Thursday, October 28, 2010

Making Way for Reality

I have not blogged anything in months for many and various reasons. Number one and foremost is time. There just hasn't been a block of time where I have felt that I could sit down and give myself the pleasure of letting the words pour out of me. There has just been too much going on in and around my life the last several months that has required so much of my attention.

It came to my siblings and my attention in early July that our parents were in need of help. We had no idea of the extent of the help they needed until my sister, Patty, flew up from California and we made our foray into the basement. There, we discovered that my father had not thrown away any mail since 2005. There were boxes full of junk mail, magazines, birthday cards, Father Day cards, requests from every charity known to man, subscriptions to the NRA, every veteran association, hundreds of catalogues and the list would go into infinity. My father has never owned a gun and probably has not shot one since he left the Army when WW II (and I'm not sure how often a clerk in the army shoots guns) was over so why he felt he had to be a card carrying member of the NRA is beyond my comprehension.

And there was a myriad of house repairs to be done from the small to the large. And though my mother had always kept a clean house, at 90, she was no longer able to do it all. My daughter calls her "Pocket Grandma" because Mom has become so tiny and frail. Katy just tells her she's going to put Grandma in her pocket and carry her around. There is also a large contingency of elderly Americans that became huge material consumers, buying everything they desired, because they could. But they also had the memories of living through the depression, so very little is thrown away because you can always find a use for it later. I have done some reading on this and it is very common amongst the elderly. I also discovered that many of my friends have gone through this exact same thing at one time or another. I urge you to cautiously check your parents basement. And check their canned goods for the expiration dates, that in itself makes for one very scary adventure when you wonder if you've been eating this stuff when we came over for dinner!

This meant starting at the ground level and that meant the garage. Patty, Tony and myself spent one whole day in breaking down the cardboard boxes and hauling one packed to the rafters load to the recycling center. This gave us a center of operations. I spent several days bagging over 2500 home made video's. As I was pulling them off the shelves, I stopped to look at one and had to laugh. My father had taped Mary Poppins for his granddaughters. Wasn't that the sweetest thing? But the next movie was Psycho. I shudder to think how old my girls were when Grandpa handed them this tape to watch.

My job was also to go through the towering boxes of mail and pull out anything that was of value and importance and to contact as many as I could to remove my parents from the mailing list. I found letters from psychics, hundreds from charities requesting money, and catalogues selling the most useless junk I have ever seen. Unfortunately, my father was sending a lot of money to charities, ordering this useless junk and I don't even want to know about the psychics. This project alone took weeks and is still not entirely done.

As I was sitting there making my lists, my phone calls and bagging up this mountain of paperwork to be taken to recycling, Patty was going through closets, drawers, cupboards and pulling out the remnants of our childhood and the accumulation since we all left home. I believe the count was 32 flashlights, countless radio's and enough batteries to keep Seattle going through the next windstorm. We also made a pact. If there was any duct tape on it, it went into the garbage. This was the only way my father knew how to "fix" anything, and that was to duct it.

Tony, bless his heart, put on his carpenter belt and went to work tearing down old shelving, building new shelving, replacing parts of the deck and correctly fixing what was broken. Phillip managed to come up for several days and he and Tony went to work on the yard which resulted in a completely filled commercial dumpster. Carol and Delo came up from Arizona and spent at least three weeks on the cleaning, repairing and painting crew.

So, several months later the results were about 25 truckloads to the dump, a three day garage sale and nine loads to Goodwill. The house breathed a sigh of relief, it is clean, repaired, painted and comfortable. I no longer get that claustrophobic feeling because all of the 160 copper jello molds that were on the kitchen wall have found new homes.

Also, just before and during all of this my fathers health deteriorated rapidly and the effect of all this chaos and worry over my father took it's toll on my mother. For instance this was a typical day for us: I went grocery shopping, arrived at my parents house, went to work on the paperwork while around nine in the morning Patty took Daddy to the doctor as we felt he had a bowel obstruction. Mom accompanied them to the doctor. I had hired my nephew, Michael, to come help Tony do heavy loading and dump runs. I went upstairs in the early afternoon to start dinner when the phone rang. It was Patty asking me to come to the doctors office to get Daddy as he was tired and hungry and needed to go home but she had to stay there because during Daddy's checkup, Mom started to have a "heart episode" and was in triage. I ran out of the house, telling the boys I would be back and why.

