Thursday, August 28, 2008
I probably won't be around til next week!
Happy Labor Day weekend!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today was the last of lasts. And then there was supper with the family. And then there were goodbyes. And there were tears. Lots and lots of them. They're still coming, even though I ran out of them about an hour ago. I can't really tell you how I feel right now, not adequately. I just hurt. My heart hurts. I've had my life planned out for so many years in my head. House in South Minneapolis, raising my kids with my sister five minutes away. Family suppers, birthday parties, helping Mom with peanut brittle, South High pancake breakfasts, all of it. It was the plan.
And tonight as I drove away from my parent's house I realized that that plan isn't going to happen. I've got a loving husband whom I adore. And there is a part of my rational brain that knows that this new plan can be just as good, just as happy, just as full. But my heart didn't get that memo. Not yet anyway. So I'm going to cut myself some slack and cry a little more tonight, and try not to look at the skyline too much as we head south on 35W tomorrow morning, heading for Nebraska.
Did I mention that Zac's folks only have dial up? Oh good lord. There is something worse than leaving your family.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Yesterday was Cassie and Dominic's wedding. So it's official. The Four Granddaughters, Kristy, Cassandra, Megan and I are all married. How weird is that? None of us share a last name anymore. It was a beautiful ceremony. Aesthetically is was gorgeous. I had no doubt it would be. Cassie has an excellent eye for putting things together. Her outfits are always classy and fashionable. She mixes colors and patterns and textures really well. I knew that she would look stunning on her wedding day, and that her wedding party would look amazing. She didn't disappoint. The ceremony was moving. I cried. Of course. I'd probably cry anyway, but with my emotion-meter already running at a high level, I was a shoe-in for the waterworks.
After the wedding we headed up to a place in Brooklyn Park for the reception. We had some food a few drinks, danced a little. It was a really good time. It was so great having Zac there. I've spent so much time describing things to him, in letters, in e-mails, on the phone. For a long time it's been me relaying the stories to him. And this time around he gets to be part of the story. Like right after the wedding, we were outside the church milling around the stairs. My Dad had Lincoln and decided to sit down on the stairs. So Dad sat down on one stair, and he had Lincoln sit down on the stair in front of him. Zac looks at them and says, "Look at that potbelly!" referring to Licoln. Of course Dad seizes upon the opportunity and yelps, feigning hurt, "Gee, thanks a lot, Zac!" Zac turned red and stammered, "Lincoln, I was referring to Lincoln!" Dad played it for a few more seconds, "Yeah, right. Try and back out of it now!" Dad's howling with laughter, Zac's doubled over. It was good. It was good to see my Dad and my husband joking around.
So today is the BBQ at my parent's house. I'm really looking forward to it. It will be a good time. And it will be emotional. But I think it's going to be a great way to say "see you later" to people.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Ugh. Too much eating out. Arby’s because Zac was craving it last night. Baker’s Square for breakfast today. It’s Greek to Me for supper. I feel bloated. And generally out of shape. So I have a great idea! Let’s go to the State Fair tomorrow and eat all that crap for 10 hours! Hooray! [sigh] I’m going to need a body transplant after this weekend. I may have to go on a juicing detox. I’ve seen people going through that however, and I would fear for those in close proximity to me.
Yes, Zac is here. We’re all happy to see him, my family, Paul, Toivo. Everyone is excited to spend time with him. Tomorrow is the Great Minnesota Get Together. One of my favorite things in the whole wide world. For the last three(?) years, Autumn and I have gone to the Fair together. Last year we were there for 14 hours. Yes. Fourteen. It was a magnificent performance. Autumn and I have an established plan of attack. We’ll have to see how much Fair Zac is able to put up with. He seems to understand that not going is not an option, so I think he’ll be able to humor me for at least a few hours. Megan and Paul will be going as well, but we will be meeting up there.
I’m glad to have Zac home. I’m still having a hard time realizing that he’s not going anywhere, not for awhile anyhow. He’s here. Permanently. It’s a good thing, to be sure, but I don’t think it will hit me until a couple weeks in that Zac isn’t here on leave. And every time I see him I feel like there is a readjustment period where we get reintroduced to each other. It’s a weird sort of dance. For the number of times we’ve done it you’d think I’d be used to it. But no. It’s always awkward. But I’m happy to see him, and he’s happy to see me. So I think it will be just fine.
Zac says he needs to PT tomorrow morning. (Physical Training). He’s concerned about not fitting into his uniform when we get to
[sigh] I’m too lazy to be atheletic.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
It’s been decided. I need a laptop of my own. I’m sitting here on the couch, kicked back watching the Twins game while I blog. This needs to continue. It’s a level of relaxation that I can’t quite adequately describe. The only way this could be any better is if I had a beer next to me. Unfortunately I have no beer in the house and I’m already in my pajamas. My desire to stay on the comfy couch in my comfy pajamas will win this round. Laziness, thy name is Kate.
