I know. Slack -ass here. Just letting you know I haven’t gone away. I’ve got a new post in the works and will publish Monday. End of summer, friends visiting, no-time- for-writing-things happened. So I’m sorry, but as Terminator says, I’ll be back. For now, I’ll leave you with something I learned this summer….
The other day I went through the memory boxes my Grandma had put together and kept in her attic for me. Even though they’ve been in my storage for years, I’d never been through them before.
I giggled as I pulled out rude notes I wrote.
I marveled at old headshots:
I found cards and notes from my high school graduation, like this completely normal one from my dad, in which he expresses his sincerest wishes to buy me the cheapest juicer that can be bought in honor of my big day.
There were cute birthday cards from my kindergarten friends. Original stories and a completely transcribed script of Beauty and The Beast that I had written out by hand.
These were all funny and cute things to comb through. These are things you might expect to see in your own memory box. But there are some things that come out of memory boxes that you do not expect.
Slightly disturbing things, even.
Things like THIS:
… (these “…” are my my written interpretation of stunned silence)
WHAT IN THE ACTUAL, right?
Like, why? Why would this BE?
You guys, just go with me here a moment. This means there was a real live day, back in 1993, when my hair was cut (normal), and then my Grandma, bless her heart, thought to herself, “I have a great idea! I think I’ll sweep up the hair on the floor and then wrap it lovingly in paper towels, and then stuff it into a manilla envelope for Krysta’s memory box. She might like to have this old hair someday.” (Not normal).
My chopped off and discarded, now twenty four year old hair.
What do I even do with this? I can’t begin to think what one might do with their hair from when they were twelve years old EXCEPT write about it.
It is for this reason that my Grandmother is my very favorite person in the entire universe for giving me this gift.
I am so confused and in wonder and disturbed. This is gold.
Ten years from now I won’t remember the pictures and paintings or schoolwork, but I will most definitely, absolutely, remember this.
I’ll say to Jeremy when we are sixty years old, “Remember that one time I was unpacking my memory box when…?”
I decided that the only considerate thing to do with the hair package, besides tell you, was to pass the surprise on to someone else.
So I packed the hair back up and stuck it in the box, with no explanations, where it will languish in my garage among my keepsakes for decades and decades until one day, when I’m gone, my kids will go through my crap and discover it.
I’d give anything to be there.
Can you even imagine their faces? The only thing more disturbing than unearthing a package of your own hair, is unearthing a package of someone else’s hair.
I’m telling you what.
What can I say? I’m a giver.
My daughter, Olivia, has been watching The Wizard of Oz a lot lately. My husband always says that he thinks this movie is kind of weird and that the lion is “disgusting,” but he didn’t really grow up watching it either so it lacks the nostalgic quality for him that it brings to most….
Everybody has been asking to see pictures of my house.
And by “everybody” I mean two people on Facebook, someone that works at my daughters school and like, another person I saw somewhere once.
Maybe a neighbor?
Anyway, the number of requests is not important. I know walking through a new home is exciting, but I’ve been sensitive about showing it off because I didn’t want you to be jealous of the Pinterest-worthy way we’ve been keeping it. But then I thought, oh what the hell, lets give the people what they want. Here. Welcome. Come on in.
At first glance, maybe you’d be smitten with our bookcase located off the entry. I was too, until I realized we only have room for like, 20 more books before we are cut off forever.
Next you’d turn the corner into our kitchen and notice the beautiful blue kitchen cabinets. You’d cock your head to the left and wonder what the lovely tag pull things are. Well, they are to open the drawers. This is because our hardware isn’t all here yet. We got half of it this last week but the rest we are still waiting for. Nothing but the best for us.
Welcome to my bedroom! Sure, I could show you the view and the bed but your eye would end up falling exactly right here. See, I started clearing out my closet when we moved in almost five weeks ago now, and got really serious about it. For the past five years I’ve been holding onto hoards of clothes I don’t even like and would say to myself “when I get into our “final” house, I will get rid of it all.” This resulted in copious piles all over my room that were well intentioned, but in the end, just served to confuse and burn me out. It was so hard. I would look around an be all “I don’t know what these piles even MEAN!” But I did my best and worked through them slowly until I had one pile left. The giveaway pile. After everyone came and took the clothes that fit them, it left me with one small pile that I had no idea what to do with so I shoved it in the corner with random things and ignored it and it’s still sitting here one month later.
Here is our fancy master shower. You’ll notice we have no shower glass yet and that those are bottles of caulk NOT shampoo on the ledge. Plus a bucket and a gallon bottle of acetone for good measure. I guess tile or glass door people use acetone? Truth be told, I’ve never noticed what was in there until I took this picture to show you but now feel some responsibility to explain why it may be in there. But I have no answers. I am sorry.
We bathe in the bath tub currently, which Jeremy looks especially emasculated by when he’s in there.
