Happy Halloween!

So it’s a month and a half late.  Big deal.  I was busy in the month of November you know.

Pooh and Tigger came for a visit.  We went on a hayride and hung out by a bonfire.  I think bonfires are gorgeous and cozy but after a while, the smoke starts to cloud up your eyes and the heat melts the fake eyelashes that Martie glued to your eyelids and your hair starts to smell kind of singed and the kids get bored and tired and there are no more s’mores left.  At that point you go home.

But before all that, you take a picture with the best nieces in the whole world and you save it to show all your friends on your blog.

Don’t we look gorgeous?

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Reposted In Honor Of My Best Friend: Happy Birthday, Martie.

Happy Birthday

A million memories are not enough to cover the expanse that is sisterhood.  I’ll share a few today, in honor of one of my favorite people. 

I don’t really remember when Martie was born.  I was too little.  But I feel like I remember it because someone took a picture of us:  me sitting up in an armchair holding this tiny baby with gigantic eyes and a shock of black, explosive hair.  I was grinning like a loon and you can see someone’s arms hovering around me to prevent me from dropping her I guess. If my feelings about Martie now are any indication, there is no way in the world I would have ever dropped that baby.   

I remember when Madre took Martie to the beauty salon and had that explosive hair permed into an afro.  It was the cutest afro you’ve ever seen on a tiny girl. Her kindergarten picture shows a little girl with giant eyes and a curly mop wearing my favorite Winnie the Pooh dress that I handed down.  I love that picture. 

I remember having a fight with Martie in high school.  We were mad at each other (I think I’ve told this story before), and I was grandstanding in front of our friends.  I spit my gum in her face.  In retaliation, she went into the house, grabbed my purse, stuck it under the tire of her VW bug and ran over it a few times.   

I remember when Madre married Poppa and we got two brothers.  (Let me say in aside here that my family is complicated.  I have step siblings and half siblings and full siblings and four sets of grandparents plus some grandparents that we adopted.  But you know what?  My family is only complicated in terminology.  They are my family – full blooded, fully loved, full hearts, all the way.)  At first, the transition from three females living alone to six people living together, three males, three females (we were the Brady Bunch, sort of) was tough.  We had growing pains.  I had always been the peacemaker and the quiet one.  That was until one of the brothers took Martie’s sand dollar and broke it open after she expressly told him he could not do that. Her eyes teared up and as the youngest of us, she got trampled on a lot.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was so mad.  So I hit him, really, really hard.  And I think I knocked him out a little bit.  Apparently you don’t mess with my little sister, I don’t care who you are or how much I like you.

I remember seeing Martie’s face when she was in the OR and they put Pooh on her chest, right after she was born.  That is one of my favorite faces of all time.   

I remember graduating from high school and after I got my diploma, I looked up and saw Martie’s face covered in tears.  It was the end of an era – we would no longer share a room.  We would no longer share clothes.  We would no longer fight over the radio or the light in our room or our makeup.  We would no longer stay up all night talking about boys.  We never again listened to Thriller in our pajamas and ate giant Hershey’s kisses.  I was leaving for college and that moment, when I saw her face, my heart broke a little. 

I remember the moment that I realized that there was nothing Martie could do, ever, that would make me stop loving her.  Of course I probably realized it early in life but this particular moment was one that I could articulate.  Right then I called her. I told her that.  I told her that there is not another person on this earth who knows everything there is to know about me and loves me anyway.   I know everything there is to know about her and I love her anyway, love her because of it, love her because she’s Martie and she’s awesome.  I can’t imagine my life without her.   

I remember Martie calling me once.  She was so upset, so heartbroken.  Someone had hurt her badly and I remember the anguish in her voice when she said brokenly, “I don’t love a little bit.  I love all the way.  There is no little bit for me.”   That’s who Martie is.  She is full of life.  She does nothing halfway.  When she’s in, she’s all in.  It’s beautiful. 

So I say this:  I don’t love you a little bit, Martie. I never did.  There is no little bit here.  I love you all the way, as full as you can get.  A million memories for us.  A million smiles.  A million tears.  A million hugs.  A million of all good things for your birthday because you deserve it all, as full as you can get, and once we get to the end of a million, we’ll start all over again.  Happy Birthday, my forever friend.  I love you. 

Laugh

 

Vegas, Baby!

Martie

Memorial Day

Saturday was one of the most gorgeous days of my life.  Sometimes you just get one of those days that has so many perfect moments you just don’t know what to do with yourself.  I don’t mean to make any of you jealous, but I’m going to share that day with you. 

Memorial Day weekend brought lots of plans for me.  I’m nothing if not a planner.  I had the whole weekend mapped out by Thursday afternoon and took off down south to the homestead on Friday evening.  Madre and I planned to ride horses Saturday morning.  We also planned to pick blueberries.  Later that evening we were invited to a cook out with Martie and family.  After that, I was going to drive back to Nashville so that I could make my Sunday morning run.

