Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sometimes the best of intentions and the highest of hopes can't work together to produce a merry little Christmas, no matter how hard everyone tries. In the case of our family, the larger the group, the more chance something crappy is going to happen to set everyone a-tizzy. This year, my sister and I spent hundreds of dollars on food, hours and hours on cleaning and preparing and planning to have it all turn to a quivering mass of neurosis and insecurity. It is like a chain reaction in this family. When something happens to set one person off, it causes a ripple effect that goes through each and every one of us and brings every unattractive personality trait in each person directly to the surface. Night one started out as planned - everyone was enjoying and chatting and feeling the anticipation of good times to come. Then it happened - one person stated an opinion, the second person dissed the first person and we were all off and running. Some tried to defuse it, but you can't defuse a bomb that has already gone off. Over the next several hours, one family retreated to safer ground for the evening, and the next night an entire branch of the family tree decided not to attend. In the midst of all of this were many secret meetings and discussions, and all manner of analysis. In the end, despite all of our best efforts, everyone left the holiday celebration feeling a little screwed and a lot relieved that this Christmas is now history. Next year, I am seriously contemplating a trip to Hawaii!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I've been thinking about nursing homes lately. Then today I saw a commercial with Dennis Hopper telling us that when we are senior citizens things are going to be very different and that he doesn't see us baby boomers going to Bingo Night. I agree totally with that! I think by the time we baby boomers hit old age in record numbers, we will have a whole different gig going on. I predict we will be setting up communes with of course some medical staff coming in to take care of those kinds of concerns. A commune would have lots of advantages. We could all live together under one roof, pool our resources, and finally start living life with the goal of enjoying more and worrying less. I can just see us doing our part to keep the place running smoothly, gardening, writing music, poetry, books, listening to some good music on the sound system, sewing, cooking and enjoying good food, and engaging in as much fun as we are physically capable of.

As we have gotten older, we've longed for those carefree days. (I wasn't all that carefree, since I decided to get married and start a family at a young age). For me it will be my first chance at really being carefree, and going for the gusto in life. We could probably take some of the nursing homes now in existence and re-do them. Make them actually pleasant, and get some fun going on there. Friday night concerts would be good - or maybe an ongoing Karaoke bar right on the premises, and coffee houses with beat poetry being read. Fun, all of the time. No news shows on the television set - just re-runs of all of our favorite TV shows. Of course we would have the freedom to tune into the reality of life, but I doubt we would. We can for real drop out and turn on.

No horrible nursing home meals for us, no activity director - just good food cooked by the current residents, lots of Motown coming through the speakers - and an after-dinner glass of wine, just to make the night go a little better. Maybe we could even bus on over to some baby boomer version of Woodstock a couple of times a year. Dylan will still be there reinventing himself. And Mick Jagger will still be able to strut across the stage and he'll still be hot. We definitely have to get busy and get this stuff changed around before we get to that point. Who knows, maybe in the near future, we'll figure out how to live to be 150. We're getting there!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chuck E. Cheese rocks! At least that is what my little grandson Cole thinks. We went there today, along with my sister - Auntie Jackie. First we all had to have our hands stamped with the same number, so that if by some fluke of nature one of the giant tv sets that are anchored to the ceiling should fall on both of us at the same time, no one could take advantage of that to sneak away with our little darling boy. When you leave you have to show that your number matches his, or it's no-go. You don't get past that little girl who is standing security at the door. Never mind she doesn't understand a word of English, she still would be a formidable obstacle I am sure, if she needed to be.

The pizza wasn't bad, the dinner entertainment, which consisted of a very large gray mouse looming over us, as music videos played on all of the monitors could have been better. They could have had that big mouse actually doing something, which would have been at least a little bit interesting. I remember the old Show Biz Pizza from when my kids were young, and in those days there were three stages filled with animatronic creatures of all kinds. There was music, there was comedy, and just great all around entertainment for the kids and their parents too. My kids loved it.

Little Cole however, doesn't know about Show Biz pizza, so he thought Chuck E. Cheese was just great, boring big gray mouse and all. He loved putting his coins in the machines and playing the little games - each one different, but surprisingly odd and hard to do for a little guy. Never mind! He did what he could do, and the tickets came out anyway. The Skee balls were way too heavy for him, and even though he gave it his best shot the darned things just kept rolling backwards and on to the floor - almost nailing a toe or two in the process. Grandma and Auntie Jackie had to help them along alittle.