I get to the doctors office and I was not able to see my mother because she was in having x-rays and would probably be transferred to the hospital. So we load Daddy into my car and drive him home where I feed him and put him to bed. I finished the dinner preparations, and was getting ready to call Joanie to see if she could stay with my Dad while Tony and I run to the hospital to see Mom when the front door opens and in walked my Mother and Patty. I asked Mom why she wasn't at the hospital and she declared with her usual no nonsense Midwestern attitude "If I'm going to die, I'll darn well die in my own bed!" My response to that was "Fine, dinner's on the table, let's eat." What else can you say?!

My point of this blog is that we are a family in transition. Our parents needed us and I hope and think we stepped up for that. We worked together as a unit, we declared Patty as the President of this new corporation and we took her direction. And the one thing I am the proudest of is we did it with love and a huge sense of humor. We could not be angry that Dad had 32 flashlights. We had to laugh and we made it a game of whoever found the most flashlights won.
If somebody got grumpy, we didn't get mad or angry at them, we fed them because that's what Italian familes do. We laughed when we realized that Mom had over 400 tablecloths with matching napkins because that is so my Mother.

So, at this point in our new journey, our 94 year old father has diabetes, cancer, macular degeneration, dementia and assorted other issues. He has times where he doesn't know who we are, or he worries about us because he thinks we are small children and constantly asks Mom where we are if we are not in the room. He does remember that I am the one doing most of the cooking and when I walk in the question is always what am I fixing for dinner. What can I say, food is very important in our family! Patty takes very good care of him with Tony as backup.

So our days of twelve to fourteen hours a day of hard labor are coming to an end and the biggest loss was the lovely bottle of Napolean Brandy I dropped that we were going to drink when it was all done. Patty and I both shed a tear or two over that.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Star Light Star Bright

I left the club on the waterfront about 10:00 tonight and as I pulled out of the parking lot I looked across at the night sky and my breath caught in my throat. It was one of the most gorgeous skies I have ever seen. It was a true deep lavender, the shining sliver of the moon hanging over the black shadows of the Olympic Mountains. Just above the moon and to the right was a brilliant star (Mars? North Star? I know nothing about astronomy!) It was breathtaking and as I drove home I started to remember other skies.

Many years ago, my family and my brother/sister-in-law and their daughters camped in Chinook at the mouth of the Columbia River. Trust me, there are no city lights to diffuse your view of the sky. We deliberately chose the week of the Perseid Meteor shower that occurs every August. We were more than lucky, the weather being very warm and the skies were very clear.

We all laid our sleeping bags out and waited for the show to begin. I had never before and never since seen such a sight in all of my life. The meteors were like fireballs in the sky and no sooner did one burn out then another one appeared. Sometimes there were several hurtling past us at the same time. The campground was filled with our wonder as Heather, Anna, Lisa and Katy exclaimed over and over again, "look, look, look at that one! Did you see that one? That one was the biggest one yet!" I will never forget that evening as the skies took on a mystical magic of their own.

I have a fascination for the Perseids. I'm the crazy lady that drags her blanket out to the front yard with a few pillows and fends off the neighborhood cats and a raccoon or two just in the hope that I will see that shooting star. Then I can wish on it and all will be well.

I flew to Lake Tahoe a few years ago for a mini family reunion in August and I was so excited that I might have the opportunity to see the meteors. Nobody else in the family wanted to watch with me so I took my blanket and walked down to the beach and laid there for a few hours. Here I was at a very high point on the earth and far away from lights but unfortunately there was enough of a cloud cover that I never saw a one.

One year in the month of November I was on a cruise ship in the Mississippi racing towards the Gulf and several islands beyond. I stepped out of the room I was sharing with friends onto the deck. Just as I looked up, a shooting star streaked across the sky just for me. I made my wish and yes, it was a lovely cruise.

I was down in Austin TX visiting my aunt one April. Just as we stepped outside a ball of fire shot across the sky. We stopped, looked at each other to confirm that we both saw it and burst out laughing. Weren't we so special to have seen that?

