Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend 3-Way: take a look

Hmmmm. This looks like a cool place . . . 
Hmmmm. This once looked edible

Hmmmm. This looks a bit, uh, foolish

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiction Friday: Swallow this

Gertrude didn't completely trust this Mr. Swallow. I mean, for pity's sake, what kind of a name is "Swallow" anyway? It sounded like one of those made up TV-type aliases to her ears. Or perhaps a bad knock-off of Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow. And why the immediate introduction?

It wasn't that he said or did something obvious to make her think that he was something other than what he claimed to be, other than the introduction, which she had to admit could be chalked up to good old-fashion manners; it was just a funny feeling she got, a tickle in her belly similar to the flutter she get when driving down Wickham Ave when late for work.

He was polite with no trace of an accent, rather plain in appearance and of medium build -- he was not much cause for alarm. He did, however, wear a fedora, which was not in fashion. At least not here. In this decade. But who knows, maybe he had some sort of Don Draper, Mad Men-esqe fetish, which was really none of her business. His request for very specific historical material was not completely out of the ordinary or overly obscure either, although it certainly wasn't your run-of-the-mill request in this large but ordinary library.

She longed to follow him to the stacks to see if her suspicions were grounded, but unfortunately she'd just had her morning coffee and couldn't avoid a hopefully quick trip to the ladies room.

As she walked down the far side of the fiction stacks she craned her neck to see if she could spot him, but she saw only Billy Jackson at the computer bank, who she swore was somehow eluding the libraries censorware and watching porn during his long and frequent visits. She halfheartedly wondered if they should try switching from Cyber Patrol to Smart Filter. Although she had not actually caught him in the act of viewing pornography, the satisfied expression on his face during his time online brought to mind only one thing. Which was not the sort of 'flutter' she should be thinking about while at work! She probably did have to have some proof before she formerly requested they change software programs though.

But never mind, Billy wasn't her concern this morning...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ann Mania, Redux

That was the most beautiful look into Dad-Day that Jacquie wrote yesterday, was it not?

Sigh. Yes, it was.

Mistah took a million wonderful photos that brutally perfect day, too -- including shots of Jacquie -- and I'm going to share them, too, if you'll indulge me. But not today. Today, we're going to return to the celebration of Ann's Big Birthday.

My whole family came up to New London for the celebration. Believe that? We were 13 . . .

. . . no, wait! We were 15! Mumsie and Kelly joined us too.

Oh, wait! Jennie! 16!

We all returned to The Good Captain's, for food and fun and frivolity and fabulous festiveness. (And, from the looks of it, calamari and chowdah).

Julie had MB cracking up . . .

. . . Julie was on a roll that night . . .

. . . and Jacquie was no slouch herself.

Julie also apparently loves Tabasco. Really really loves it. Will commit misdemeanors on its behalf, even. Sigh.

My girl Chapel Hill Girl was in da house. As was her brother Joe. As was my fancy green L&M drink-bucket-with-straw. Haven't seen it since that very night.

Uncle Schleckah has been taking this same photo of Jacquie's boy for years and years now . . .

. . . and it's still working for them both.

There she is! There's the Birthday Girl! With my lovely lovely Mom.

Yay Mom! Yay Ann!

And then? Time for you-know-what.

Hoo-ray for Ann . . .

. . . hoo-ray at last . . .

. . . hoo-ray for Ann . . .

. . . for she's a horse's ass.

Julie felt the need to tie Ann's ribbons on her head, Rambo-style . . .

. . . and to add the tissue paper, too.

Everybody got into the act . . .

We had a great time celebrating the momentous day, especially after the wonderful, brutal intensity of Saturday.

Happy Birthday, Ann! Thanks for the fun!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

how he lived

Summer in Connecticut has always meant hot and humid, lots of Coreys, and big fun.  The kids and I have been in the habit of visiting most years in late July, and although the unexpected, unfathomable death of Dad brought everything to a screeching halt on July 23, 2010, there was never any doubt that we'd be here on that same date in 2011. 

We wanted to be with mom on this first anniversary, to mark the passage of a full year without him. It's still unreal and the hurt is still fresh and raw, but we also feel a strange sense of accomplishment at having survived every single calendar day from one July 23 to the next. Now it's like we are turning a page, we've weathered the worst of this storm and we know that although every holiday, anniversary, birthday and Sunday will be less fun without Dad; we can redefine our expectations to reflect this new reality, and we're going to be okay.

We honored Dad on the first annversary of his death by coming together to scatter his ashes.

Yeah, I sound brave. Aren't I brave?

It was perfect. It was brutal. Brutally perfect.

Once everyone had arrived, we went with some of Mom and Dad's dearest friends out onto the waters of the Long Island Sound. We were determined to make this a celebration of Dad's life.