The pizza wasn't bad - for us, a combination of Canadian Bacon and black olives. Cole loves him some black olives. The crust was pretty good - just a little sweetness - for a kid's tastes. And in the end we had around 60 tickets! Enough to get one of those little rainbow colored styrofoam airplanes that Grandma almost ruined in the process of constructing it. All of that fun and merriment for the low price of $$$. A good day for Cole though and that is what counts in the end, to this Grandma and the much loved Auntie Jackie.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nanny Deb is full of crap. If anyone has watched that popular television show lately, it would seem that if you are having any kind of trouble at all in dealing with a child, Nanny Deb will show you the way. Well, I tried about a dozen of her techniques today, and I beg to differ!!

My grandson has been spending a few days with me over the weekend, and we mostly do pretty well together. However today he was having a particularly active day, and Grandma wasn't getting going quickly enough to TARGET, his favorite place in his world - except for Disney World. He decided to spend the time while he was waiting for me raising as much hell as he possibly could in an effort to nudge the old girl along.

I usually don't get too much into the discipline end of his upbringing, because after all I am the Fairy Grandmother! Today though, I felt an obligation to set him in the "naughty spot" since his behavior was bordering on naughty. Now, I hasten to add naughty for him is nowhere near naughty for a lot of other four year olds, but as I said, I felt a bit of a responsibility to remind him that naughty wasn't going to get Grandma going any faster.

I sat him down on the naughty spot aka the bottom step, and he proceeded to turn into a jelly fish and quickly slither to the floor. I picked him up, set him down again, and reminded him that he was going to sit on the naughty spot for four minutes (one minute for every year of age). Slither and slide this time. After some quick thought, I decided to sit down directly in front of the little darling, and meet him eye to eye. Now there is the rub. When this boy does not want to look at you, he will not look at you. Those eyes that look absolutely adorable in any picture you see of him, went from left to right, up, down, around, and lots of directions I didn't even know eyes could move, but no way did they meet my eyes. I took his chin and said, "Look at me when I am talking to you." Nope no way Grandma. He looked nonchalant, staring upward as if his chubby little Grandma didn't even exist in his universe.

Time for the big guns. I took his little hands in mine, and held them in his lap, as I placed my hand on his chest. I spoke intently, kindly, succinctly, and with a great deal of authority as I gave him my best speech about how "Grandma has to tell you things sometimes to keep you safe, and it is very important for you to do what Grandma says at these times." Still no eye contact and the upward eye roll, following by a flick to the side. "Do you understand Grandma?" No response. Now this child is a normal kid, with all kinds of normal emotions, but man when he wants to stonewall you, and I have been stonewalled by a few, I can honestly say no one does it better than him. I'd like to see old Nanny Deb crack this one!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dog Joy. Have you noticed that dogs have a certain innocence and loyalty that you just can't find in the human world? They will take whatever you have to give them at the moment - a scrap from the table or an ear scratch, or even a reprimand, because it means you are paying some kind of attention. They will sit at your feet for hours while you work - completely content to be in your company. Good friends, these dogs of mine, but I'm not typically an animal person. I am more than a little self absorbed, and usually the only people that can supplant my own needs are my husband, my kids and my grandkids - not necessarily in that order. There are downsides to dog ownership however. For instance when I am eating, they both sit at my feet and watch every damn bite that goes into my mouth. If I should drop a crumb, they both scramble to retrieve it like a school of piranha after an unsuspecting frog. And, when I accidentally drop my hand to the seat of my chair while at the computer, one of them is there to lick it! I am a certifiable germophobe and dog slime does not make me happy, especially on my hands. I completely understand Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip when she screams "Get hot water! Get some disinfectant! Get some iodine!" And on the subject of icky, I really hate having to go outside with them and wait for each of them to finally decide to poop! Not only do I have to stand there and witness the poop coming out of them - something I would never choose to do - but I have to bend down and scoop it up in a plastic bag and carry it all the way home to dispose of in my handy dandy Diaper Genie in the garage. I don't like smells, and I don't like disgusting sights like that, and YUCK! There I am picking up dog poop! And why do they have to poop so damned much? It is a good thing they are so cute. Their little perky schnauzer ears and spunky little bodies almost make up for the downside, especially when I am sad and they know it, and they just come and sit beside me just to let me know they care. AWWWW! Maybe I am a dog person after all.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Today is Jon's birthday. It has been 5 months since we found each other, and the time has gone very quickly. I was so excited all day yesterday to know for the first time since he has been born, I get to be at his birthday party. Every other year, his birthday has been a day of quiet reflection for me, when I spent the time wondering where he might be, and constructing scenarios in my mind about what he might be doing, where he might be, what he might look like, and all the time the nagging doubt in my mind that he might not be alright at all, because at the time of his birth, I was overcome with anxiety about his well-being. Now I know...that he is a wonderful guy, talented, witty, intellegent, good looking and most of all kind and caring. He is everything I could have ever dreamed he was, and more. And Nadija and Brook are all a part of this wonderful new chapter in our lives. It is all good, and more than adequate compensation for all the years of sadness that used to surround his birthday. October is once again a month of possibility for me. It used to be that way when I was a child. October was always an exciting time, since my birthday and my two sisters' birthdays fall in October and fall - the best season of the year was in full swing. When Jon was born and I had to give him up for adoption, October became a bitter sweet month for me. Now, it is once again a month of pure joy and unending possibility.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

