You're in luck . . . I've started a new book that I really like. THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS. It's VERY long and I hope to finish it by my next book club meeting, but I stand very little chance. So . . . I'm going to make this short and sweet so I can get some reading done. *editing to add: OK, THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN, BUT IT'S MY BIRTHDAY AND I'LL WRITE A NON-SHORT POST IF I WANT TO in hopes that you'll still read it.
A few tidbits about our break thus far:
Christmas light update: I took this photo on Christmas Eve just before Coach and I retired.
OK, I don't really talk like that, but a sweet elderly woman emailed me after she got my parents' Christmas card. She wondered if I'd share my folks' number so she could chat with my mom at some point. She wasn't sure how late she could call because she wasn't sure what time they retired. I love that. Oh, she also asked for my mom's email address. I laughed.
When I responded, I shared that my mom doesn't drink coffee, drink beer, get speeding tickets (proof that I'm either adopted or I take on more than my mom ever did and thus am always in a hurry), use GPS even though it is built into her car, go to the doctor, own a cell phone (and by default won't allow my dad to own one either), eat spicy food, know how to identify an avocado, touch a computer, or have an email address. But I assured her that if she sent my dad an email for my mom, he'd share it with her. Best not to hold your breath waiting for a response though.
We won't talk about how much junk I had to move out of the way to make the above photo a true Kodak moment.
You are looking at some of the lights that have only recently been plugged in. Remember when Lad hung our lights as if he was trying to alert the authorities that a crazy person resided in our home? Or maybe he wanted to tick off the neighbors? Let's face it - it doesn't take much. Anyway, Coach had to do some reconfiguring so we weren't clothes-lined when we exited the deck with Finn. The blue lights didn't make the grade initially. Not sure they do now either, but from this angle . . . pretty.
When night falls, they they appear to be a pretty strange floating octagon hovering in the yard like a UFO about to land. By day they appear to be a makeshift prison as they wrap around the gazebo multiple times in zig-zag, electric line fashion. From my kitchen window though, it just looks lovely. I'll take that.
My favorite morning news program mentioned a Seinfeld episode that I'd never seen. Festivus. Then Nicole (hi Nicole) mentioned it too. Where have I been? Well, unbeknownst to me I copied Seinfeld writers and created my own special holiday. There are no grievances aired on my special day. Just a new approach to life.
I call it INITIATIVE DAY. Thanks to cancel culture, I cancelled Christmas Eve and replaced it with my own self-serving holiday. I insisted that the members of the family JUST TAKE SOME INITIATIVE AND CLEAN SOMETHING OR PUT SOMETHING AWAY.
This worked slightly, but I think they just don't see the mess. They are fine living in it. Looking back at photos from how the house was kept when they were young, I think messy surroundings make them feel comfy. Shame on me. You guys think I'm busy now? Coach worked even more hours back then (Ed and I just tallied it and we think he works about 55+ hours a week currently) and none of the youngsters could drive and few of them could bathe themselves or feed themselves. I might not sleep tonight just remembering. Survival was key.
Because I'm raising wise-asses, the next day I asked Reg to do something . .
Reg: HEY, INITIATIVE DAY WAS YESTERDAY.
Me: YEAH, THAT'S WHY I'M TELLING YOU TO DO THIS THING. BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WON'T TAKE THE INTIATIVE.
Challenge me, will you?
Boost me up Scotty:
I didn't want to get my booster before Christmas and risk not feeling well for a whole day, or even part of a day. If I go down, the ship goes down. Since I wasn't babysitting this week, I decided to get the shot this week. Impossible to find a same day or anytime soon appointment. I made several appointments but I worried that they'd interfere with the out of state funeral I plan to attend.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, I came across an appointment nearby. At noon. That day. I took it, but later cancelled. I didn't want to feel icky on Christmas. Eventually I found another cancellation, on the 27th. The bummer was that it was far from home.
I went to Reg's b-ball game with Curly. We were half way there with a few hours to kill. We returned some stuff to stores and landed at the Walgreens pharmacy just in time for my shot. I had to pee BADLY, but I didn't want to lose my spot. I stood there while the young girl 'Deb' checked me in. I had my immunization card, license, and insurance card READY.
I stood there. Deb typed. Forever. I have no idea why it took her almost 20 minutes to check me in. For all I know, she could've been sending a personal email. Strange.
When Deb was done, I finally asked if I had a minute to run to the restroom. When I returned, . . .