Doesn’t everybody have a ladder and tool bags in the dining room? Everyday, eclectic and understated luxury is kind of my thing.
We haven’t even touched the office.
Pray for us.
Here is something that is on point though. My kids’ room.
We told Jeremiah and Ellie that they needed to make their beds when they got up in the morning, and ever since then, they’ve made them.
One time, we asked.
Every day I pass by and see their made beds without nagging or reminding I’m like:
I’m not used to such compliance from children.
And that completes the tour for today! Again, please try to suppress any feelings of envy that may come up just because we live like kings. You too can live like kings. I think they just give away those cabinet pull-y stickers for FREE, even. Lots of piles. Ladders. Tell people it’s avant-garde. You get the idea. Maybe even pack one downstair room of your house with boxes and packing trash and just yeah, fill that baby up real good. Not that I know anything about THAT.
I know something about that.
One day we will be living in a fully functional, beautiful house and I can’t wait for that day. Construction will end but there will always be piles of clothes and paper to remind us of our humble roots. Of this much, we can be certain.
Last weekend the weather here was gloomy and rainy so Charis and Andrew, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, came over for a Godfather movie marathon.
I had made a green chili enchilada sauce and boiled and shredded a chicken the day before since I had planned on making enchiladas, however in light of the new plan of watching The Godfather, Mexican food would have to wait. So instead I made my grandmothers lasagna, whipped up a caesar salad dressing and bought a few bottles of Chianti. Charis and Andrew were to bring gelato for dessert since my search for spumoni ice cream (one of the treats I remember getting at the Italian restaurant off the 101 freeway in California when I visited “Pop”– aka– my late, great Italian grandfather) left me empty handed.
Andrew and I texted each other videos as banter before they arrived because when we commit to something we go ALL IN, even if it means we are dorks. We don’t care. See:
Jeremy and I had done a Godfather/Goodfella’s marathon once before, over thirteen years ago, when Jeremy had a knee scope and was laid up on the couch. Our friends came over and we made a day of it. I think we decided on The Godfather back then because we’d never seen all three movies. We chose it this time because Andrew and Charis had never seen them, and also we couldn’t remember ANYTHING from our original viewing. And I mean that. Hand to God, as we started watching as Marlon Brando (Don Coreleone) laid in a hospital room an hour into the movie, someone said “So Al Paccino is going to be Godfather, then?” and I said “yes” and then Jeremy yelled “THAT’S Al Paccino?!” and I looked at him like he must be kidding. Surely.
But he wasn’t.
“Yes, that’s Al Paccino, you crazy. You didn’t know that this whole time? You don’t know that Al Paccino is the Godfather?!”
“He’s so young, it doesn’t look like him! WELL…If Al Paccino becomes Godfather, I’ll watch all of these movies FOR SURE. I love Al Paccino.”
I’m not sure what he meant by this because we were already, in fact, watching all the movies, so…
(Although we only got through two of the movies and had to save part 3 for another day because those movies are LOOOONG. Dang, yo.)
Then, about five minutes later when Al Paccino marries an Italian woman instead of the girlfriend he had at the beginning of the movie I shouted “wait—he’s marrying HER? What happened to Diane Keaton?” and then everybody turned to me shocked and said “THAT was Diane Keaton?!”
You guys, we were such Godfather amateurs.
The morning of the event I woke up and wrote my grocery list. I needed quite a few ingredients to make the food, and I would have to go to two different grocery stores plus the liquor store for wine, and I just did not feel like doing any of it. It was Saturday. I didn’t want to leave the family. I didn’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen making food. What I really wanted to do was absolutely nothing. But I’m used to this feeling. I recognize it. It’s like every time I have to go to a fundraiser or a “girls night” is planned and 4:45pm rolls around signaling that I must get ready and everything in me is says, RESIST! Don’t go. It’ll be so much easier and relaxing to just stay home.
I always want easy.
The problem is nothing worthwhile is born out of ease.
If you want juicy memories like this with friends and family, heavily laden with smells of homemade sausage and cheese baking in the oven while sipping on an appropriate beverage and watching just the right thing on just the right day, it doesn’t just happen. Not normally.
4th of July picnics with fried chicken and potato salad and too much sun and watermelon don’t just spontaneously happen. Someone plans it and then does all the things it requires. The payoff is substantial as far as leading meaningful lives in community goes.
In the moment, I always think I want ease, but really, underneath that, I want to LIVE life, which is a verb, which means it requires action on my part, regardless of whether I feel like doing anything or not.
Experience has shown me it’s always worth it. Besides, there are plenty of normal days where I do choose ease. And it’s awesome and relaxing, albeit not memorable.
And so I plowed through. I went to all the busy stores and then came home and stirred sauce and ricotta with egg. I browned sausage and onions and cut mozzarella and boiled noodles and built layer on layers of lasagna. And through the process of doing all of that something in me felt lively and well, alive. I felt lucky enough to prepare for something fun and worthwhile instead of spending it like any other Saturday, which would have required much less of me but given me much less as well.
