List #273: Those Princely Memories

I am a child of the 1980s and so my childhood was filled with records and basement dance parties while my parents drank cheap beer and caught up with friends. I remember the adults entertaining us rowdy kids by listening to our song requests over and over again. Now I recognize that this was probably just an attempt to have a few moments of adult fun when surrounded by chaos but back then, it felt as if they though we were the best DJs in the entire city.

And when midday news broke that the legendary Prince had died these dance parties were one of the first things I remembered. Being in your mid-30s means you really can't remember a time in your life without Prince. Being a 30-something year-old woman means you probably find Prince completely sexually attractive. And and it probably means you're going to spend the upcoming weekend dancing

Besides basement dance parties, Prince was there:

  • On half days off from school when someone's mom (or my dad) would load a bunch of kids into the backseat of a car and head to Pizza Hut. No one cared about carseats back in those days, at least not for anyone who could talk, so the amount of legs dangling over seats could be quite a few. And when we got to Pizza Hut, we'd cash in our Book-It! personal pan pizza coupons and throw quarter after quarter into the Jukebox. And I would always, always select "Raspberry Beret" for reasons I'm a little unclear of. I wasn't really eating raspberries in the 1980s though I did own a beret. But I did love, and still love that song, even if I'm no longer eating personal pan pizzas while it plays.
  • When I was really little my absolute favorite song was "Manic Monday" by The Bangles. I wanted to be the girl in the song:  Monday morning, leaving my lover in bed, hot-shot job downtown, independent and awesome. I was four/five when that song was popular but I think I sensed then that my adult life was going to be a madhouse. Employment down, deadbeat lover, late to work. It's the story of my early 20s really. In college one of my roommates would jump start our week by blaring it through computer speakers every Monday morning. It's perfect. It's like Prince knew in 1985 I would need a girl group anthem to get me through life.
  • I was just a little Catholic grade school girl when Prince released Diamonds and Pearls. But oh my gosh, did I love it. I remember the year I went to a new ballet school because the old one was getting too expensive and I wasn't going to be a professional ballerina the other dancers and I would sit outside on parking lot curbs listening to this album. We'd sing along to "Diamonds and Pearls" and I remember thinking that "Cream" was just about the sexiest song I had ever heard. I still do. This is Prince at his sexiest.
  • Remember the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack had that beautiful version of "When Doves Cry?" Of course you do. Take a few moments to remember the glory that is that song right now. 
  • I graduated high school in 1999. I don't think there was a week that went by that year where I didn't hear "1999 (Party Like It's 1999)" at least once. I'm still kind of bitter that our senior prom theme was "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House and not Prince's millennial masterpiece. Seriously, how was that even possible?! 
  • I don't think there is a woman alive who hasn't tossed her heels off her feet and ran to the dance floor as those first few chords of "Kiss" began to play at some epic dance. Sure this song is played at just about every wedding but it's forever locked in my college sorority memories. Tipsy and in formal dresses, all of my girlfriends would gather on the floor and sing to each other. Our dates stood a little baffled, or at least a little more drunk. And if they don't play "Kiss" at college sorority formals anymore I just feel bad for those girls.
I've been spending my evening alone listening to Prince's greatest hits album and each song elicits a strong memory. He's just always been there. He was even on New Girl and I didn't think it was a catchy gimmick, I thought it was legitimately thrilling and I would have acted the same way if I got to go attend a party with Prince. 

I know his music will live on. But frankly, it's just not going to be the same. Something will be missing the next time I race to a dance floor or belt Prince from the top of my lungs. Thank goodness for memories. 


Letter # 50-something: Listen Here

Dear Pennsylvania Voters,
Our Primary is on Tuesday and whether or not you agree with my politics, just go vote. I don't even care if you the primaries don't matter. Just go vote. In a world where everyone complains about the government the best thing we can do is voice our opinions. And yes, I know the general election is still months away but every election counts.

Dear Spider Above My Window,
You go on ahead and keep trying to eat that stink bug. It's impressive that you're doing it without a web too. But just know that both of you don't stand a chance against my fierce fists and paper towels.

Dear Actor Who Plays Sam on New Girl,
You're hot. We need more of you. Keep coming back.