Saturday morning I got up at the crack of dawn and drove from Martie’s house where I had spent the night to Madre’s house.  I got there early and was ready to go.  After running some errands, we saddled up the horses and launched our journey.  You’ll see a separate post about that later, but now I can tell you that it was a gorgeous ride.  The sky was exquisitely beautiful as it often seems to be after big rain storms.  The weather was perfect, breezy and warm.  We rode for about three hours, just kind of leisurely and slow.  I last rode a horse in September and can’t say I have any great skills but I can plod along just fine.  My butt now hurts.  I thought you’d like to know.  I also got a really sweet farmer’s tan. 

 After we gave the horses a bath and turned them out, we picked blueberries.  Several years ago, Madre and Poppa decided to plant a few blueberry bushes.  Now a family of 6 can have all the blueberries they want for a year out of just a couple of blueberry bushes, maybe three or four.  Madre and Poppa planted 14 of them not knowing this, so every year they extend the invitation to pick blueberries to everyone they meet.  Everyone.  I’m more than happy to do my part in weeding out the excess. 

Later I whipped Madre’s arse in a couple of games of Spite and Malice.  That’s okay because she will whip my arse next time we play.  It all comes out in the wash.

Saturday evening we were invited to a cookout at Coach’s parent’s house.  (Does that sound complicated?  Let’s call them my sort of in-laws.)  Granddaddy and Grandma are nice people and I’ve always enjoyed them.  Granddaddy cooked ribs and chicken and the rest of us brought side dishes. 

The girls played outside like children are supposed to do.  They played hide and seek, tag, and rolled down the hill in the grass over and over again until they got so itchy they had to stop.  It gave me so much joy to watch them run around the yard with no shoes on in their dresses, cheeks flushed and hair blowing back in the wind.  Their tinkling laughs and giggles were good for my soul.  I love that childish abandon when it comes to having fun.  We ate watermelon and had a seed spitting contest.  I won.  That’s what having a big mouth is good for, apparently.  I also won the affection of every single mosquito in the county.  I have the bites to prove it.

Martie sang for us and played her guitar. She has the most voluptuous voice, full bodied and rich.  It fills an entire room, and being outside and listening to it expand was amazing.  Coach watched her, enraptured, which is very special to me.  I love seeing those moments between couples.   Martie sang a song or two for everyone until we exhausted her voice and her good will with our requests.  It happens when you’ve got that kind of talent. 

When it was getting dark, we made half-hearted attempts to catch a few lightning bugs, then we piled up in our respective vehicles and headed for home.  I just sighed all the way to Madre’s house.  It was such a perfect day.

I felt and commented so many times throughout the course of the day, “I’ve got such a nice life.”  I really do.  I’m very fortunate.  I’m so thankful that I’m aware of it as it happens so that I can send up my gratitude and really squeeze every bit of loveliness out of it that I can.  I enjoy my family.  I’m so blessed to have a good one.  I love you guys!

I hope you all had a nice Memorial Day!  I say a big thank you to everyone who serves in our military, for our country, for us.  I ask for blessings for the families who have lost loved ones during that service.  I ask for blessings for the men and women who have served and who still serve.  My heart is filled with gratitude for all of you.   Thank you.  

 

People I Luff, Family Style; Or, A Handy Checklist

Okay, I can see where this here blog might get confusing in a short while.  I have a lot of people in my life, and as you can already tell,  these people will feature regularly here.  I’m just so popular . . . . It’s a tough job, but someone must do it.  I’m also very modest.  My everyday life is good fodder for run-of-the-mill discussions as it is.   But I’m also smart enough to surround myself with funny, smart, snarky people and therefore, my life is even more exciting.  It doesn’t always work so well for me (read: pencil lead in knuckle) but for the most part I am entertained.

  

Extraordinary lives require extraordinary people.  Makes sense, no?  I can view anything as extraordinary, I suppose, with the right attitude and lots of creativity.  For example, I was in downtown Nashville last night for a band competition and I walked by one of the karaoke bars.  I heard a woman in there murdering a Joan Jett song.  It was awful. Truly terrible.  But she had on a tiny skirt and a really nice spray tan and lots of hair dye so every man in there was completely enthralled.  It was extraordinary but maybe not in the positive, motivational way I am trying to embrace. 

 

But back to the task at hand.  I felt it was time to provide a handy list to guide you through the people in my life.  This volume is dedicated to my family.  I have them to blame for most everything.  Any dysfunction or weirdness I got was inherited directly from them.  I take no responsibility.  Plus, I’m the boring one.  I mean, yes I’ve got some personality, but I gots nothing on these people.  Shall we go down the list?

 

Madre:  Well, she’s Madre.  I couldn’t luff anyone more.  I’ve never seen anyone her age (or younger, for that matter) who can sling herself around on a horse like Madre can.  Once, when we were teenagers, Martie was upset about something and said to Madre, “You always liked Jimmie better!” To which Madre replied, “Of course I do.  I’ve known her longer.”   

 

Daddy-O:  Again, Daddy-O.  Not a lot of explanation required.  Awesome and super talented.  Wish I would have gotten just a smidge of that.  Sigh.  He laughs a lot which makes me happy.  After reading my first two posts here, he sent me an email that said, “You need a drink.”