During our movie I looked up at the framed words on my shelf by the TV.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
— Howard Thurman
Being an active and willing participant in cultivating and creating valueable memories like these is what makes me come alive. And so this is what I need to be doing more of with my time. Anytime I do, I look around and think “this right here? This is the good stuff.” I feel all is right in the world.
Gathering and celebrating simple everyday joy with the people I love and do life with is…
it’s an offer I can’t refuse.
Hey guys. I’m still in unpacking craziness over here, moving into our new house, so I decided to post this little piece I wrote one day a little over two years ago. It’s one of those ditties I never published and just wrote for the fun of it. You know, like the other hundred of these I have in the notes on my phone…
So, let’s rewind back to the spring of 2016, shall we?…
I’m trying hard to resist jumping on Jen Hatmaker’s coat tails, to tell you about how I’m the worst end of school year mom ever, but I can’t do it any longer because it’s true. I am the worst. In fact, I’m worse than Jen because I don’t just check out at the end of the year. It’s pretty much the case all year long….
When I came downstairs on Mother’s Day morning I found my son working at the table on a present for me. He gave me instructions not to look at his paper until he was done.
A little while later at brunch he said, “Hey, Mom, I left a paper in your purse – can you get it for me?”
Ellie was sitting next to me, and my purse was on the other side of her, so I strained over and rifled through quickly, but after a few seconds said, “I don’t see it. Sorry, bud.”
Jeremiah said, “But, Mom. I left it in there. Can you look again?”
Sort of exasperated I again reached over Ellie and gave it another quick look. “Nope. Nothing. Did you put it somewhere weird?? Jeremiah, it’s kind of hard for me to look around with your sister here. Can you just get up and get it?”
Jeremy widened his eyes. Through clenched teeth he sang, “It’s your preeesennnt…”
So I looked again. I found it folded up in a pocket. When I took it out, I was stunned by my boy.
Jeremiah draws very well. Anime and cartoons are more his thing, but because he always asks me, “Mom, what should I draw?” And I always answer, “I don’t know, because I like flowers, but I’m sure you want to draw dinosaurs or something, right?” he drew me a flower. But that’s not the part that blew me away. As I read, I could tell Jeremiah’s words were deep. Like, for an eleven year old, he knew what he was talking about and had a gift for articulating himself in ways outside of convention. The words he choose to highlight and how he called attention to each individual thing and then encompassed them “all” at the end with the exact number of petals he had drawn.
It caught me off guard.
“Wow,” I said. “Buddy, this is an amazing poem.”
He gave me a confused look, “It’s a poem?”
“Well, it strikes me as a poem. Did you not mean to write it like one?”
“Not really,” he said. “I just wrote down my message.”
And my heart, wildly proud of my boy’s talent, swelled as I thought about how he hadn’t EVEN TRIED to write a poem, but just naturally communicated that way. My gracious.
“This is an amazing gift, love. Thank you.” I said to him.
He smiled satisfactorily and then said something funny. My son. He’s not particularly prideful. He’s also not a show off or full of himself. He genuinely just speaks the very truth of what he sees, which usually puts him smack dab in the middle with everyone else in the world. But sometimes, the very truth of what he sees elevates him above the others just a little bit.
He said very, very rationally and matter of factly, “Well, I gave Dad, like, the most (eyebrow raise) AMAZING Father’s Day present ever last year, and now I’ve given you a pretty AMAZING Mother’s Day present this year, so…yeah…”
And then he went back to coloring on the paper the restaurant had given him, done with the assessment of his work.
It’s true, he had given Jeremy the most heart felt Father’s Day gift last year and had asked his Papa Gott (Scott) to help him make it. He made a frame out of wood, asked me to print a picture of him and his dad, and then he wrote, the most thoughtful message to his dad. It was extraordinary. The kind of thing that makes you all choked up and look at your kids with wonder like, “Where did THAT come from?”
After Ellie presented me with her card and drawing, she still wanted to give me gifts so she found some scrap cardboard and drew me this little guy.
Then, she drew another one with three people on it. “This one’s a zombie,” she said, “and this is me and you, and I was scared, but you were not.”
Oooook…Happy Mother’s Day?
I laughed pretty hard.
That night before bed, I texted a picture of Jeremiah’s gift to my sister-in-law, her husband and Jeremy’s parents. After the “aww’s” and “wow’s” my sister-in-law wrote back and shared her own bounty.
“This is from the six year old,” she wrote:
“I don’t want you to die”
KIDS ARE THE BEST!
When I last left you, in part 1, my kids were pooping in a house we thought to be our new rental, but upon discovering personal items, worried someone was living there and didn’t know we were coming. …
We didn’t plan to stay in Malibu for Spring Break. It happened quite by accident after a series of unfortunate events. Pull up a chair….