Moving On

From Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.

I have given up on waiting for Dropbox to upload the 5th Harry Potter book.  Either it’s too big, or my mom’s internet is too slow.  If I want it, I’m going to have to go over there and borrow her CDs. 

In the meantime, I’ve moved on to the Hunger Games.  I’m only about an hour in (and it’s more than 11 hours long), but so far I am loving the writing.  I’m not crazy about the reader, but most of the time I’m lost enough in the story that the reader becomes secondary. 

My mom tried to get us to go with her to see the movie on Sunday, but I told her I want to read (er—listen to) the book first.  I guess I’m going to make that happen sooner rather than later.  Go me.

In other news, I am desperately craving a vacation this week.  Nothing extravagant—just a lounge chair, an umbrella, my toes in the sand—and the rest of the dang Harry Potter books!

 

Addicted

Hp_audioIt’s taken me a while to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon.  A long while.

Sure, I saw all of the movies, but I never read any of the books.  I figured seeing the movies was good enough for me.

And then… I got myself hooked on audiobooks for the drive to and from work.  And then… I realized how freaking expensive audiobooks are.  And after I had finished listening to every book Chelsea Handler ever had a hand in, I was at a loss for what should come next—and I wasn’t feeling much like spending $30 on a new book.

So, I set up a shared dropbox folder with my mom and asked her to send over the Harry Potter books.  She bought the audio version on CD when each book came out and has raved for years about how much she loves the guy who reads them.  She listens to them over and over again, and has even downloaded other books just because it’s this particular guy doing the reading.

I started at the beginning of the series, and soon, I found that instead of listening to and from work, I was also listening while I walked the dogs in the afternoon.  Then I noticed that I was continuing to listen as I watered the garden after our walk was finished.  Then, I was listening while I was washing the previous night’s dishes and starting the prep work on dinner. 

Eventually, I got to a point where I was (sort of) disappointed when Catch would come home because it meant pulling out my headphones.  I even started closing my office door at lunch and listening on my lunch break.

I just finished the fourth book late Saturday night.  Sunday was a lazy, rainy day and I was so looking forward to putting the 5th book on my iphone and listening while I baked oatmeal cookies and made soup for our lunches this week—but to my horror, I discovered that I never got the 5th book from my mom. 

So now, I am going through some severe Harry Potter withdrawal.  I listened to music on my way into work.  I gazed longingly at my iPhone during my silent lunch hour.  I am positively dreading the drive home—music will not distract me from the traffic nearly as well.

What’s a muggle to do?

On Coffee

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For years, I have had a crazy love affair with coffee.  My taste in coffee has evolved much like my taste in wine.  I started out craving the sickly sweet stuff, and now I can’t stomach the thought of a caramel macchiato any better than I can a glass of white zin.

The many, many caramel macchiatos I enjoyed in my early twenties lead to some very interesting move-on-after-a-bad-breakup-sex with a barista.  (I’d like to never be bruised in all of those places ever again, please.)

I met Catch at the tail end of the caramel macchiato phase.  It was a time when I was perfectly content to sit and write with my best friend for HOURS at our favorite Starbucks after work.  I had a mad crush on (another) green apron-wearing barista at the time, too—she flirted with me like mad, but nothing ever materialized because I was too big of a chicken. 

To this day, caramel macchiatos remind me of that crazy time of self-discovery that involved vegetarianism, nanowrimo novels, horrible first/last dates, my only one-night stand, karaoke bars, dancing with gay men, endless hours of blogging, and the realization that broken hearts are just meant to be.

Fortunately, somewhere along the line I discovered that I actually like the taste of coffee more than the taste of all the sugar I was loading into it.  That lead me to the goodness of a plain old (soy) latte. 

And now, here I am—happily married with four legged children and a routine that does not involve watching drunk gay men sing Barry Manilow in a bar called Bananas.  Catch even proposed to me on a Starbucks cup.

Let me just tell you—as boring as a plain old (triple grande soy) latte may seem, I will take it any day over the insanity of the caramel macchiato.

 

Sunflowers

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I have a painting hanging in my office that my sister made for me at least ten years ago.

I had just moved into my first apartment and man were the walls bare.  We had nothing but a bed, a leather recliner that I think we picked up on the side of the road, a twenty dollar IKEA coffee table, and an old stained easy chair that my mother gave us.  There was nothing hanging on the walls except a small painting my girlfriend at the time has painted for me in high school. 

So, I reached out for the help of an enthusiastic artist—my baby sister.  I was about twenty and she would have been about 8 or 9.  She gave me two watercolor paintings—one was a vase of flowers, and the other was sort of an abstract sunflower.

I have always had a special place in my heart for sunflowers.  For a while, they were my favorite flower.  In high school, I bought a bunch of them one day to bring to a friend who was in the hospital—I was supposed to visit her the next day.  Sadly, she never made it to the next day, and I was left with that bouquet of sunflowers as a reminder of her and all that her life should have been. 

Being the dramatic and moody fifteen year old that I was, I dried those sunflowers and kept them for YEARS.  I’m actually not even sure that they aren’t still in a memory box tucked away in my garage somewhere.  I feel like I probably threw them away the last time we moved, but at the same time, I can’t imagine myself being able to throw them in a trash can.  If I did throw them away, I wish it would have occurred to me to crush them up and mix them into my garden soil.  How symbolic that would have been—my fifteen year old self would have loved it.