Just last summer my BFF, Joanie, and I were driving when a large meteor shot across the Edmonds waterfront. We raced down to the beach, but alas, we did not see anymore fireworks. So we just meandered up to Dairy Queen and consoled ourselves with banana splits. That and Joanie's company made up for only seeing one.

I think one of my favorites times was when this crazy lady (that would be me) and my daughter, Lisa, were laying out on the blanket on a hot summer night. We were just passing the time, talking, exclaiming over the light show when we both started to get drowsy. I was fighting closing my eyes when I realized the sky was undulating and it had turned emerald green. I reached over and grabbed my daughters hand and asked her if she was seeing the same thing I was seeing. I knew I hadn't done any drugs in the 60's so this was not a flashback. We were blessed to be watching the Aurora Borealis. This was confirmed by the newspaper article in the next days paper.

To this day, I will get out of my car and look up into the sky. Just checking it out, hoping for a brilliant flash across the sky. One can always hope there will be one to wish on, you know, you can never have too many wishes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Release it to the Universe!

Everybody needs a release. I would say I'm a fairly positive thinking individual. I can let a lot of stuff slide off my back like water and a ducks butt. But, as with all of us, things start building up. Aging parents, their health issues, my health issues, the economy, the loss of all three of my beloved pets in a six month period, family issues, house repairs (see last blog), the BP oil spill, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan that has been brought home personally by my nephew Sean being in Iraq and just the day to day bumps in the road that we are all faced with.

As a young child, my mother, the professional seamstress, tried to teach me to sew. Yeah, that didn't work. Have you ever sewn your finger to the material? My mother tried to teach me crafts. I had more glue and glitter on me than the Christmas cards I was trying to make. Plus the cards kept sticking to my fingers and were pretty well torn and shredded by the time I got through.

I even remember one time where she showed me how to fry marbles, drop them in cold water so they would crackle and glue them onto tiles to make matchbox holders. I kept burning my fingers on the hot marbles. I tried to sell them door to door but if I remember correctly the profit went to ointment and band-aids.

My mother could look at a dress in Vogue, create the pattern and have it sewn all in one day. That's another gene I didn't get. I think I lean very heavy to the Messina side of the chromosome chart.

I made a hooked rug once. Well, I made half of a hooked rug once. Paint by numbers? I think I once got to the number 5, that was about half way through and I got bored. Holly's Mom taught me to crochet. I never got beyond crocheting a long rope. Have I mentioned my ADD?

So, crafts, sewing and hobbies of that caliber have just never been my thing. I envy people who can create with their minds and with their hands but have learned to accept that will never be my cup of tea. I just handed over a huge bag of material to a very talented friend. It had been sitting in my office waiting to be sewn into doo-rags for my friends with cancer. She is going to make neck coolers out of them and send them to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, thank God, I do have a release. It's dance, plain and simple. I forced myself to get ready today, not really in the mood. I drove to the Highliner, parked the car and wandered in kind of in a blue funk wishing I could have stayed home and watched "It's Complicated" for the second time. I love Nancy Myers films. The woman gets me.

But I walked in and immediately was hugged and greeted by so many friends. And some I haven't seen in a very long time. By the way, Barbara, I meant what I said. You look fabulous and it was wonderful to see you! People grabbed my hand and squeezed it, patted my back, put their arms around my shoulders. The immediate feeling of being where I belonged and feeling liked and loved raised up my spirits in a matter of minutes.

Then the music started. I know zydeco isn't for everybody. I know that some people just don't get it. I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn that because of the time and place my grandparents settled into New Orleans, I am considered Creole Italian. I didn't even know there was such a thing but I am so proud of that silly little part of my ancestery I could just about bust my buttons (which I do frequently just because of my bosom!).

OK, back to the music (did I mention my ADD?). It started and one of my favorite partners asked me to dance, then another and another and another until it was my time to help at the entrance. This music, this dance raises my endorphins and once again, though all may not be right with my world, it makes it ok. It makes me a stronger person to face the lumps and the bumps of the coming week.

