Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hollywood's first college birthday

Hollywood is nineteen, y'all.


Isn't that crazy?

Yesterday was the start of Thanksgiving break for the three big universities in Iowa, so a lot of her friends are coming home for the week. She'll be home, but is working this weekend, so we decided to drive over to Iowa City and take her out to dinner to celebrate her big day.

We pulled the van up in front of her dorm and parked for a moment. She didn't realize we were parked right there, and came lightly bounding down the cement dorm stairs with a (cute, male) friend of hers and hopped up on a ledge to wait. The Husband called her name a couple of times before she heard him, and in those few moments, I glimpsed her life. The life that she's living away at college.

She was happy, smiling, swinging her leather boot-clad feet, as she sat waiting for us with her new friend.

Once she realized we were there, her face brightened even more and she brought her friend over to see the family. Actually, she showed off the baby. Everyone loves a baby!

She told her friend goodbye and hopped in the van and we went to dinner. Dinner with our family was fun and light hearted with laughter and eye rolling and the ever-popular game of 'let's annoy mom by asking banal questions like "Why are the pigs in Angry Birds green?" ' (That's a long story. Never mind.)

Hollywood liked seeing Goblin's new tricks (she gives kisses, high fives, claps on command, etc.) and remarked on how much The Boy has grown. "Your hands are HUGE!" she exclaimed at one point. (It's true, The Boy has grown a TON over the past few months.)

It was a lovely night. Throughout our time with Hollywood, I kept thinking back about my own college days. I think the memories were especially powerful last night because I was seeing Hollywood in her collegiate element while thinking of both my own college days, and the day she was born. She was born to us when we were not very much older than she is now, and when I think of her birth, it brings to mind some of the things I saw in Hollywood last night.

Happiness to be on her own. Pure enthusiasm as she told stories about her new friends who threw her a surprise pot luck birthday party the night before. Comfort in the surroundings of her new city that is very different from her tiny hometown. But she showed true delight in spending time with us. Her phone stayed in her pocket (honestly - I can't remember a time when she wasn't texting away during a gathering) she gave us her complete attention, but it was effortless and we could tell she wanted to be there with us. She had plans later in the evening, but for those couple of hours, she was ours and very glad to be.

Even though we didn't get her the iphone she wanted for her birthday.

What a nice feeling that is - to have an adult child (!!) who is blossoming in her first months of independence, but shows a genuine delight at spending a few hours with her parents and siblings.

It's very strange knowing that she has a life that extends beyond our family home. From the sounds of it, she is building herself a rich, faith and friend filled college experience. I couldn't be happier for her. (But yeah, I'll admit it here. It makes me nostalgic for days gone by when she was home every day.)

Happy birthday to my college girl:


Friday, November 9, 2012



If you are the praying type, please say one for my Grandpa. He had a stroke in April and has been recovering, but has pneumonia now and the family is making some tough decisions.

Please say a prayer that he has a peaceful transition from this life to the next. And while you're at it, my grandma, mamma, and aunts and uncles could use the prayers too. He's truly the adored patriarch of a loving, close knit family and will be missed when he passes.

He is a gentle, loving man who has always brightened our family gatherings with his trademarked soft laughter. When I think of him I can hear him cracking a joke in his soft voice and laughing with the family. It makes me feel warm and happy.

I love you, Grandpa.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Insert cheerful post title here

So my last post was a bit, um, depressing. Sorry about that - I was having a bad day and doing a writing exercise together. I am not standing on top of a bridge contemplating a jump. I'm fairly cheerful, actually. Here's why:

Halloween was fun.


We had a gumball machine:


A piggy:


And a group of Superheroes (The Avengers):


Work has been chaotic, but I am hopeful that there is an end to the craziness in sight. Well, I hope so.

The election was interesting to me. I hate living in a swing state because we are bombarded with ads, many of which are just downright nasty. I was undecided up until just a week or so ago. I know that concept baffles people. "What the heck? How can you be undecided?!!" Here's my answer.

I have no freaking clue about why I seem to be the only person split between the two parties. For every belief I hold that falls in line with the Democrats (equal rights for all, be they gay or working immigrants), there is one of equal importance that fits in the Republican camp (fiscal spending, smaller government, etc.) My "list" has an equal amount of tally marks in both columns. At the end of the day, I had to pick someone, but I didn't feel as strongly this time around as I did in 2004.

What I think is astounding is the vitriol that I've seen on social media sites today from the anti-Obama camp. Their words are paradoxically shocking and boring. I suspect those same people are the ones who swear that the refs cost their favorite team the football game in a 3-28 loss.

It's kind of exhausting, really.

So what else is new? My brother and his wife from California are coming for a visit this weekend! I am so excited to see them. It's been a very long time - and I have a new baby nephew (well, he's seven months old by now!) to meet too. That will be fun.

The Boy is in the high school play this weekend too! He joined after they'd done the auditions, so he's a member of the chorus, and he gets to dress up in boots and a cowboy hat. I can't wait to see him!

Goblin is getting over a nasty cold. She's been pretty miserable and has been a trooper through it all. She's learned how to give kisses (you know - the big open mouthed slobbery kind that rival a dog's kiss) so she's been sharing her germs. But dang. It's hard to pass up a baby kiss.

On that note, I'll sign off. Later, 'gator!