Dear People Who Ask Women When They Plan on Having a Baby,
I don't know how many times we need to go over this, but please just stop. We don't really owe you anything in terms of an answer but we're nice and it's too hard to dodge the subject so we have to say something kind committal. But each woman has their own stories to tell and it should be no one's concerned until we are ready to share them. Just be kind.

Dear Pittsburgh Penguins,
I'm sorry that our household did not get to watch as many games as we hoped for this year. Cutting cable kind of puts a damper on live hockey. But we've never lost our fandom and we're all in on these playoffs. Let's do this.

Dear Upstairs Bathtub,
The one thing I desperately wanted in a house was a very deep bathtub. It was the one thing I didn't really get. Every evening around nine, especially when I'm home alone, I get annoyed that you aren't as deep and as long as I'd prefer and curse that soaking in the tub isn't as luxurious as it was when I was single in my apartment. But I guess I'll still take you.

This Lady


List #272: The Huggable Kid

The little one in this house will celebrate a birthday later this month. We don't do joint birthday parties with the other half of his family and the custody schedule doesn't line up with us having him on his birthday so we will be celebrating the weekend before with family. And all of his growing up and being able to tell us not only how old he'll be but just when, exactly, his birthday is has me feeling a little sad.

I met our little birthday boy was he was tiny, not even a 7 pounds, and just over a month and a half old. My family was just beginning though it was such a strange time for everyone else in his family that those first few steps seem so fragile. He was fragile, new relationships were fragile, and so were family dynamics.

But now he's big. And that single dad I met is now my husband. And our ball of energy kid has two happy homes and he's about to turn three.

All of these nostalgic and emotional thoughts have got me thinking about all of the great hugs this kid has given. And all of the love this kid just pours out from his heart. He is not a subtle child. He wears his heart on his sleeve for better (when he's all about snuggling and giving kisses in the morning) and for worse (when he's making the worst mean face you've ever seen and he's screaming because no, he cannot have that pack of fruit snacks right at this moment). When this kid shows loves, he shows it fully:

  • Our first hug was more "tiny newborn falling asleep on my chest." I gave his dad a little break so that he could type a few work emails or go to the bathroom or take out the garbage, I don't remember the particulars. But I do have a photo of the two of us, eyes closed, tiny smiles and open arms. 
  • When he was first learning to hug, the little one would just sort of lay his body against yours. He'd tilt his head and lay in on your shoulder, arms flat on his side. It was both hilarious and charming. And occasionally, when he's pretty tired, he'll still do this.
  • Tired hugs, on those rare occasions he falls asleep in the car in the evening, and I carry him up our stairs. Both arms tight around my neck. And maybe a whisper of "I love you."
  • The little one is fast. His coordination is not always the best, but boy, can he run. So often our evenings usually include one full sprint across the great room straight into our legs, arms hugging them tight. And a shout of "I love you!"
  • The sad hugs. When he's being dropped off at daycare, especially. When we're leaving him for the day and he just doesn't want to go. Oh, that's a band-aid ripped from your heart. Those big eyes and sad cheeks streaked with tears.
  • This budding preschooler is mildly obsessed with the family cat. He looks for him immediately upon coming home, chases him all over, swears he's not trying to scare him, and pretty much wants to kiss and hug him all of the time. The tiny pats he gives the cat are the best. And so is the way an otherwise needy cat is so sweet with him too.
  • This kid loves his grandparents. Which is a good thing because he has plenty of them. But the big, open, loud, crazy hugs he gives my parents and the husband's parents are just too sweet for words. I think he'd prefer if we all lived together with those grandparents in one big mansion, but until that day comes, he'll shower them with all the love and affection. 
I think part of the reason I'm feeling so nostalgic for those baby days is because with year he gets older, we get closer to those years where he won't want to hug us. And well, my heart just can't handle that right now. So I'll take these huggable moments and throw in some extra fruit snacks here and there too. Maybe that will get me a few extra. 


List #271: April Mornings Alone

The husband is away in some New England state for a business trip this morning so I woke up alone in a Casper bed. And thanks to a really difficult time trying to fall asleep last night much later than I wanted to. I actually had to take a Tylenol PM at 1:22 am because my mind just would not stop. 

I am always at war with myself because I think I should be doing more in the house:  cleaning, crafting, writing, organizing, whatever it is that I'm not currently doing at the moment. But thankfully that guilt has subsided this morning and the budding headache is telling to me to schedule a bit of self-care. And since it's just me and the cat here, we're sitting on the couch just...being.

