly confused.  It has completely forgotten how to eat and sleep.  Again, I'm not complaining about the first part.  That's been a welcomed result of my current state.  I guess I am the opposite of most in that I don't eat when I'm happy.  I intend to ride this wave as long as I possibly can!

I suppose that I just need to accept the current circumstances of my life as a gift.  The good and the bad.  And, above all, I need to learn to relax and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.  Come what may.  Right?

As a reformed doubter and hater of all things romantic, I am happy to report that romance is alive and well.  It really has a tendency to sneak up on you when you least expect it.  And, you just never know where that someone is going to come from.....possibly even from some fantastic destination somewhere in the Mediterranean..... :)