When I was roughing it the north woods of Minnesota this past week, I saw something that made my heart sing. Although I was hating the rustic cabin with its lack of air conditioning and plotting my escape, I decided to go out and sit in the screened sun porch to watch the fireworks over the lake. As I was waiting for the darkness to descend, I spotted something that got me as excited as I have been in a long time. Fireflies!! Precious little fireflies darting all over in my field of vision. One of them even came close to the screen to blink a special hello just to me. I haven't seen fireflies in decades. I had thought maybe they were extinct or something as a result of our toxic lifestyle. There were only a few, but they were there and seeing them brought me back to the days when I was a little girl waiting outside my grandmother's house on the 4th of July for the annual fireworks show at Roosevelt Park just across the street from where she lived.

We usually had a 4th of July picnic at the state park nearby and ended the day at Grandma's house She would have a smudge pot going to detract mosquitoes and we would run in and out of her house snacking on watermelon and just generally being kids. She was always very tolerant of kids, and we could do pretty much as we pleased at her house. When we were in trouble she would usher us to a big wooden closet with her fur coats hanging inside. It was fun to climb in there and hide from Dad while she worked her magic - calming him down for our eventual return to civilization and his inevitable disciplinary action.

Those miraculous little fireflies made an otherwise dull evening something special for me. Even if I didn't have air conditioning!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Things seem to be going well in the reunion with my birth son. He is such a joy in my life. I find myself to be a bit obsessed with catching up with him and learning all I can about him. There should be a time when something like this happens when the two people most affected would be able to get away together to a place of comfort and quiet, so they can talk for hours and just enjoy each other's company.

I find myself looking at his pictures several times a week, and then just pinching myself when I realize that I finally know who he is, where he lives, and all sorts of details about him. I have heard his music (which I absolutely love) and I have read his writing. We both have a love for the written word which makes communication back and forth absolutely spectacular.

We have had one get-together at this point when we invited members of my family to come and meet him. It was a potluck. We all made something to share, and the food was so good! The party was easy-going and everyone seemed to have a great time. The absolute best part of the day was finally meeting Nadija, my granddaughter. She is a beautiful brown-eyed girl, with long dark brown hair. She was in my dreams as the absolute perfection that she is, before I ever met her. I always told my daughter Charisse that I wished to have a brown eyed grandchild. I told her that in jest, but in my heart, I have always wished to gaze into those brown eyes, and now I have. People tell me she looks very much like I did as a child, and let me tell you that warms my heart too. I feel so related to both Jon and Nadija, just naturally. It is a feeling that comes from a soul level. I am now truly complete, and it is a marvelous feeling!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Week two of life now that I know my birth son. The first week of this wonderful adventure has been akin to the euphoria one feels after giving birth to a newborn baby. This son is a newborn 35 year old to me. I find myself investigating his face to see whose eyes he has, whose nose, whose mouth, all of it. And on it goes. He'll be very lucky if his aunts don't make him take off his shoes so they can see whose feet he has. I do know he has his birth dad's dimples and a very nice combination of both of my brothers in the eyes and mouth and hair growth. He is a kind person, I can tell that and considerate. What a treat for a birth mom to find her son and share so many similarities with him. It is so easy to know him. I know now that even though we were separated physically, our souls were linked always. I feel at ease for the first time in 35 years.

I know that although I have all of these maternal feelings toward my son, he probably doesn't even want all that much mothering at this stage in his life, so I restrain myself from fussing over him and "smothering" him. I will just treasure the times we can have with each other as time goes by, and I am grateful that we are both young and healthy and have lots of time to spend enjoying our unique connection.

I also realize that I have an almost neurotic desire to know where he is from now on, because I don't want to lose him again. I've spent too long looking for him. I also know that I will always let him know where I am, because I don't want him to ever wonder where I am either. We both spent too much time looking for each other, to lose track of each other ever again.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The last 36 hours have been amazing. Not only have I gotten well acquainted with my son, but my oldest son and I have met with him and his wife Brook. My stomach was doing flip-flops on my way over there, but it also felt like the most right thing I have done in a long time. I got there early and couldn't even sit down waiting for them to arrive. They arrived a few minutes later, and I think I just giggled at the sight of him. I felt completely filled with and overtaken by joy. It was the kind of shock you feel when someone tells you you have just won the lottery. That moment - the moment of first laying eyes on his dear face stayed with me all through the night - every time I woke up (which was several times I might add).