I'm kind of dreading getting up from this (very comfortable) couch in an hour or so to get ready for work. I'll enjoy work when I get there, but when you work a late shift just the thought of it feels like such a very, very, very long day. 

So with full efforts to try and chase the cold out of my bones, the pain out of my head, and aches out of my knees. This has been my morning:

  • I woke to text messages from the husband wishing me good morning. I am pretty sure I saw them, promptly rolled over, thought it took 3 minutes to respond...but didn't really respond for a proper half hour.
  • The cat meowed and cried to be fed sometime around 7 am in line with his morning effort to catch birds in the yard from the inside of our house.
  • A hot shower where I let the water run down my back for just a little too long. Here's the thing, I prefer my showers scalding. I want my skin to be red and the fog on the mirror to be so thick I can't even make out an outline of my body as I step out.
  • My favorite comedy podcast releases new episodes, so I listened to the intro and first few bits as I scrubbed in that hot shower.
  • Fed the cat. Which isn't so much a self-care thing as a necessity. Then cursed because I'm pretty sure that his new dry food (which he loves) is giving him terrible, terrible gas. At least he will no longer cling to my feet because his food bowl is food.
  • Thought about making hot tea, but deemed it too much effort. So I settled on iced instead and then mixed in some Ikea blueberry concentrate. Have you tried this? It's dreamy. I'm pretty sure I've developing an obsession.
  • I'm not a fan of breakfast food. And we really are lacking in materials to make much this week. So my breakfast was Disney Frozen pasta with peas and parmesan. And it was really really good.
  • Girls. I know not everyone is a fan of this show. None of the characters are truly likable so it's totally understandable. But this season has been on fire. It's about loneliness and growth, evolving friendships and exploring what you really need in a romantic partner. I save its viewing for when the husband is out of town as we have one television and he has no interest, but it's something I don't even care to share with him. I love it wholly and wish I was young enough and brave enough and talented enough to have put together something like Dunham has. 
  • The West Wing. I didn't watch The West Wing when it first aired. I was too busy mostly being in college and since it wasn't really papers to write, sorority events to attend, or beers to drink it wasn't really on my radar. But I own all of the seasons onDVD and I've probably watched in its entirety at least twice. But Josh Malina has a new West Wing podcast where he and a buddy recap an episode a week. So yeah, now I must watch an episode a week so I can fully invest in this podcast.
  • Quiet. 
So now it's nearly time to decide on what to wear. And battling with my closet is a daily thing in the month of April. I hate it. And then it's time to grab some lunch and head to work. Here's hoping for a few more quiet moments tonight.


List #271: March Things

I used to think that I hated February . With it's dark days, cold nights, saccharine love, and basically all of the excuses in the world to hibernate and be as anti-social as you want. But more recently in my years, I truly don't enjoy March.

With the end of winter and beginning of spring March has the worst qualities of both seasons. It's indecisive and wet. The days are longer, but the temperature rarely treats you with warm evenings. It's too chilly or windy to sit on patios and it's about the time of year where I hate everything in my wardrobe. 

Basically? March sucks. 

But in the end, the month does tend to fly by pretty quickly. And now I can step on into April to enjoy all of its birthdays, sweet nights, and packed weekends. Sure, it will still be rainy and I'll curse my old rain boots every morning. But at least it's still April.

March had 31 days and this is what I did, or didn't do, with them:
  • Watched a few hours worth of Practical Jokers (someone might have it on as I type this). 
  • Become exasperated with one very needy cat.
  • Hook our family on Masha and the Bear. We need more non-Russian seasons! 
  • Daydreamed about young Harrison Ford.
  • Drank a few tiki drinks.
  • Didn't really drink a whole lot of wine.
  • Went to bed far too early.
  • Stayed up far too late.
  • Battled with Gwynnie Bee.
  • Spent a little too much on clothes.
  • Sold my first few items on eBay.
  • Started planning summer reading. 
  • Ate too many nachos.
  • Failed to sleep in.
  • Took are of sick members of this household.
  • Hated wearing tights.
  • Loved wearing tights.
  • Slowly made my way through a book.
  • Woke up with nightmares. 
  • Wished I was going on vacation.
  • Had dinner and drinks with old friends.
  • Missed old friends.
  • Discussed hot celebrities with an old friend.
  • Hid a whole bunch of Easter eggs.
  • Ate Satellite wafters.
  • Remind my mom that I don't like Neco Wafers (again).
  • Cheered on the Penguins.
  • Watched a lot less hockey than I would prefer.
  • Designed some logos. 
  • Cried? Probably.
  • Desperately needed to get my hair cut.
I don't know what April is going to bring. But here's hoping I can get my haircut in the next week. 