Deb turned to the pharmacist: OK, SHE'S READY FOR HER SHOT.
Pharmacist: SARAH, CAN YOU GIVE HER A SHOT?
Deb: OH, CAN I DO IT?
Me (to myself): WHAT ON EARTH? CAN WE NOT LET THE YOUNG-UN EXPERIMENT ON ME?
To my great relief, Sarah appeared and gave me the shot. Friends, IT HURT LIKE HELL. I let Sarah know this.
Sarah: OH, SORRY. YEAH, THESE AREN'T THE BEST NEEDLES.
Me (possibly translating her words incorrectly because I was writing in pain, but my internal dialogue said): WAIT, DID SHE JUST SAY THESE NEEDLES AREN'T THE BEST BECAUSE THEY USED THEM YESTERDAY AND HAD TO DIG THEM OUT OF THE DUMPSTER? SWEET MOTHER, WHAT KIND OF JOINT IS THIS?
Of course that isn't what she said, but yikes Walgreens - order up some of the 'good' needles cause the 'not best' needles suck.
And with that, I'm here as your boosted friend with a sore arm, but NO OTHER SYMPTOMS, wishing you all a Happy New Year full of peace, relaxation, good health, great memories and the ability to move about the world free of masks . . . soon (?) I thank you for reading my posts and I applaud you if you are the commenting type.
It's my birthday, so hit me with some comments. Maybe you have a favorite post you'd like to remind me of or you have a request for a post I have yet to write (if you say shorter, I will appreciate the sentiment but not necessarily oblige . . . I'm long winded in real life too, just ask Delilah).
I don't really feel like I properly celebrated my 50th last year, and I have no real plans to do anything extraordinary today . . . so fingers crossed that one day we can gather at my 'Bridesmaids-esque' destination, girls-weekend-away birthday. I know that'll probably never happen, but bitches can dream on their birthday, right Kari? I'm off to try to read in bed (I'm drafting this a few days in advance), but I stayed up too late and will likely fall asleep before I get through a page.
Have a glorious birthday!
You have a lot of great and funny posts, and among my favorites are Tank's ski trip, your adventures in Irish dance, and the recent Christmas present shopping.
My favorite posts are probably the painful ones for you. The Harry and Larry ones, and when you discussed the challenges with Lad. Life is messy and hard, and the strength with which you approached these situations quite admirable.
Go out and have some fun!
I think one of my favorite posts was the one about the amazing pants where you returned a pair and rebought them when out with Mini!
A post I can't wait to read is about Tank's college choice and drop off.
Happy Birthday Ernie!!! Let Birthday Month begin!
For your bday, since I can’t help put stuff away (great request btw!) I will give you a giant all caps THANK YOU! to you for your wonderful, entertaining blog. I am so here for your delightful stories. Short or long!
You asked about favs… The Irish dancing posts are always a fav for me. I’m amazed at how it is a whole entire world. I love all the details you share about the travel, the outfits (I can believe they cost an arm and a leg but also I can’t believe *kids’* costumes cost an arm and a leg! Kids grow so fast! :-)), the world of wig experts, stage make-up, etc. Maybe because it reminds me of being a horse kid and the crazy world of equestrian competitions? Those posts are always a good read (but honestly all your posts have good stories!). The photos of Finn this year have been an utter delight, too. That face! Those silky ears! I see him and I am instantly at my friend’s and there is Molly the Irish Setter and world’s kindest, sweetest dog. Ok this comment is getting v v long so I will wrap up. But you can see why I don’t mind long blog posts! Lol!
Have a wonderful birthday day and month Ernie!
I hope you have a fabulous birthday!
Happy birthday Ernie! As I read this blog, first thought - "what a beautiful tidy kitchen!" (junk pushed to the side haha). "Coach and I retired..." Huh? I've never heard her say anything like that before.
The lights look really pretty from the window (laughed at makeshift prison). So many of your posts are my fave: I loved and cried a little reading about your painful attempt at adoption journey). I love when you write about the craziness of your clan, the mess and the misadventures. I think this is because it brings back memories of when my 4 were young. I was on my own with them when the youngest 3 were 4, 5 1/2 & 7 so believe me my house was a mess!! Believe me, the teen years were challenging & I doubted any of us would survive. Some day you'll have a quiet tidy house - but you'll miss them and the chaos. I promise.
Happy birthday Ernie! I hope some tasty (but gluten free!) treats await you all month long!