I hope you have your releases, whether it's gardening, art, reading, playing an instrument, bicycling, sports, motorcycles, whatever. I am amazed and impressed by what my friends put on Facebook every day as they share their daily activities with the world. Just something so that you can get out and get the stink off ya!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is it just me?

Trying to get ready for my Mother's 90th birthday party this Saturday (40-50 guests) and possibly putting my home on the market. I made a list of the items that needed to be repaired, painted, glued, screwed and removed.

I was not raised in a household where I was taught how to do these things, so some I learn on my own, some I learn by somebody showing me and some I do the old fashioned way - I pay to have them done.

The genes I inherited in home repair came from my father. My mother can just about fix anything but she was not somebody that showed you how to do it because she was so busy raising five kids she just did it. And we let her because that's the way it was.

Now, my father. A dear family friend once said to me about my father "You're father would do anything for anybody - if he could do anything". Yes, that sums up my dad. He would study a hand saw for 30 minutes trying to figure out which side to use and then go and use the straight side. You think I'm making this stuff up?

The first thing that has been on my list of repairs is a sliding shower door that the long plastic guide has since turned brittle and broken off in small parts the last few years. So the shower door has to be sort of lifted and moved over. I go to Lowe's and they have nothing in stock but am told they would have it online.

I go online. They have nothing like this at all. This plastic guide is what, 4 ft long? They have these little 2 inch long thingies. And it shows two different models and they are like under $3 for each one. So I order 2 of each not quite knowing what I need, but knowing I need something. Of course, they are not what I need. Anybody out there in repair land have a clue where I can find this long plastic guide? Oh yes, and did I mention that for my $12 online shopping spree at Lowe's I paid $10 for shipping? What a deal!

Then I have this bi-fold door in my kitchen that some doohickey broke at the top. So that door had to be lifted and twisted to open and close for about the last six years. I mostly left it open but if I cut the corner too quick into the kitchen I would invariably catch my shoulder on the open door. I've gotten used to that bruise on my left shoulder. So, I look at the door and go to Lowe's and buy this pin and then this other thing with a roller on top. I get home, get out the step ladder and get up there and nope, not the right thing. It needs a long thingy in the track, not the pin on the door.

So back to Lowe's. Again, two different things that kinda, sorta look alike but I'm not sure so again, I buy both. And nobody in a red vest walks by. Each item is about $4 each.

Divine Providence shines on me for when I get home my very tall, very helpful, very wonderful son-in-law is at my house. So I hand him the thingamabobs and ask which one he thinks would work so that the pin at the top of the door would fit into the track. He tries the metal one, but nooooo, that's not the one. Then he tries the plastic one and Eureka! that is the ticket. The door glides open and closed beautifully.

But wait, there's more. Isn't there always more when you are dealing with home repairs? The knob had come off the door a long time ago too. So I go back to Lowe's and buy two, shiny new knobs. I go to put them on. The screws that are in the packet with the knobs are 1/2 inch. The door is at least one inch wide.

Back in the car and smart me, I bring along the knob and take the screw from the other door so I have an example of what I need. I put them in a plastic baggy, put them in my purse and the good Catholic girl in me worries the whole time that Lowe's is going to think I stole them. I know I have to be clandestine about this so they don't make me walk the walk of shame! So I stand in front of the wall of screws and all of those other weird items I know nothing about for several minutes. Of course no one wearing a red vest walks by me the whole time I am standing there perusing 32,800 different types of screws.

I finally find the right packet. I match up the screw in my hand with the screw that is 8 1 1/2. Whatever the hell that all means. I pay my $1.19, get in my car and drive home.

I reach around to the back of the door and push the screw through the hole, it comes out the other side and I start to screw the shiny new knob onto it when it pushes through the hole. I am now wrapped around this door in a very odd position (have you seen my bosom?) As a matter of fact, my finger pushes through the hole and I have to wiggle it around to unstick it.

Yes, I get back into my car. This is not going to defeat me! I am going to get this damn door fixed if it is the last thing I do. I drive back to Lowe's. I find a round metal thing, I believe they are called washers. It is about 2 inches in diameter and I could not tell you what it cost because by this time I am a wild woman, standing at the check stand, muttering to myself and foaming at the mouth.