List #270: Things My Cat May Be Chasing Around the House

By any definition, our house is not huge. But it is big. It is old. And it does have tons of nooks and crannies. The basement is a hodgepodge of rooms and is basically filled with (still) unpacked boxes, furniture we aren't using, and toys that a certain little boy has outgrown.

I make note of all these little details becuase when we moved into this house, the cat got weird. Fast.

He'll spend all evening in the basement, sometimes just sitting the third stair from the bottom, and then cry like crazy when we decide to head upstairs to bed.

He has poked a few holes in our screens and knocked over a few plants, cups, whatever else just happens to be in his way.

But more than anything, oh can the cat run in this house.

He often chooses to run and run and run and run when I'm home alone and basically my imagination runs wild (all thanks to the scars of finding a mice in my laundry in college. and one dead mouse in our house in early fall of this year). I made the husband put out mouse traps and with the exception of that one we haven't seen any evidence of mice in the house at all.

But still.

Here are the things I think the cat is chasing at any given time:

  • Stink bugs
  • Spiders
  • This green stress ball we grabbed for free at the Home & Garden Show and that he's inexplicably obsessed with
  • Matchbox cars
  • Flies
  • Mice
  • Rubber bouncing balls
  • Lids to things. 
  • Plastic toy rings
  • Beads
  • The green sticks that go inside your Starbucks cup
  • Pens
  • Pencils
I'm heading to bed in a few minutes and he'll surely drive me bonkers with all of this chasing for at least another forty-five. Before he's up tomorrow at dawn with the birds. Which he seems to forget every day are on the outside of the house and no amount of force is going to will them inside. 


List #269: In a Year

When it's been almost a year since you wrote something for the internet to read. Or, more accurately, when it's been almost a year since you've written anything for anyone that doesn't frequent your library to read it can be a little intimidating to get back on track.

It wasn't that I didn't think about writing in the last 11 months. It's actually quite the opposite. I've thought about it a lot. Sat down on the couch with the laptop and thought up a hundred different things to say. But every single time I would think, "Who really wants to read that?" or even more frequently, "Why do you think you have the authority to write about that?"

And as I sit here writing something tonight, I'm not quite sure I have the answers to those questions. Those fears still haunt me.

My life is completely different than what it was when I first started this writing journey that I was having a hard time coming to grips with it all and still feeling like I had something to say.

But whatever. I'm still not sure I do have something to say. And daily life in this house is nothing short of hectic without much of a predictable schedule. Both of those things are challenges when I'm trying write.

But just like the 10 year-old me who sat up in her bedroom and filled wide-ruled notebooks with stories and notes, the 34 year-old me still needs to write. So here goes nothing.

Here's your crash course in what's been happening since we last met:

  • We bought a house.
  • My new communte is just minutes away from my library.
  • I can go home for lunch every day that it's possible.
  • That baby in my life turned into a preschooler.
  • The boyfriend became my fiancĂ©.   
  • The fiancĂ© became my husband.
  • We went to the beach.
  • We traveled to California.
  • We joined some wine clubs.
  • We drank a lot of wine.
  • Family moved away.
  • Friends moved away.
  • We went to the beach again.
  • Friends had babies.
  • Medical things happened. 
  • And then medical things happened again.
  • I went to New York.
  • I saw a taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
  • I discovered that I really like dry wines.
  • I loved being an unexpected mother.
  • I struggled with being and unexpected mother.
  • I still hate the word "step-parent."
  • I wore a lot of dresses.
  • And I wore jeans just once.
  • We had parties at our new house.
  • We still didn't get the hole in the ceiling of the spare room fixed.
  • I raked a lot of leaves.
  • We discovered a dead mouse in the house.
  • I got caught in the rain.
  • I tricked myself into stop biting my nails.
  • All in all, it's been pretty quite.
And that, is why you leave for 11 months and how you feel like you've got a lot to say.