My favorite post of yours is the one about Curly helping sell an old dancing dress for much more than you expected. I also appreciate that you share less happy posts, because life isn’t always happiness and sunshine.
I sent you an email about the Christmas poem yesterday, since it didn’t bounce back, I’m assuming you got it.
Happy birthday Ernie! I hope your people make you dinner and a gluten-free cake AND CLEAN UP TOO. Wouldn't that be amazing. I love your kitchen in that first photo, the blue lights are pretty too. Glad you got your booster, and too bad Initiative Day isn't a weekly thing! I hope you like Warmth of Other Suns, I loved that book.
me - Thanks for this. Ah, yes - the ski trip with the 'family' that was really just the 'I buy a case of beer a day for the boys' grandpa. I'm glad so many like the Irish dancing posts and while our dancing days are winding down - I can always share the stories that have yet to be shared. Some of our early dancing days happened before I was even blogging.
Somewhere I have a list of topics relating to H and D that I never got around to posting because I ended up bringing everyone up to date on how it ended before I got around to sharing. I struggle when a story isn't told in its entirety (I have been known to text people after a party in case I get sidetracked "oh, what I started to tell you . . ." - I'm weird that way), so I might still decide to share some of the details. Those were hard posts to write, but they also were therapeutic. I'm glad you appreciate the funny with the tough reality ones.
Jeannie - Oh my gosh - I love that little adventure when Mini was acting like one of those robotic furry animals at Disney as she hid behind racks of clothing. I do not think many people read that one because I posted it at a weird time. The things I will do to save a buck, and to own cute pants.
Do you mean Mini's college decision? Oh, I also might have forgotten to post about Tank going to college when I stopped everything mid-stream when I jumped ahead and wrapped up the H and D drama. I might have to go back and revisit that.
This is a great question for you, having just finished ALL the posts. You deserve some kind of reward.
Maddie - Thanks so much. Another vote for Irish dancing scoop? Well, I'll be sure to let you know when my Irish dancing tell-all gets published. Fingers CROSSED. It IS a whole other world. So strange. I think that's part of the reason Curly is done . . . the people in her regular life don't see it or get it. Basketball games are much more public and the praise and recognition are regular. Not to worry, despite her retirement I have tons of stories that I have yet to share. Oh, and my good friend rides horses and so does her daughter. We laugh at how the costumes and the drama have so many parallels, so I get that you find the stories relatable.
Our neighbors growing up had an Irish Setter named Kelly. I loved her. There is a home movie of my 4 year old self asking her to shake my hand. She dragged her sharp claws all the way down my arm - not intentionally trying to hurt me, but I was simply too small to catch her paw in my hand. The next clip is me with a tear streaked face. I'm wearing a wind breaker and once again asking Kelly to shake hands, the coat helped. ;)
Anonymous - Thanks, I'm sure it'll be fun. Reg has a game and Coach is taking me to dinner.
Pat - It is a beautiful kitchen - tidy, not as frequently as I'd like. With Mini going off to college in the fall and only 2 kids living at home by then, I'm starting to dread the days when they aren't here to make their messes and make fun of me. How boring life might be.
I'm so glad that you relate to my nutty family posts. I do wish that I'd started blogging years earlier. So many, many stories that are fading in my memory. I do have some of them jotted down and some of them I have recorded on video. Of course there are some that I will just never forget.
I laughed and cried a little at the H and D posts as well. I do have some bits and pieces of that story that I still might share.
Jenny - Thank you. I just found some Rocky Road Fudge Bars in the freezer that I didn't use when I hosted my college alumnae Christmas party. SCORE. The kids don't know they are there - or they would not be there anymore. Duh.
I'm glad that you don't mind the occasional 'real life' story here, you're right - everything isn't always laughable, dare to dream.
Oh my gosh - that post was written a while back. Yes, that was a classic moment. Curly selling the dress no one wanted for asking price while I walked away to watch Mini dance on stage. So funny.
I DID get your email. I hope to get that in the mail today. I hope you enjoy the poem and the real life photos of the real life people with real names revealed. Get excited. ;)
Nicole - Thanks for the birthday wishes and for being such a consistent commenter.
Oh my gosh - this is such a good book. A part I read yesterday was so awful. Some of this is just so hard to believe. It wasn't that long ago, how could people behave this way? I have no idea how I will get it read in time to discuss it at the book club, but going to give it my best shot.
Initiative day SHOULD be a weekly occurrence. Amen.