That’s beside the point, though.  The point is that my sister knows nothing of all that—and still doesn’t to this day.  All she knows is that she gave me this sunflower painting and I loved it and hung it in my apartment until I moved out of that apartment, and it has resided in my office ever since.  She probably doesn’t even remember that.

Now, I’m moving offices (again), and I’m looking at this picture and wondering if it still has a place in my life, or if it’s time for something new.  At this stage in our lives, my sister and I don’t talk to each other.  Where that used to be something that was forced on us because my stepmother wouldn’t allow us to have a relationship, and it used to truly break my heart—but I’ve made peace with that.  My sister was maid of honor in my wedding, but she’s just not in a place right now where she wants to be a part of my life in the way that I want her to be—and I’m in a place where I’m not too keen on being taken advantage of and lied to.

That aside, my friend died half a lifetime ago.  Literally.  I don’t need to hang on to that anymore, either. 

I think it’s time to fill that space with something new—with something relevant to my life now instead of my life then.  You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to go back to that old life, so why would I want it hanging on my walls reminding me?

 

Reasons

I love that sometimes, our date nights are nothing more than dinner out and a trip to the grocery store.

I love that rain cancels softball tournaments and gives us an unexpected lazy Saturday to catch up on a month of recorded shows—especially when it means eating our St. Patty’s Day corned beef & cabbage on the couch in our pajamas with nowhere to be.

I love that even though the improvised stuffed cabbage I made last night was mediocre (at best), she is still willing to eat leftovers tonight so that I don’t have to cook again.

I love it even more that when I came home from work exhausted and way too tired to re-heat leftovers, and contemplating ordering a pizza, she walked through the door and said, “You wanna just order a pizza.”

I love that despite waking her up way too early because I couldn’t sleep, she still let me put my cold feet on her lap under the blanket when she finally came out to the couch and turned on the news.

Everything happens for a reason, and she is my reason.   

Calendar Pages

Where I love the spring and summer for their beautiful weather, time outdoors, vacations and festivities, there is one thing that just drives me crazy about these months: overscheduling.

It never fails that the second the temperatures start hitting the mid seventies and above on a regular basis, our calendar starts to fill—and fill—and fill some more.  Sometime next month, I will likely flip through calendar pages and find that we have no unscheduled Saturdays until September—and even September will only have one or two.

That’s the thing about the balance of marriage, family and friends—all these wonderful people we’ve filled our lives with actually want to spend time with us and invite us to things.  Sometimes I wish we could take all of the birthdays, showers and weddings for all those months and just shove them into one weekend.  One crazy, party-of-the-year kind of weekend.  It could start on Friday night and end when everyone passes out poolside on a Sunday afternoon.

Now if I could just get the families on board…

 

Fresh Air

I had a dream last night that one of my coworkers came into my bedroom while I was asleep and used my deodorant.  I’m not sure what that means, exactly.  I’m not sure that I really want to know what it means, either.

FireOn Monday night, we were both in need of some r & r—or at least the illusion of r & R.  We lit our new tiki torches out back, got a fire going in our fire pit and spent the evening outside enjoying how much the fire made everything feel like camping.  I think the only noise in the neighborhood was the two of us sitting back there talking and laughing at our ridiculous hounds.  Twix climbed the footrest for the patio furniture and tried to curl up on it to be close to us, even though she is twice the size of the thing, and Rolo gave up on the cold and headed straight for the couch the minute the stars came out.   

Now through July are my absolute favorite months of the year.  It feels like the weight of the winter is slowly lifting and it's finally time to emerge from hibernation.

 

Heavier Things

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I took a vacation day from work on Friday to attend a funeral with my wife and my in-laws.  Fortunately, I had no idea what I was walking into, or I probably wouldn’t have taken the day off and then I wouldn’t have been there to hug my wife and mother in law when the drama started and the celebration of a life turned into verbal attacks amongst family.

What is it about death and funerals that brings out the worst in people?

It should be a time of lending a hand and leaning on each other, but so often it evolves into those highly tense, “it’s all about me” scenes.  It’s so unfortunate.

I hate to see people I love being so hurt by the words of people who make judgments without all of the information.  I wish I could wave my Harry Potter wand and make it all better.  Instead, I will walk the hounds, cook our dinner, mix up some cocktails and ready the fire pit in the garden so that my emotionally exhausted wife can recharge a bit.  I hope.

Happily, we have daffodils.  (They are now wide open and absolutely gorgeous–especially when the morning light filters in through the windows.  I wish we could have daffodils sitting there all year round.)

 

In the Blink of an Eye

Nana_igThis has been one of those whirlwind weeks.  We celebrated my nana’s 80th birthday on Monday night.  I had my photography class on Tuesday night.  Yesterday, my wife was offered a promotion at work, so we went out and celebrated.  Tonight, we’re having friends over for pizza & wine.  Tomorrow, I have the day off of work to attend a funeral with my in-laws that my sister-in-law is flying in for with her husband, so the weekend will likely be spent squeezing in some quality time with them.

The dogs have plenty of time for naps—when is it my turn?

Yawn.

Twix_nap  Twix_rolo_Window