But the goods new is, it worked, it worked very well. I am now able to put my hand on the knob, the knob stays in place and the door glides open, oh so smoothly, and the door glides shut. I stood there for about 10 minutes just opening and closing the door.

Yes, I know I have lots of other talents but home repair is not one of them. I am a gracious hostess and everybody that walks into my home this Saturday for Mom's party will be invited to open and close my pantry door. Do I know how to entertain or what?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fabulous Dahling!

Just got back from seeing Sex & the City 2 with my BFF Joanie. And no, it was not as good as the first one but I still loved it. And in this day and age can I justify that they spent $3,000,000 on just the clothes? No, but it's Hollywood. And it had Liza Minnelli in it and she was fabulous.

There was New York and the exotic location of Abu Dhabi. Will I ever get to Abu Dhabi? Probably not in this life time but I do plan on going back to New York, maybe even this summer. New York, the capital of fabulous. I love New York. I loved going to the Plaza, going into the Oak Room and drinking Cosmo's. I will never forget that fabulous trip.

But the point of this blog is, yes, it was a movie, but it was a movie about being fabulous. And I want to be fabulous. I have moments where I feel pretty good about myself, but not fabulous.
Samantha is going through menopause and she's still fabulous. If she can do it, so can I.

I work hard, and I play hard and I try to be interesting. I am there for my kids, and I try to be there for my friends, but a few years ago I realized something. I was going into that age where women disappear. Especially short, chubby women. Short, chubby, older women. Yes, it's true. Once I realized that I started to really pay attention. I could be at the counter at Nordstrom waiting for help for a few minutes and if somebody younger and taller and thinner stood next to me the clerk would automatically help them first. Not just Nordstrom's, all stores. Especially Lowe's. Don't get me started on Lowe's. I've had more meltdowns in Lowe's than marshmallows in hot chocolate.

It's true, women start fading as they age if they don't do something about it. I dye my hair. I've dyed my hair since my mid-twenties when the gray started taking over. I was 100% white by the time I was 40. Every once in a while I will mutter that I'm letting it grow out and my daughters throw cold water in my face to bring me back to reality.

And I wear make-up. Lots of make-up. My eyebrows have left the building so they are drawn in on a daily basis. Eyeliner, shadow and mascara - because with glasses the eyes just sort of disappear for me without the whole smokey eye thing.

I can count on one hand where I left my home without wearing make-up. I will admit the ponytail and baseball cap have saved my bacon more times than I can say though when it comes to the hair. That's survival.

I have bought fabulous things. I buy them, and I get them home and I never wear them. Never. I have a jewel encrusted head band that is fabulous and I've never worn it. I have sparkling shawls, incredible silk scarves, boxes of jewelry, and some pretty great clothes, that I have never worn. I wear jeans and t-shirts. Yep, Mom jeans and t-shirt tops. No more. I will accessorize the hell out of my t-shirts and Mom jeans from here on out!

I am going to wear all of that stuff. Well, I'm going to wear it as soon as I can get to it. My bathroom is being remodeled and the toilet that has been sitting in the middle of my bedroom for a month just been installed. And as soon as my son-in-law installs the new shower heads and puts the shower doors back on and everything gets put back, then I'm going to get fabulous! The guys at Lowe's won't know what hit them!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ups, downs, overs and outs in my reinvention

I have not blogged in several weeks though I have encouraged others to blog, I seem to have lost the impetus. There could be several reasons combined for this that just sort of kept me at bay from the blogging keyboard. But as I've noted in past posts, I love to write. I love to meander down the road of words and string them together in the hopes that something halfway intelligent or humorous is created.

I was laid off the end of January. After having worked since 1972 I guess one could say a major part of my identity was my job. But I never really blogged about my job so that can't be it. I've spent the time since looking for another job, creating a new side business of booking bands and working on my book. All have kept me fairly busy but not so busy that I could not have taken the time out to blog.