The girls made dinner last night. I made them do it. It was VERY entertaining and eye opening for them. Tonight Coach and I are eating out at my favorite restaurant. I did tell him moving forward that I'd like to have a birthday dinner that includes the kids, so we might do dinner out with them another night this weekend. Look at me - continuing the celebration as instructed.
Happy birthday! Have to say I never think your posts are too long.
Happy Birthday! Take a mental vacation and treat yourself!
I agree with other posters, that your posts are not too long. I look forward to reading your book someday!
joy maire - Thanks for the birthday wishes and the vote of confidence. Perhaps my fear of being long winded comes from the grief I got from my siblings growing up when I talk too much. ;)
Kara - Thanks very much. I appreciate the positive feedback. I look forward to inscribing my book to you someday . . . it's good to have goals. Fingers crossed.
Wishing you a Very Happy Birthday! I've never commented before - but I enjoy your blog so much that I wanted to let you know. We have a lot in common. I live nearby, and I am also the mom of a larger than average family of teens and young adults(otherwise known as adult-like humans). Enjoy your day - please keep writing (long posts work for me)!
Happy birthday Ernie! I hope you’re having a great day and are being spoiled.
Honestly, I love all your posts, but you do make me chuckle with the stories of your nutty family/Irish dancing peers/neighbours/fellow school mums or random people in stores.
Oh, I am looking forward to the invitation for your big birthday destination bash!
Happy birthday to youuuuuu, happy birthday to youuuuuu! The curated photo does look amazing. So tidy!
I love long blog posts. So often needed to get the whole story (I love details). Like Maryann stories, you can't cut those short!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Birthday month begins now!!
I hope you were able to take some time for yourself today. But remember, you have the entire month to do that for yourself. That's what birthday month is for. Set aside even ten minutes each day for yourself that aren't spent writing this blog or reading. Eat a favorite candy, send a dirty magazine subscription to Mary Ann's address or simply sit in your car for peace and quiet. :)
Sending you lots of birthday love. XOXO
Happy, happy birthday, Ernie! I hope your entire family spoiled you rotten!
Happy Birthday! I hope you are having a wonderful day! Carpe Diem!
Oh! And I also want to say your kitchen looks awesome! So tidy! You would never know 8 people use that kitchen!
The lights in the window are nice, but blue lights always remind me of K-Marts blue light special! My across the street neighbors have a ton of blue lights decorating their home, and they have them moving, in high speed. Yikes!
I have been putting off my booster, for just the right time too, trying to set up the perfect down time. Both of my Moderna injections did not hurt one bit. Now, after you got nailed with a crappy needle (didn't even know that was a thing!) and it hurt...I am ascared, as my little niece would say! :)
I was thinking to myself: That kitchen looks too clean. Did the kids move out?
KIDDING. The blue lights look pretty from that view for sure.
I love Initiative Day: what a holiday. Just don't let Hallmark hear about it because they will make cards for it.
Yay for the booster and not feeling crappy. The dull needles though? goodness. Do the pointy ones cost more?
I hope you had a nice birthday! I was thinking of you yesterday, so there's that.
I have some favorite posts, but of course, I can't think of them right now. YOU are never longwinded in your posts, and they are always entertaining. XOXO
Very Happy Birthday to you, Ernie! (A day late…) I hope you enjoyed your day and we’re properly celebrated with lots of INITIATIVE from your crew ;)
I can’t name a specific favorite post this past year but I will say, I truly enjoy reading every post. Although you’ve had some very heavy posts, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend Joe, and the difficult rollercoaster you were on with Harry and Larry. I appreciate and enjoy your storytelling abilities and you choosing to share with us. It’s so funny to me that you always make comments about posts being too long or trying to make things shorter, I haven’t seen any complaints and I sure don’t have any! Type away, Ernie!! Most of your posts make me laugh out loud. Like this one, the used needle thing, I was nearly in tears!! As a mom of young kiddos, I appreciate your views and experience in parenting (and babysitting) talking about the way you do things, even if it’s not intended as advice, is helpful to me!
Thank you for the many giggles and smiles, here’s to another year!
I hope your birthday was FABULOUS! I'm looking forward to reading more about all of your family's shenanigans in 2022!
Anonymous - Wait, you're not far . . . is this Mary Ann in disguise as someone friendly? Hee hee. Like, can you see me right now? Show yourself! Kidding.