Wrapping up this weekend – I already talked about Friday night’s birthday party and the cool things my family bestowed upon me. Saturday morning I met Jill for breakfast at the Birchwood Café. I have been living across from the Birchwood for about three years, and I had never been there for breakfast. Jill called me out on my lameness so we met up there for caffeine, good food and even better conversation. I have only recently started to get to know Jill, and I’m saddened that we won’t be able to kick back and hang out more. But I do have that secret ace up my sleeve of being in
Later that day I met up with my cousin, Sharon, for coffee. We’ve been meeting at the Blue Moon about once every 4-6 weeks for quite awhile now. Certainly since I’ve been back from OKC. When we do coffee, we’re in it for the long haul. Two hours is not unheard of. Often longer. We talk easily and freely about life. I think she works too hard, too often, but I admire her for her work ethic. I hope that at some point she is able to relax a little, sit back, and enjoy all the things that she loves to do. She’s been working two jobs for 10 years, one of them at Borders. Now, I’m a recovering bookseller myself, so I understand the irresistible pull of the bookstore, but I think she needs to take a break to enjoy all those books that she loves so well.
After I said “see you later” to
I love the Dome. It is one of my happy places in the world. And I was sad to leave. I went into the garage before I left and took a Sharpie to one of the walls. I wrote “Kate was here 8/17/2008”. I never claimed to be original. I think I just wanted to leave part of me there. So now when I go back next, whenever that is, I can remember exactly the last time I was there.
I smiled and hummed Cookie Monster’s “C is for Cookie” to myself as I drove out of the Dome’s driveway. A few tears fell. It’s what Megan and I used to sing at the top of our lungs when we were little, swinging on the giant tire swing, listening to our song reverberate in the forest. That’s the good stuff. That’s why it’s a happy place. And that’s why I’m glad I went.
Friday, August 15, 2008
I got the usual gift of money from a couple family members. Yes, we still do presents in my family. We're like that. We're a pretty small family, so there aren't many people to buy for and we like to spend money on each other. If I was from a family of 10 cousins, I'd imagine we wouldn't be able to be so generous. I got a new journal, some note cards and some picture frames for the fridge. Neat stuff to write with and such.
I also got one of the coolest birthday presents I have gotten in a very long time from my parents. I actually had to try and hold it together when I opened it. I don't think anyone realized how much it meant to me, but I didn't want to lose it tonight. So I just didn't look at mom or dad when I opened it. And I tried not to talk about it.
It was five CDs. Not just any CDs, but five CDs that all hold a special place in my heart. My Dad (and Mom) love music. All kinds. They have an amazing music collection. Megan and I were lucky to grow up in a house where music was frequently playing - Motown, Classical, R & B, Rock, some Country, everything. We'd listen to everything. MPR was on a lot in the house and classical music was on pretty much every morning during the week. We'd also listen to the Morning Show back in the day, which had it's own eclectic assortment of music.
There would be music and we'd dance in the kitchen and in the living room. It would play while we played cards and board games. It was always there. It seemed like every time we'd set up the house for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, Dad would toss something on and we'd all sing along and groove while we put stuff out. There'd be some Chicago, Doobie Bros., a little Spinners, maybe some Temptations, BeeGees, Barry White, it didn't matter. Something to jam to.
So I opened my gift today and found these:
J.S. Bach - Great Organ Works
A CD of classical organ music that rattles the windows and makes your internal organs feel like they might explode. I love pipe organs. I love the way they sound, the way they make you feel. And Bach could be so dramatic with his music. I just love the way it all comes together. I'm not a great classical music scholar, but I know what I like, and I like this.
Chuck Mangione - Children of Sanchez
According to my Dad, this is the best music made for a movie that was never released. (The movie that is.) It's stirring, it's fun, it gets your heart going. I can't quite describe it. You really should go to the bn.com site and listen to 30 seconds or so. It's one of those instrumental albums that I "sing" along to.
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
You want smooth? You want this album. I can't count the number of times I've watched my Dad dance with my Mom in the living room to this song. And then he'd dance with Megan or me. Any rhythm I have I can attribute to my parents' love for soul and R&B of the 1970s. Even when I was a little kid, I could tell that the Reverend was cool.
The Big Chill Soundtrack
Do you need to clean the house? Do dishes? Make pasties at church for six hours? This is your album. You can listen to every song again and again. And I have. It's like a sing-along album. I have fond memories of being at church for a pasty making Saturday and having a kitchen-full of 20 people singing, "I heard it through the grapevine" loudly. This was also a staple of family game nights. I can't count the number of times I've wished I could sing like Aretha. I dare you to tell me there isn't a single song on this album that you don't like.