Creating the new side business has been fun, hectic, interesting, and frustrating. I'm a bit on the ADD side so I have a tendency to bounce around getting things done. First step, get the email domain - check. Second step - study websites of others in the same business - check. Well, except for the times I would be looking at other websites and sort of meander off to read the newspaper online or pop over to Facebook to see who left something funny or profound on my page, or when I would wander over to my email to see if anybody was doing something fun and had invited me. Oh yeah, I was writing about my business start up. See, I am easily distracted. At the same time if I make myself focus, really focus, the sky could fall and I wouldn't have even heard Chicken Little.

Oh yes, I must have business cards. Thank God for Sean Patrick Donovan. He created the most exquisite business card with just the right amount of lasciviousness for me. My favorite colors, my symbol, the fleur de lis, and a saucy little message. Just perfect. Business cards - check!

Because of my volunteering, I have met several people who own clubs and book bands themselves. One gentlemen in particular has become my mentor. He seems willing to share anything he has with me in my quest for knowledge. He answers my questions, he explains how things work between the clubs, the bands, the booking agent, the manager, the splits. He explains to me the ego of the musician, the artiste! And I, in return, send him jokes. Business training - check!

After booking bands off and on for ten years for non-profits, it was time to take this experience and see if I really had any talent in this area and I will admit I have mixed success. But that's the nature of the business, it's up, it's down, it's over and it's out. Just ask Frank Sinatra.

I am currently the booking agent for Richard Allen and the Louisiana Experience. Richard is a brilliant musician and can play drums, keyboards, accordian and so on and so on. He is also a very talented composer. In short, Richard has what it takes to go somewhere. We are learning to communicate with each other, we are learning to be patient with each other and we are learning segments of the business together as we go along. We've had our ups, our downs, our overs and our outs but each time brings us a little closer to getting it all together. I believe in Richard, I believe in what he is trying to do so I keep moving forward with him.

And last summer I was about as lucky as you can get (a little take on the name of her first CD, "Lucky Girl") when I met Karen Lovely. As in The Karen Lovely Band. My brother, Phil, had hired Karen's blues band to play for the Central Point, OR "Battle of the Bones" picnic. I'm not quite clear what this is, barbecuing ribs and listening to music? I know Phil told me but remember, I'm ADD, throw in a pinch (a very large pinch) of menopause, probably some brain damage from raising children and oh, a bird must have flown by the window when he was telling me. Anyway, back to the point, being, what was the point? Oh yeah! Karen Lovely and her fabulous manager Lorie Haynes. Have you ever met somebody and felt like you could be really good friends with them? That's how it felt with Karen and Lori. We're women of an age. We've been through some battles. We've dealt with a lot of life. And we came back laughing. I think we came back with a vengeance. I think we're living life on our terms in the way we really want to. And we're doing it with a very strong sense of humor. I like living my life like that.

OK, back to my story. I had the honor to watch and listen as Karen sang her heart out at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival held every 4th of July weekend. The Karen Lovely Band was entered into the Journey to Memphis contest. So, in the blistering sun, Karen belted out songs that became embedded in my skin. The kind of music that when you hear it you pay attention, you focus and you think she's singing to you, she's singing about something that happened to you. And she won. Of course she won, those judges aren't stupid. Then she went to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January and came in second out of approximately 200 bands.

So, it was recently my honor to promote Karen up here in Seattle. I worked with the Highway 99 Blues Club, Lori, Karen and Richard. At first the club was a little skeptical because it was the Saturday of Memorial Weekend. And those of us who are "into" music in Seattle know that is Folk Life weekend. Folk Life is incredible, but Folk Life is the kiss of death to music clubs for that weekend.

But I had a plan. Open with zydeco and the zydeco dancers will come straight to the club from Folk Life (I know, because my name is Rita and I am a zydeholic). And I am a firm believer that zydeco and the blues are kissin' cousins. And I PR'd the hell out of it. I handed out hundreds of handbills created by Dana Sullivan (what's a girl to do - juggling two of the most talented illustrators/graphic artists in Washingont State - it keeps me in a tizzy!) I emailed it to the masses, I Facebooked it to my friends. The Washington Blues Society picked it up and ran with it. And my strategy worked, it really, really worked. Richard came on and whipped up the crowd to a dancing frenzy. The crowd that came to hear the blues loved the zydeco and the zydeco crowd loved the blues. It's like who would have thought of covering orange slices with chocolate? Then Karen started singing and I felt as if I was wearing velvet inside out, with the soft side against your skin. With sequins. Yep, like wearing your black velvet dress with the sequins inside out. That combination of softness and hardness that tries to lull you but keeps you aware. The joining of the two bands broke records for Memorial weekend Saturday nights.

