Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Dude!

Back in the early 1990s, when my sister Faith and I were at our very most awkward (I fervently hope that is the most awkward I will ever be!!) we displayed our intrinsic hipness by going from calling our Dad "Dad" to calling him "Dude" (keep in mind this was long before the Big Lebowski, although in my opinion, David Brainerd could give The Dude a run for his money in straight up coolness).  I remember feeling a bit of excitement whenever I'd yell "I love you Dude!" in a crowd, like I was a secret badass.

Here are the facts:
  1. My Dad is cooler than yours
  2. My Dad has the best hair, and had no problem letting us style his tight curls into "Bozo the Clown" (even when we didn't have a clue who Bozo was)
  3. Even though he hasn't had a mustache since I was a teenager, any time I see a man with a mustache, I immediately feel a bit of fondness toward him because of my Dad's old 'stache
  4. The same goes for men smoking pipes 
  5. Dad wore flannel shirts before they were cool in the nineties, and still wears them today (actually, they're the exact same shirts, and the elbows have pretty much disintegrated)
I have an amazing relationship with everyone in my family; we're a close bunch, and genuinely like each other (okay, I can only speak for myself, maybe there's an "I hate Jessy" club going on behind my back, but if there is - they're very good actors when we're hanging out).  

Some of my best memories are of doing regular old stuff with Dad/Dude.  I remember a particular trip to the dump (probably around 1987/1988), and Mom giving the usual warning of not bringing anything home.  Sure, I remember it smelling pretty bad at first, but I got used to it - and then I discovered all the treasures! I remember being baffled at what kind of person would throw away perfectly good furniture, books with the covers missing, wood that could be made into something, and more!  *I am pretty sure that we did not come home with less than we brought to the dump, but hopefully it was so super cool that Mom didn't mind.

Recently, my daughter asked me "Do you know what my favorite memory is?" I said "No," and she proceeded to reminisce about an awesome day at Dad's cabin a few years ago.  We drove up for the day, went for a walk in the woods, and Dad did his usual foraging for chives and other woodsy snacks that I would have walked right past.  I cooked up some chicken in the fire pit in his dooryard (this was before he had the chickens in the dooryard, so it wasn't a creepy thing to do), and we created art with our chicken - it was just a super chill, fun day - beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, all of that.

Three generations of cool

Dad showing off his creation, and his information source

It's memories like hers, and mine of the dump, that make me thankful I didn't grow up wealthy.  While I'm sure that folks with plenty of money have plenty of great experiences, I don't know if they are as capable of finding beauty in the little things.  Maybe that's way too judgey, I don't know.

The reason for all of my Dude-based-memories is that it's the big guy's birthday today!! He's a whopping sixty-one and seems to be improving with age.  Some day, I look forward to hearing my grandchildren talk about their fun times out in the woods with the Dude, too.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Comes Early (every year)

If I were to make a list of my favorite things, I can assure you that sleeping would be right up there with awesome things like cotton candy, butterflies, and the smell of my sister's Peaches and Cream Barbie back in 1987 - I LOVE sleeping.

Sadly, I suffer from an inability to shut my brain off when it comes time to get to sleep, so often am still wide awake and thinking really cool thoughts in the wee hours of the morning.

This causes me some problems most of the time when I need to wake up and go to work in the morning.  I use several alarms (the best thing I discovered recently is an android app that makes you do math problems in order to snooze your alarm), but still it takes a heaping helping of "you're going to be late and get fired" to get me out of my nice, warm bed in the morning. I have drawn a really terrible illustration of me, before I am forced to leave my down filled sanctuary.

HOWEVER - a magical thing happens every year - all of a sudden, I'm not awake as late as I thought I was, and I get to sleep in EVERY morning! I do happy dances throughout the day (preferably when no one is looking, but honestly, I'm not that self-conscious), and notice that the big black circles under my eyes seem to have shrunken.

Every day is a little more magical than the last. Example: on Monday night, I was ASLEEP before 11:30 pm!!!

I don't much appreciate the fact that it's dark out when I leave my office in the afternoon, but I LOVE the sleeping late.

Unfortunately, this magical period doesn't last too long (I like to put off changing the clock in my car for as long as possible to feel just a bit naughty pulling up to work at almost 9:00 am).  And I'm back to staying up too late, and forcing myself to brush my teeth in the bathroom at work because I just don't have time at home.

I know that in the spring I will look back on this blissful period and laugh, knowing there's no way that it's worth it, as I pry my red, salty eyes open, and arrive at work only to discover that I am, in fact, half an hour late, and my hair isn't brushed, and I hate everyone.

But for now, I continue with my happy dances in the shadows!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Saving a "Life"

I believe in Karma - not in the I've studied Eastern Philosophies for years kind of way - but in the tit-for-tat - do good and good will be done to you sort of way.  To me, it just makes sense - the more positive I am, the more positive the people and things around me are.  I'm not going to try to indoctrinate people in some sort of "The Secret" type of belief system (yes, I read the book, and while I agree with a lot of it - parts of it make me want to look up the woman who wrote on it and shake a finger in her face).

As it is November, the month of being thankful (note to readers: you should practice being thankful all year round - it's pretty dang sweet), I am thankful for a really great experience I had this weekend.

I was pulling into the Walgreen's parking lot (in search of discount halloween candy, if you really need to know), and as I pulled into my chosen space, I noticed this blue wallet-y purse thing on the ground next to the car - spilling all sorts of credit cards and such. I have tried to draw it here, sadly, my scanner only does black and white (same with my pen).
I put extra effort into showing that it was quilted!

I reached down, and started putting all of the cards back inside, figuring I would bring it into the store, and see if anyone had reported losing their wallet.  While making it all fit, I saw that there was quite a big wad o' cash in there (and yes, I felt a moment of jealousy for this mystery wallet owner!).

Just then - there was a screech of tires, and a woman's voice said "Oh my GOD!" - she was stopped just behind my car, a middle-age woman, I'd guess in her sixties, and she looked at me, obviously holding tears back and said "You found it! My life is in there!"

Surprising Fact: I never went to art school

She proceeded to tell me that she must have dropped it when she got into her car, and had just come from the bank, where she had realized that she didn't have it.  She repeated that her "whole life is in there," and I nodded understandingly, because, while I do believe there's a lot more to life than credit cards, cash, and your ID, not having those things makes life feel quite impossible at times.  

She offered me a reward, and I declined, because, really, just having made her that happy was seriously quite enough of a reward for me!  

I went in and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Cadbury is doing the mini-egg style red and green candies this year (the Universe's way of rewarding me?).  

I've thought about it a lot in the past couple of days. I like to imagine that I am a pretty significant player in this woman's life for the time being - I'm the good Samaritan.  I'm sure she had terrible ideas of someone stealing her money, and her identity, and then it all worked out beautifully.  

That's my nice story - I'm thankful for that woman, she made me feel all kinds of rainbows & unicorns. I have drawn a rainbow and a unicorn, both are pretty lackluster, but hopefully they convey a bit of my joy at having saved her "life."