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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cousins, Kitties and Long Lost Uncles

April, Alicia, me and my band of kitties.
Say what you want about Facebook, but you wouldn't be smiling at these cutie patooties attempting to hold captive a litter of gangly kittens circa 1978...(I believe those cats were the Christmas gift that kept on giving.)

No, it's not just a forum to document one's journey to the powder room or grocery store, as the naysayers will be the first to point out. It's about connecting. And as I've been shut in my house for the past...seemingly several years now, it's nice to hear that Johnny went to the movies the other day. Good for him.

Actually, for anyone who is promoting a business, FB is invaluable. But that's a no brainer. I simply felt compelled to note that I haven't seen or talked to my Uncle Dwayne in a really long time. And as I lay recovering from surgery, he's been posting all these old photos to FB - totally brightening my spirits!  Thanks Uncle DJ.

Before my Uncle Stewy passed, I was thankful that I was able to connect with him again. Via FB. I remember exactly when we connected. Thank God. When Mark Zuckerburg came up with the idea, I wonder if he envisioned any of these long, lost implications. Either way, who can deny the goodness?

Heck, my Dad's even on Facebook now. So I'm thinking whatever void that may exist in our father-daughter relationship, will be healed on the social network. Gotta go. Gonna check my FB page. See if Dad's got any messages for me. Or if there are any new photos...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reading - for your Pleasure

Preface - Half of blog was written "before surgery." Finished this blog today...sorry if the ending seems a little "rushed." :) I really did enjoy the book. Actually, I usually post these on my other blog. Sorry - too much pain meds?

When choosing a book to read, my selection usually boils down to
  • a long-standing bestseller,
  • an Oprah pick,
  • a that I'm well-read - and of course living up to my "English degree" from the U of Iowa reputation (and becoming more masterful writer),
  • a spiritual or self-help - for obvious reasons,
  • a non-fiction/business to hone, hone, hone, hone...expand, expand, expand my knowledge of anything really, and/or
  • basically anything that's not wasteful of my time...
Then it occurred to me as I finished reading a book the other day, what's so wrong about wasting time? And does reading always have to be a learning experience? It seems I've forgotten the joy of reading for leisure. So, about this book? Chasing the Sun by Kaki Warner. And it was really good! Quite honestly, it probably wasn't something I would have picked up, but I won it on a blog contest. And I'm glad I did - BECAUSE:

I haven't read a Western since....??? And it was great fun. It was like watching Hopalong Cassidy with my dad as a little girl. And who couldn't love a story with a myriad of strong female characters, tangled love interests, witty dialogue and, of course, despicable villains? Oh yeah, there's a really nice fairy tale ending - my favorite... 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Passing of Uncle Stew

Last week my uncle passed away at the way too young age of 67. I didn't have the opportunity to make it to Texas for his service, which made me a bit more sad. But I was able to share my grief with relatives as they gave me the honor of reading my short tribute at his service on Saturday. Here it is - to share with you all so you can understand the joy my Uncle Stew spread to the world:

The other day I was driving on College Boulevard and saw the house of my cousins’ childhood – also known as my Uncle Stew and Aunt Char’s house. It’s a charming house, and while my visits to the place were limited to occasions such as holidays and graduation parties, its aura brings a smile to my face. And now especially, I won’t be able to pass the residence without hearing my uncle’s unmistakable laugh.

The laugh. His smile. Uncle Stew. Who would’ve thought all that exuberance for life could be laid to rest one day?

-Only Stew could poke his head in front of a camera (on a wedding day photo shoot) and mention, “Pictures aren’t really much fun, unless you’re in them.”  One of my favorite pics is of Doug, Stew and I cutting the cake on our special day.
-Only Stew could cry over a Love Boat episode. Well…only Stew would admit it anyway.
-Only Stew would admit to his pre-teen niece after coming home from rehab, “If I ever won the lottery, I’d say F-___ it. I’m getting drunk.”
-Only Stew could make a somewhat reserved teenager laugh - and even get her to come out of her shell for a bit…no matter how uncomfortable she might have felt. Undoubtedly, I wasn’t the only one.

I don’t have to tell anyone how much Stew’s gift of wit and charm will be missed. He was one of those people that instantly boosted your mood – the type of person you seek out, they type you put “first” on your party list. It was impossible to shy away from the magnetism, because it wasn’t just his “wild and craziness” that drew you in. It was also the way that he showed his true affection. I’m not sure too many uncles would try summer after summer, hours upon hours to coach and encourage “the girl voted most unlikely to ever water ski”. But he did. And eventually (by the time I was maybe a senior in high school), I was able to water ski for a good 30 seconds…We celebrated like I had just taken the gold medal.

A few years ago, I asked my mother a question. “Have you noticed any similarities between my Coley and Uncle Stew?”

At first, she was reluctant to agree. But the more we observed, no one could deny. There was an eerie resemblance. A zest for life. And inability to sit still. And the clincher: a love for their own jokes. When Mom brought this to Stew’s attention, he only replied, “Well, let’s just hope he grows out of it.”  

Well, let’s just hope he doesn’t. Because whether Cole realizes it or not, he keeps the amazing spirit of my uncle within my heart. What a gift.
Uncle Stew...waiting to cut the cake.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Look Honey, Cole's Growing Up...Sorta

It's been a busy week for Cole. Saturday, he started off the week by achieving a "Junior 1st" for the restoration of his 1952 Harley Hummer at the AMCA Antique Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet. Not too many nine-year olds can flash an Antique Motorcycle membership card... nor a fancy plaque like this one. "He" scored 99 points out of 100. (Wonder if Grandpa could've given it one more coat of polish?)

THEN, he started his mock trial program...Luckily he gets to play the part he wanted. Prosecutor, you ask? Defense Attorney? Judge? Unfortunately, no, no and no. Our jet-setting Cole desperately wanted to play the part of "Bailiff." And he was lucky enough to get it.  Doug and I scratched our heads. Why would he want the arcane role of a crusty ole officer? Then he explained. "Mrs. Jones MIGHT let me carry a gun!" By the end of the week, he also had Mr. Bailiff converted into some sort of James Bond character....hmmm. I'm sure Mrs. Jones is handling my son much too delicately.

Judge Me By My Size, Do You?
And last, but certainly not least, Cole has finally joined the ranks of the Kramer four-eyes-club. And what sophistication it brought to his countenance! So, Harry Potter.

With all the happenings this week, it seems my baby boy is growing up too quickly. But he still has his issues when it comes to eating an ice cream cone - it still makes me feel like a...mommy.

Gelato...not just for the squeamish.