 

Martie:  My younger sister, Martie, now she’s extraordinary.  She’ll be on here a lot so you should know about her.  The girl can sang.  She’s funny.  And she’s the pretty one.  My high school crush talked to me once, in Geometry class, and I was so excited! He came over to my desk and said “hey” and I nearly passed out from the giddiness.  I was already gearing up for a huge note-writing session to all of my girlfriends about this conversation in which the Cute One talked to me.  But right after he said “hey”, he said, “So is your sister dating anyone?  Cause I think she’s cute.”  So much for that fantasy.   Looking back, though, I realize that I was fortunate to not connect with him in any romantic way back in the day.  He still looks exactly like he did in high school.  I’ll let you infer what you will about that.  Anyway . . . one of my favorite things about Martie is that she signs her emails to me in this fashion:

 

Love you so very smooches,

Martie

 

Isn’t that cute?

 

The Squirt:  My youngest sister is The Squirt.  She’s the cute one.  She does all kinds of neat stuff like speak Spanish fluently, builds houses, and travels on a budget.  I’m not sure how often she’ll make an appearance but I luff her. 

 

Pooh:  Pooh is my older niece. She’s amazing.  She has these gorgeous blue eyes and all of this dark thick hair.  She’s wicked smart and has a super trendy fashion sense.  I can’t wait to see what kind of person she grows up to be.  A lot like me, I imagine.  And everyone knows that I’m your favorite so I’ve got high expectations of her.

 

Tigger:  Tigger is my younger niece.  She’s also amazing. And slightly bossy.  It’s cute.  Following is a conversation I had with her a while back, about the state of my hair.  It was curly and all over the place because I was too lazy to do anything else with it. 

 

Jimmie:                 Hi Tigger!

 

Tigger:                  <Eyeing me with horror> “What happened to your hay-ar?”

 

Jimmie:                 It’s curly is all.

 

Tigger:                  <not buying it, nostrils flared slightly> “It’s wi-yuld.”

 

Jimmie:                 Yeah . . .

 

Tigger:                  <sincerely> “What if someone laffs at you?”

  

Coach:  Coach is the husband of Martie, father of Pooh and Tigger and brother-in-law of Jimmie.  Poor guy. That’s a lot of chicks.  Plus, he has our Madre and his own Madre.  I’m not sure why he hasn’t croaked off already from the estrogen overload.  One day he will have an absolute freak out and run screaming to the nearest gymnasium and throw himself amongst the teenage boys playing basketball and beg for some drugs, or testosterone.  As it is now, when we have a family get-together and other men will be present, he’s no more put the car in park before he’s sprinting to the man section of the house, looking for beers and guns and camouflage.  I babysit for Martie and Coach fairly regularly and he always makes sure I have a key and code for the house.  His latest note with code read:

 

Oh Jimmie!  You came and you gave without taking . . . Now press the code or the police will take you . . . . 

 

Poppa:  Husband of Madre.  All around general good guy.  Martie, who works in a salon and does my hair for free (score!), dyed my hair red once.  I had begged for it for a long time. I went to Madre’s casa to show it off (and visit) and Poppa took one look, grunted, and said: “Not your best look, is it?”  Well. 

 

JiJi:  Wife of Daddy-O.  One year for Christmas I asked if she would organize my cabinets for me as a gift. Sure enough, right after Christmas she showed up with some roundy shelves and some common sense and got me squared away.  What a woman!

 

Boo and Bear:  Brothers, with assorted wives and children. Gorgeous families and good genes and talent out the wazoo.  I’d hate them for all of that but I have big luff for them, so I suppose hate is out of the question.  We don’t connect all that often but it sure is nice when we do.  Unfortunately I have no funny stories to share about them, mostly because all the good ones happened in elementary school and we would all be mortified to revisit that particular era what with all the bad hair and excessive eyeliner and tobacco products and high top tennis shoes.  Yikes. Moving right along . . .

 

And finally, me again.

 

Jimmie:  When I checked the mail Saturday morning the lone piece of stuff in there was addressed specifically to me, not to “Resident” and said:

 

The Ultimate Outdoorsman Action Pack!

Enter to win your choice of a FREE Ruger Rifle or a PSE Deer Hunter Bow!

 

And the back said:

 

The 100th Anniversary of the 1911, Designed by John Browning. Life’s too short to shoot an ugly gun!

 

What the hell?!  Now this weekend alone, I have waxed poetic about girlie drinks and pedicures that include painting sparkles on my toes and pigtails, not ponytails, and did make up for the girls in our corporate band.  Is there something about me that says “Yes, I want to kill foodstuffs with a gun and/or bow and arrow and serve dead animal carcass that I shot all by myself”?  I don’t get it.  Boo, I blame you.

 

This, people, is the story of my life. 

 

I have many more people to introduce you to.  I felt like this list was enough for one day.  It’s mind boggling, isn’t it?  Personally, I’m thrilled to have all of these people at my back.  I’m a lucky woman!

 

Just for fun, I’ve added a picture.  I took this while on last week’s chocolate run.  Doesn’t that just make you smile?

 

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