Monday, May 18, 2009

Word of the Week: Crazy!

Sorry it's been so long since I've been by to say hello! Holy MOLY, I always forget how INSANE this time of year is around here. At the top of our list of commitments last week was Emily's play. She was Frenchy in Grease and made for an adorable Pink Lady in her final performance in middle school. I still think about the moment two years ago when she stepped on stage as Ms. Darbus in High School Musical and I realized, very clearly, that this is her THING. She is truly talented and stands out from the crowd. We are proud. Can you tell? While I am in Mommy Gush Mode, Jake had a FABO baseball game on Saturday. He had a hit that made it into the outfield (a big deal for a 10-year-old) and he made a diving catch that saved two runs from scoring. The best part was the way he kept looking into his glove to make sure the ball hadn't fallen out. He was given the game ball by the coaches and floated on air for the rest of the weekend. We are proud of him, too!

Somehow I've also gotten roped into once again helping to plan my high school reunion. I was, by no means, in with the in crowd in high school (which was JUST FINE with me), so why am I doing this? Well, I helped plan the last one and was pleasantly surprised to make some new friends among the group of old acquaintances. In fact, it was more fun to PLAN the reunion than it was to ATTEND the reunion. (DOH--did I say that out loud or just think it? :-) Once again, I'm enjoying the "reunion meetings," which have become a joke with our husbands because most of the time we don't talk about the reunion. We had three meetings before we actually did anything--LOL!

May and June are the busiest months of the year at work, and we're really into the scrum of things now. My company, AGA, puts on an annual meeting for 2000 government finance professionals, and my job is to oversee all the printed stuff, including the 100+ page program, among several other publications, hundreds of signs, etc. So the requests are coming fast and furious! I also got the blogging schedule for Love at First Flight last week, which freaked me out since it kicks into gear the second I get back from AGA's meeting in New Orleans. Ack! Somehow it will all get done. Somehow. Anyone else in favor of cloning?? Show of hands?

All of this craziness is seriously cutting into my TV watching time. It's season finale time! I was really disappointed by the Brothers & Sisters finale, where nothing at all happened, but I love that show and I'll be back for more in September. Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy ended with real cliffhangers that will have me tuning in this fall. If Grey's is killing off Izzy and George, I'll miss her but not him. He's blah, does nothing for me, and I can't seem to brain scrub the oh-so-wrong image of him and Meredith attempting to fool around a few seasons ago. Ugh... Nasty! I'm going to be pissed if Derek and Meredith's wedding is ONLY the post-it note. That will NOT DO IT for me after all these years of waiting for them to get it right. Do you HEAR ME SHONDRA???? I wish I was a writer on that show! Call me if you think I can help.

I can't wait to see what happens on American Idol this week. How about you? If Adam Lambert doesn't win, it'll be a total robbery. Did you see him all but anointed on the cover of Entertainment Weekly two weeks ago? They said he's the most original Idol contestant in the show's history. I like Kris Allen a lot too, but Adam should win. Even Simon thinks so! And tonight.... drumroll please.... let the games begin again with a new season of The Bachelorette. I'm strangely, oddly, and gleefully obsessed with this show. I'm not sure what I like best--the potential for romance or the idiotic behavior of the contenders. The idiocy is definitely better when it's a houseful of catty women fighting over one guy. The guys aren't quite as unhinged but we can still expect some OH-MY-GOD-HE-DID-NOT moments! I'll be sure to mention them here!

Anyone else feel that Jon and Kate and their plus 8 used up their 15 minutes of fame about a month ago? Enough already. Who cares?

What are you watching? What did you think of the finales?

Finally, a lot of you have asked how we're doing since Consuela died. I can't believe she's already been gone two weeks. I miss her so much, and it's a lonelier around here without her, but I'm glad she's not suffering anymore. Watching her decline was almost as painful as losing her. Thanks for all the kind words and messages. It helps.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's All in a Name...