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
I love this album. One that you can throw on at a party. Well, I'd throw it on at a party, even though it came out 11 years before I was born. And I wouldn't want to know anyone who objected to me playing it. They can leave my party if they don't like Pet Sounds. My parents listened to a lot of Beach Boys. Like I said, I'm not a music scholar, but I do know that Brian Wilson is regarded as a genius. And I do know how accessible their songs are, while still being musically significant.
So those are the five. Different in many, many respects. But they are all part of my life's sound track. And I was so delighted when I opened them up. To think that even if I'm a half a world away I can listen to "Let's Stay Together" while I set the Thanksgiving table, or sing "Ain't To Proud To Beg" while I clean the house, or dance with my kids in the living room humming along to "Children of Sanchez." They aren't the CDs you ever think to buy for yourself, but it is the music I've heard for 15-30 years, and I would miss it if it were gone. And it was a genius birthday gift. The best. My folks know me well.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tonight was my "bon voyage" happy hour, though I don't leave my job until next Wednesday. So a handful of friends from my current job and a few friends from prior placements all congregated at a bar/restaurant not too far from Thomson. We sat around, had a few beers, and laughed. I'm sure that the people in the restaurant thought I was drunk, with how loudly I was laughing, but really it was just the sheer delight of having that many people around that I like. I couldn't help but get all giddy and giggly. And when Heidi busted out with the comment, "I don't dislike him because he's Republican, I dislike him because he's poor," well, I almost lost it. I was buckled over at the waist, gasping for air. (In Heidi's defense, she was trying to say something about people voting for their future desires versus their immediate interests, but it didn't come out quite like that.)
Really, nights like tonight are the kind you wish you could bottle up and just keep with you for those days that suck. At one point I looked around and thought, "These people are here for me, because I asked them to come out and hang for a few hours. And these are some seriously kick-ass people. How cool is that???" I admire each of my friends for attributes they have - honesty, intelligence, humor, sarcasm, wit, compassion, work ethic, enthusiasm, joy. They're all amazing people and I really feel lucky to know each of them.
And then I thought, "How lame is it that we do this when people leave? Why don't we do this more when people stay?" But I'm glad at least we did it now, and I got to share some laughs and time away from work with people that I hold dear. I'm tired now from the laughing. Maybe it burned off the beers and chicken fingers. Maybe.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Funny story about Grandma: She uses one of those walkers that has four wheels and hand-brakes that many seniors do. Somewhere along the line in the last five years Paul started calling her Wheels when referring to her. Soon everyone in the family was calling her Wheels. She loves her nickname and will actually sign cards from "Wheels".
So Zac knew about Grandma's nickname, but he hadn't met her until the time he came up for our wedding in January. The night before the wedding, at the groom's dinner, my cousin Sharon approached Zac to ask him about the new car we had purchased. She asked him, "So how do you like your new wheels?" Zac looked a little surprised and responded, "I don't know. I just met her." Megan was a witness to the coversation. She nearly peed her pants. She gleefully retold it a number of times that weekend.
So tonight Megan, Lincoln, Mom, Grandma and I went out to dinner. We sat around and chit chatted about this, that, and the other thing. Then I drove Grandma home, as she lives about 10 blocks from me. We talked a little in the car. I talked about not having very many days left here in MN. She patted my hand and said, "Yup, and then you're leaving." I pulled up to her apartment building and helped her out of the car. We talked a little more. She could tell I was getting a little choked up. She said, "Yeah, but traveling? You've got to do that. When you get to be my age, you get to look back and say 'I was there'. 'I did that'. And . . . that's everything."
I was kind of dumbfounded at that. She went on, "You've got to do it when you can do it. And you can do it now. So you need to go." I must have looked like I was going to cry because she finished, "Yes, it it hard. But it's going to be okay."
I stood there, a little stunned. I felt like she has just said the most profound thing I've ever heard. She hugged me, and kissed me and she walked into her building. And now I'm sitting here, just shaking my head, wondering where her insight and thought came from. Maybe she knew I needed to hear that. And in that moment I believed her. So I'm just going to keep replaying that in my head. "Yes, it is hard. But it's going to be okay."
Saturday, August 9, 2008
So Cassie is getting married. And moving to New York. Her fiance got a nice job out in Manhattan and they are in the process of moving out there for awhile. I think it's supposed to be a year assignment or something. It's a strange predicament. I, the oldest, am moving to Hawaii to be with my husband. She, the youngest, is moving to NYC to be with hers. And both of our sisters will remain in MN. Cassie is tight with Kristy. I am tight with Megan. It will be tough for both pairs of sisters to be far away from one another.