The Oscars came aboard.
The captain's qualifications were questionable, at best.
The passengers were lovely, but don't get me started on that cheese.
We foraged out into the sea.

Our hosts had a spot in mind, a place with a landmark that we could remember and revisit.

When we reached that spot, we stopped and gathered at the bow. Mom had selected a few verses for us to share, so we each found a place to sit or perch, and those of us who wanted to were invited to speak or sing or read or bawl just exactly however the spirit moved us.

I had a passage in hand that I'd chosen to read, and I knew I'd be okay because I'm strong like bull and brave like lion. All the weaklings were crying and carrying on, so I stood to go first and show everyone that we could do this, piece of cake.

I started to read, and suddenly the weight of those words and that moment and the harsh face of our new reality came crashing right down onto my heart. I got through it, but barely. My brave strong voice was a quivering whisper. It was really hard.  

Not How He Died...But How He Lived

Not how did he die, but how did he live?
Not what did he gain, but what did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away.
           ~Summer Sandercox
Several others followed suit, it didn't get any easier but it was cathartic and therapeutic and significant. And brutal. Then we sang, then we stood and gathered the only part of Dad that we still had to hold, and we watched as Mom gently lowered his ashes into the welcoming water. 

Each one of us followed Mom's lead and watched as the strangely heavy package dwindled to little more than a handful for Mom to keep, while the rest blossomed on top of the suddenly still water, mingling beautifully with the bright flowers we'd offered.

And we cried and we cried together, then slowly we welcomed the laughter back. Together.

Because Dad's legacy is this family, his girls. Mom. His grandchildren.  And always, laughter. That's how he lived.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ITAM too

Everybody loves ITAM right? Right!

And we have so many new T-shirts to show off this year. Well actually this month, which is appropriate, seeing as July is International T-shirt Appreciation Month. Yes, this month saw a record number of new T-shirts making their way into our home.

Shall we take a look?

Please note that my husband is not a willing model like Mistah. I grabbed these shirts and asked him to model, but he refused. So, I donned them myself, pardon me if they look a wee bit large.

First off we have

An old school Babbitt Ranches T-shirt.

Next up is

 an even older-school Babbitt Ranches shirt.

And well looky here,

if it isn't another Babbitt Ranches T-shirt.

This one below is a brand new Babbitt Ranches T-shirt, a memento for all of those who made it out to the 125th reunion of the Ranches.

Are you sensing a theme yet?

But wait....what do we have here?

A TPC shirt, which has nothing to do with Babbitt Ranches, but was acquired in the very same week and just down the road from every shirt pictured above.

That's a lot of swag for one week, ain't it?

Plus this, which is all mine, and which I'm not sharing.

And, yes, I know, it's not really eligible for ITAM, but I just love it so.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ann Mania

Today is Ann's birthday.

Happy Birthday Ann!

To celebrate this momentous -- and I do mean momentous -- occasion, let's take a look back at the early years, shall we? And heck, let's do it randomly; chronology is so last year.

Dad taking a break from his residency to visit his baby girl. They worked those residents hard, they did.

Ann watching Dad become Major.


Dad with his first two, and a cool car behind them.

Glamorous Mom; lumpy diapered Ann.

Really. What's up with the lumpy diapers??!


Later that day.......... Mom is absurdly gorgeous.
And her kid's pretty cute....

Happy 30th Dad!

Just waiting, waiting, waiting for baby sister Ellie to be born . . . that very night.
Yay! Ellie's arrived!

What a good big sister.

Oh, these are shots from the Worst Photo Shoot in the History of the Planet. Let's focus on Ann, do let's:

Phew. That's over. Let's move on. Here's Ann . . .

. . . in this photo shoot . . .

. . . which is this photo shoot. One of my favorites ever.

Awwww. Okay, I'm going to stop saying that.

This is also one of my favorite photo shoots . . .

. . . it's part of this one, one of the all-time best. Am I right??

And then there's the Easter series . . .

Really, could we be cuter??

Awwww. Oh, wait. I was supposed to stop saying that.

Ann and Jacquie.

All six girls.

Oh look! Me!

I'd say Awww but I promised . . . 

Halloween 1969. Ann -- on the right -- 
was apparently, um, I do not know.

MB, Ann and I were, only comparatively speaking, The Big Ones.

And I did my best to uphold the Lumpy Diaper Mantle I inherited.

Lots of brown girls.

Mom had Julie -- her fourth daughter and Ann's 3rd sister -- days later.

Ann's the smooshed one in the middle.

Ann, a newborn, with her gorgeous great and glorious --
then and now -- Mom.

Happy Birthday Ann!