I hope to do more of this as time goes on, finding the right combinations, the magic combinations. I am meeting some great people, I am learning so that's keeping my brain from turning to mush and I find this business very interesting and stimulating. Just one little episode in the Reinvention of Rita.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I have been teased by several friends that I am on Facebook way too much. And they are probably right. So I did kind of back off a bit.

I look at Facebook as a communication tool. And a reconnection tool. I send off short messages to friends about all sorts of things, exchange personal information and to announce what is going on in my life and to catch up what is going on in theirs. Unless you've been asleep at the wheel, music and dance are the top two in my passion list. Sometimes there is nothing going on for days, and other times it seems like I am shooting out breaking news broadcasts like CNN.

I like to share with my dance friends where the next cool zydeco or blues dance will be. I like to share with them if I have travel plans. And I am sad to say that I had to share the news that two of our high school classmates had passed on. This seems to fall to me as I am on the high school reunion committee.

But what I love most about Facebook is the ability it has given all of us to reconnect. One of the things that always bothered me as time went by were the friends that I loved that just seemed to drop by the wayside as life went on.

Friends that moved, friends lost through divorce, friends lost just because life got too busy with a full time job and raising children and just basically trying to get through life as best as one can. I hope I am over trying to get through life. I hope I am in that phase where I am living my life with eyes wide open, consciously and in the moment.

I no longer have to get kids to dance lessons, school functions, doctor appointments or help with homework. Though I loved doing all of this it was exhausting and it just seemed like there were a lot of years where I would drop into bed and wonder where the day went. I felt like the hamster on the proverbial wheel.

Now I have more time to do exactly what I want. And I do. For the most part. There is still that part of the day dedicated to work, but now a lot of my work is like play. And I like that. I know it won't always be this way, but it's good for now.

Now for the reconnection part of Facebook. I saw a friend tonight that I have not seen in almost 20 years. Her ex-husband was the best man in my wedding. Her daughter was the flower girl. It was at her daughter, Tiffany's, 40th birthday party that I was blessed to see Rhonda again. We had sent a few emails back and forth the last few months but that's not the same as actually seeing somebody in person. Rhonda lives in Eastern Washington now, so we just couldn't stop and have a cup of coffee.

But we saw each other tonight and ran into each others arms. I loved this woman and I know she loved me. As couples we would spend hours and hours in each others company, having dinner, bbq's, watching TV, playing cards. Rhonda and I would make candles for Christmas together. We drank gallons of coffee together and talked about our worlds. She taught me how to make lasagna. She taught me how to be a good mother.

But what we shared the most was just telling it like it is. I like women like that. No BS, here is how I feel, here is what I said, here is what I did. I like that. And we shared laughter, lots and lots of laughter. That is one of the things Rhonda does best, telling it like it is and laughter. Her eyes twinkle, her smile lights up a room and her laughter is contagious.

Rhonda was divorced, remarried and moved away. I was divorced. Our paths never crossed. But now that we have reconnected, we are promising to keep in touch.

And when I got home tonight there was a FB email from a neighbor, again, removed from friendship by divorce and moving to Wisconsin about 20 years ago. Another woman that I loved. She was bright, funny and very loving. I've always missed her, thought about her often but.... Now we have FB to catch up on our lives and what is going on with our kids.

I have reconnected with friends from parochial school, high school (Love you, Viv!), people I used to work with and just friends that had faded into the sunset and my life is better for it. I have made new friends (Lori , Karen, CeeCee!), new business associates. I keep in better touch with people in my life that matter to me, nieces and nephews who are now in the kind of life that is ruled by their jobs, their kids, their spouses. So it's nice to just get a little line once in a while, to reconnect and to stay connected. I left my house tonight feeling a little sad, a little disconnected. Now the balance is back, all is right with the world and I've plugged back into it.