So we went out tonight. A final 'Hurrah' of sorts. It was dinner and drinking and dancing. It was fun. It made a few new memories that we can all keep with us as we move around and start our new lives. We're all supposed to be adults now, with jobs and families of our own to worry about. But as far as I'm concerned, it will always be the four of us, sitting around the card table at the "kids' table". And I will miss our holidays together. But I know that we're not foolish enough to let our friendships lapse, so I look forward to our future time together, even if it takes trans-American flights to see each other.
(And for the record, I drank hardly anything tonight, I just stayed out too late. I can't believe I used to be able to stay up all night when I was in college. I should have been in bed by 9:30. And I got home at 1:45. That's insane. I am going to need two or three naps tomorrow.)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
It was good to see Autumn. I don't see her enough. Hopefully we'll be able to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday together. That's her thing. She's an Olympic nut. It's endearing. She knows more about the Olympics, and the television coverage, than anyone I know. I can't help put ride her enthusiasm every two years to watch obscure sports. Tonight she reminded me, with glee, that the countries are introduced at the opening ceremonies with the last host (Greece) going first and the host country (China) going last. Everyone else is in the middle, introduced alphabetically. And at that point she pointed out, "Who knows what order they're going to come out in??? Do you know the Chinese alphabet?" I thought back to the Greek Olympics and remembered how random the countries seemed, as the Cyrillic alphabet is different than the Roman and how they named countries differently. Suddenly the chaos of the Chinese alphabet was really mesmerizing. I retorted, "I'm not sure they have an alphabet. It's a communist country. All letters are equal." And then we giggled about how the hell you'd organize a bookstore if you didn't have an alphabet.
Then baseball started, and we were into that. Autumn is one of my few female friends who likes sports, and sports-talk radio, as much as I do. We bounced between discussing work and throwing our hands in the air in rejoice and despair as the two games unfolded between the two screens. Finally we had to go. I listened to the game on KSTP on the way home, hoping that the Twins would put together some sort of 9th inning heroics. But no. Just another crushing defeat. If they were going to toy with my emotions like that I wish they would have told me ahead of time. This is just cruel.
But overall, it was a good night.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
About 5 out of 7 nights each week, around 9:00pm, Zac and I talk via Skype. My computer dials his, or his dials mine, the microphones kick in, and we talk for about an hour. That's not uncommon for us, duration or frequency. 75% of my relationship with Zac, tracing back to our first long-distance dating, has been via phone. We don't do 10 minute phone conversations. I'd guess our average phone calls were about an hour. I remember early on we talked for almost three hours one night. (My father was astounded at the number of minutes I was using, but they were all late at night so no harm, no foul.) It gives me a great amount of confidence that we'll always have stuff to talk about, since we're able to routinely manufacture hour-long phone calls out of only, "How was your day?"
Usually while we're talking we'll exchange a few instant messages to each other. We'll make jokes, make inappropriate comments about what we'll do to the other person when we're finally in the same zip code again, use the emoticons to reinforce what we're saying, that sort of thing. The usual routine is we say goodnight, that we love each other, and then hang up. Then we send an instant message saying the same thing. "Good night. Love you!" Then we retire to our respective lives again. 13 months. The same thing. Almost every night.
Some nights though, when there's a particularly tough subject that we just couldn't find a way to talk about, we continue the conversation after we get off the phone, exclusively by messaging. If there was something I couldn't say directly to him, I'll type it. He does the same with me. For some reason sometimes we're better able to 'talk' about big issues by IMing about them. Maybe it's because you have a moment to react and digest to what the other person said before needing to respond. You know that phrase, "Think before you speak"? Well, most people don't. Sometimes typing gives you that extra nano-second to think-then-speak.
Like tonight. I couldn't bring myself to say to Zac that I'm terrified that I'm going to disappear. That in a few short years I'm not going to be Kate anymore, I'm just going to be another non-descript, generic, cookie-cutter Navy wifey/mother. I was able to unload some of the worries that have been accumulating and was able to communicate them to Zac, which I wasn't able to do "in person". The IMing really is invaluable for me in that respect. And it's comforting to know that Zac hears me, that he puts some thought into a response, and isn't just nodding to placate me.
I found out Zac's brother and sister-in-law are expecting their second child in March tonight. Zac's brother, Chris, called him to let him know. I'm very happy for them, and I'm sure that Collin will be an excellent older brother. Hopefully when we get to Nebraska everyone will be paying attention grandson Collin and Sara's pregnancy. I don't want to be asked, "So when are you having kids?" 15 times. I know that Zac has my back on that one though. He's firmly in the "It's none of anyone's business but our own" camp, and he's not afraid to tell people exactly that. I like that about him.
I'm tired, but not sleepy. But perhaps I should go to bed, in case I do ever decide to drift off. Too much on my mind tonight.