Did you all see the news yesterday that Emily was knocked out of the top position as the most popular girl's name in America? Did you happen to notice that Jacob continued to reign as the top boy's name? Yes, those are my kids' names. LOL! There are six Emily's in her 8th grade class and at least four Jacobs in his 4th grade class. Back when I named my kids, I didn't know anyone who had kids with either name. Despite the "common-ness" I don't regret either name. Emily was ALWAYS my name for a girl and Jake was the only boy's name Dan and I could agree on--and Jake is eternally grateful because his father was interested in the name Cleetus for a boy--and NO, I am NOT kidding. He thought Cleet Force would be a cool name. Jake thanks God every day for his wiser, saner mother. I think we might someday have a dog named Cleetus as I had to make several concessions in rejecting my husband's very serious attempt to name my child that. I believe my exact words were, "The day you can push a 9-pound baby out your hoo-ha, you can name it Cleetus." (Luckily for me and my hoo-ha, the nine pound baby with the very large head came out via C-section, just like his sister.)

I love names and naming characters, and I love that old-fashioned names are back in vogue. Our nieces are Elizabeth, Anne, Patricia, Amy, Sara, Claire, Mary Grace and Isabel. Now those are some old names--and some of those nieces are in their 30s, so again, they were given those names before they were "back"! I have used a lot of older names in my books, as well. In fact, one of my favorite parts of writing is naming characters.

What are some of your favorite names?

I want to also say thank you for all the cards, emails, phone calls, and tremendous words of support about our recent loss. We sure miss Consuela and all her sweet, funny ways. I swear I still hear her paws clicking on the hardwood floors. We hope that she and Roscoe are having a grand reunion in dog heaven and are spending their days chasing blue racketballs and eating biscuits.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Farewell to My Best Friend

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale lit moon in a sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's gonna rain today...

Remember this song from the movie Beaches? They played it after Hilary died, and it's running through my head on this gloomy, rainy day as I prepare to say farewell to my beloved Consuela the Wonder Dog later today (Tuesday). Her time has come. The inevitable can no longer be postponed.

We've had her for almost 17 years. To give you some perspective on that, we've been together since before Bill Clinton was sworn in as President, before anyone had heard of Monica Lewinsky. We found each other when my niece, who will soon finish her junior year in high school, was an infant. The three of us became a family in our second month of marriage, and she has been the "other woman" ever since. I was a new Navy wife living in a foreign country, away from everything and everyone familiar. I'd been horribly homesick until she came along and made everything better just by being there. I have loved her for four years shy of half my life. The picture above was taken a week ago when we took her to the beach for the last time. To look at her there, you'd never know anything was wrong.

Here's my favorite photo of Consuela and our other beloved friend, Roscoe, who died in 2006. The dynamic duo, in their prime.

When I think of Consuela, I'll remember our routines. After we put my son on the bus (otherwise known as the biscuit wagon to Consuela, who got morning and afternoon treats from the monitor for the last seven years), I'd say "Let's go to work, girl." At mid-day, I'd say, "Let's go to lunch." At 3:30 each day, I'd stand up to go meet the afternoon bus, and she'd dart up the stairs ahead of me, anxious to get her treat. She'd lay in the yard watching for the first flash of yellow to reach the top of the street. Then she would stand up and engage in an elaborate stretching ritual that never varied from one day to the next. We knew something was really wrong with her when she lost interest in the bus biscuits.

I'll miss running downstairs to do a quick errand and returning to find her waiting patiently for me at the top of the stairs, chin resting on paws, ears on full alert, that scrumptious little face waiting there just for me. I'll miss tripping over her outside the bathroom door, and I'll miss that little tuft of white hair on the top of her head, the sweetest kissing spot. I'll miss the velvety feel of her ears and the way she hated for us to touch her front paws. Last week, Dan wrote movingly of losing his favorite running buddy.

Our family and friends have been so supportive during this difficult time as they know what Consuela has meant to us since the beginning of our life as a married couple. Everything we are as a family started with the three of us, and it's hard to believe that we'll have to go the rest of the way without her. My dear friend Liz, our next-door neighbor in Spain, put it best: "It's the end of an era."

Of course at times like this, talk inevitably turns to someday getting another dog. We will. Maybe in the fall after we've had time to process the loss of Consuela. Our kids deserve the opportunity to rescue a needy dog from the pound and give it a loving home, the way we did for Consuela and Roscoe long before our kids were even born. I'm sure that Dan and I will come to love a new dog and to appreciate its unique personality. But there will never, ever be another Consuela. Rest in peace, old friend. You were greatly and truly loved.