So glad that you decided to comment at long last on my birthday - always nice to find out who else is checking out what we're up to. We DO have a lot in common, since you sound outnumbered too. I'm relieved to learn that longer than average posts aren't annoying anyone, or at least the annoyed aren't willing to say so. Hope to hear from you again.
Charlie - Thanks very much. I did feel somewhat spoiled. There was no laying around or anything, but the kids did a few things per my request and Reg had a great basketball game that we won in the final seconds. Plus dinner out.
The birthday bash would be fun, right? We'd have to do hidden cameras and that sort of thing, because it would be such a hoot to all meet.
I think your list of 'liked' blog posts basically covered them all. Good to know.
ccr - Thank you. You have a lovely singing voice. ;)
I like details too, and sometimes I re-read a post and it doesn't feel long. I do believe sometimes you need extra length to relay the whole story. After the holidays, I've got some doozies to write about.
Kari - Thanks very much. I love the 'send Mary Ann a dirty magazine'. Why have I not thought of that? I died laughing when I read that suggestion. Birthday month is working out for me. Since Coach and I went to dinner on my actual b-day, I requested that we go out tonight with the entire gang for dinner. So, that's happening. Yeah, me.
Gigi - Thanks - they did pretty well. We did run to the mall to return stuff, but they all came along to help/pick out other stuff. There's really nothing I like better than getting things done.
Cheryl - Thank you. I almost titled this post Blue Light Special, but I figured not everyone would know what K-Mart was. Oh, those flashy neighbor lights. Too much.
I hope you get a normal needle. I felt fine after my shot, other than the initial OUCH when she used a weird needle. Like, what was that all about? Ed got it a few days later and he had the chills and felt kind of lousy. Good luck.
Oh, how I love my kitchen. Oh, how I love it even more when it is cleaned up.
Suz - No, the kids have not moved out. OMG if you could see the place right now. I keep reminding them to get their rooms up to snuff. I start babysitting again tomorrow and I need a path to get to the pack and plays in the kids' rooms. Oh, and the pack and plays are not there for you to hang your clothes on. Sweet mother.
The blue lights are good from that angle. It's funny that Coach didn't turn them on until a few days before Christmas. Just when the neighbors thought we couldn't improve on our decor, he plugged those puppies in and they made all the difference.
That needle thing baffles me. Perhaps there's a needle shortage. Where would we be then?
I ban Hallmark from my marketing Initiative Day. (that made me laugh)
Thanks for thinking of me on my b-day. I'm sure you had your company sing happy birthday to me.
I thought about what I would say if I had to decide what post was my favorite. I think it would have to be the MIRROR MIRROR STAY ON THE WALL one . . . the tampon lesson run amuck. In real life I thought I was going to die laughing.
AM - Well, thanks so much. I really do appreciate all the insight and support I get from my friends here at my blog. You guys are really great to stick with me even during the not-so-funny times. That is what it's like to have friends, right - friends are there for the hilarity and then also there for the rough patches. I appreciate all of you more than you probably know.
I, myself, enjoy and marvel at short, punchy posts that make me laugh, so I feel like I might be the odd ball who make people moan, as in SERIOUSLY, HOW MUCH TIME DOES SHE THINK WE HAVE? So, I'm glad to know that isn't the case (at least that isn't the feedback I'm getting). I do also enjoy a long post that tells a whole story though. I think that's my specialty.
Glad you enjoy my gibber gabber and that you take some of my parenting stuff as advice - my kids might tell you to steer clear as that as a best practices. :)
Beth - It was a very nice day. Thanks. We are here to entertain. :)
Everyone I know who's gotten the booster says it hurt a lot going in and left a sore arm, so I don't think it's just those needles. I got mine the 21st and did feel icky for Christmas, but I've been feeling an overwhelming sense of Omicron-related dread and I really just wanted the needle in my arm (I would say I don't mean that how it sounds but I feel like it kind of works on a couple of levels).
The kitchen photo is very pretty. I also have to clear an immense amount of junk to get a decent house picture.
Ali - Love it when you visit my blog and leave a trail of comments for me. ;)
Thanks for the birthday wishes. I feel lucky that I didn't have any symptoms other than the sore arm and the tennis ball feeling in my armpit afterwards. I laughed at your 'kind of works on a couple of levels' - yes it does.
Glad to know that my cleaning the area of our 'lived in look' is not something only I need to do. It is funny that once I clear the clutter off the counters, I can't find anything. But when there are stacks of crap everywhere, I know exactly where everything is.
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