The first order of business was my ability to look at Jon's baby pictures. He was a beautiful child - perfect in every way. It was therapeutic in so many ways to be able to look at those pictures and linger on each one, imagining what it must have been like to spend those days and years with him.

The next pictures were of him, his pretty wife Brook and daughter Nadija. I was so grateful that they brought those. Some day I will have to have them come to my Lakes House so I can let them look through the numerous bins, boxes and albums of pictures that I have there.

Yesterday goes down as one of the best days I have ever spent. I was thrilled and gratified that my sons liked each other instantly and today when I look at the pictures, Jon looks like the perfect younger brother to Brett, and the three of us look very much alike in many ways. I only wished my daughter, their sister Charisse could have been there in that picture too. We will have to have that happen soon.

I enjoyed meeting Brook. She is one of the most open, true, caring people I have ever met. She obviously loves Jon and cares about him deeply. She was fun to talk to, and is intelligent and witty too. I look forward to trading writing stories with her in the future.

I am excited to meet Nadija. She is a gorgeous brown-eyed girl with the a cute porcelain doll face. I hear she is already blessed with 4 grandmas and I get to be one more. Lucky me!

And today was fun again talking to Jon off and on about his medical history and complaints that are identical to mine. I was able to give him some tips that I have gleaned over the years, thanks to advice from Frank (my M.D. husband) and lots of trial and error. Besides medical history, we share taste in music and movies. I just can't get enough of learning about him little by little.

All of this and working on an audit for the State of Minnesota Department of Revenue. Speaking of that...Back to work for now.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What has transpired in my life in the past 35 years? I have gone from being a frightened 20 year old girl to a self assured, educated, very content 56 year old woman. I have a degree in Psychology and a Law Degree. I went to law school because I decided I should have a grown up profession. Once I got there, I felt like the proverbial square peg who was trying to fit into a round hole. I was able to fit by being pounded continuously by a mallet, but once I got away from there I resumed my former shape, and thusfar haven't practiced much law. I did serve as a prosecutor on an Indian reservation near where I grew up for a summer, and an appellate judge at the reservation where I am an enrolled member. I rather like being a judge, but I haven't pursued that either. I have taken tons of training in mediation, which is an alternative dispute resolution method that more suits my personality. It is a win-win process. Someday, I may do more with that. However I do enjoy Intellectual Property law - especially Trademark law - imagine being Harry Potter's lawyer! That would be a dream come true for me.

I have always loved writing and have done a lot of it from time to time. I have had a poem published, although I don't fancy myself a poet. I have folders and folders of pieces I've written that I haven't submitted anywhere. I bore the family with my long posts to our family bulletin board. I have a few books that I have started and not finished. Writing is my first love. Psychology is my second, as far as interests go. I love music - all kinds - and surround myself with it every day.

I have spent the majority of the past several years taking care of our legal matters, keeping our finances, keeping our house, being a mom and a grandma. I believe I was born to be a grandma - that is what I do best. I think I am not a bad mom, but I am always learning in that department. I always try to "be there" for my loved ones. I guess that is all any of us can do for each other.

I had the one son at the age of 17. He is now 39 and is doing very well, living in St. Paul, MN - married with two children. He is intelligent, funny, handsome, loving, gentle, but very savvy with people. At age 25 I had a daughter, who is now going to be 32 in October. She is living on a farm in Angus, MN with her husband and son. She is expecting a little baby girl the end of June this year. She has a degree in Speech Pathology, and is artistic, logical, musical,a darned good photographer and most of all, a great mom.

Presently I am working with my husband setting up an Integrative Medicine Clinic. His medical practice keeps both of us busy - keeping him current on licensing, certifications, and education. He is presently working in Emergency Medicine, but by fall 2006 we are hoping to be up and running in the new clinic.

My favorite travel spot is Disney World. It is a great place to go with family. We have a time share there that we all enjoy often - a few times a year. I also love the beach at the Gulf of Mexico. We have a house in Lakes Country Minnesota. It is in town, and not on a lake, but it is quiet, simple and a great get-away. We garden there, eat fresh vegetables, raise flowers and let our two little schnauzers run around. Someday we plan to sell it and get an actual cabin on one of the nearby lakes.

So that is my life as it is now in a nutshell. When I got pregnant at an early age, my dad was worried that I had ruined my chances to have any education or success in life. I promised him that wouldn't be the case. As a young woman it was my goal to live up to that promise. Sometimes I went overboard in the wrong direction (law school), but even that served me well. I still entertain the notion of taking the Bar Exam and actually setting up a practice. Maybe I'll do it when I get older and a bit bored.