Going 35 in a 55

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When I pass young people on the sidewalk, I think I blend. I think I’m one of them. It takes a while for me to remember that no, I’m their parent’s age.  And there’s no way I could blend with any average group of people, anyway.

Another birthday has come and gone and I find myself even more age confused.

The crown...another story for next time. I will hint that it has something to do with a road trip and some crazy girlfriends and maybe a monkey or 2 or 3 and definitely about not acting ones age!

The crown…another story for next time. I will hint that it has something to do with a road trip and some crazy girlfriends and maybe a monkey or 2 or 3 and definitely about not acting ones age!

Someone recently asked me how old I was and I confidently answered that I was almost 51. I felt out-and-out proud to not be ashamed of my age. I just knew that they were in awe of my coolness. It wasn’t until after I walked away from the conversation and did a quick mental calculation of dates that it came to me that I was actually pushing 55. I wanted to run back and tell them that I was wrong, that in all honesty I don’t remember my age.  Nor, am I good at math.

I met a new neighbor this week. When I told Larry and he was trying to place them, he asked how old they were. I told him they were about my age. Then I thought for a moment. Nope. They are nowhere near my age, more like 20 years younger.

Why is my brain so warped about time and age?

I like to think it’s because I think much younger than I am. I’m pretty positive it’s not because I look younger. Perhaps time is just going faster and I can’t keep up. My grandmother always said, “The older you get, the faster it goes.” I think she was right!

I celebrated the big 5-5 with my Dad and Larry. We had a delightful little lunch date at Barbara’s, a meat and three down in the country south of Nashville. It felt great to get away from the city. It rained most of the day and it was cool; a very nice break from the heat of summer. We dined on the front porch and took in the sound of the rain on the roof, the conversation and laughter, and the joy of having this time together.

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Alli had called earlier to sing Happy Birthday. We talked over an hour. It still amazes me that I have a grown child. (Especially since I keep thinking I’m 35.) No more are our conversations about the coming school year, or classes. We talk about grown up topics like jobs and paydays, making rent and finding furniture and paying bills. All of that is scary to her right now, which is normal. To this old lady, I know that it will all work out.  So I try to sway the conversation more toward her youthful dreams and goals and the fun she is having now, at 22.

It is both hard and lovely to see my child find her way during this stage of her life. I can hear the pride in her voice when she tells of her savvy purchases, of finding an apartment she can afford, of caring for her car, of doing well at her jobs. (Yes, that is plural.) I would hate for her to miss out on this time of scrambling to survive. It’s such a time of growth and adventure, and yet I want to pay her rent. I want to pad her bank account. I want to order furniture to be delivered to her doorstep. Instead, I suggest ways to cut corners, to make do, and I tell her to not let her worries get the best of her. This, no matter how hard  to witness, is how she will learn to fly, not by having things handed to her.

She is 22 now. I’m 55. My Dad is 88. It’s so easy to look back to 22 and give advice to my child, and yet it’s so hard for me to envision 88. Maybe I need to call Dad and ask him how to deal when I get there? Actually, at 88, I will probably think I’m 55.

Enjoy the time we have here, no matter your age or the life stage!

Love,

Libby Lu

A Detour and Commencement

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The garden is quiet this morning. Only the summer sounds of cicada and happy birds accompany my breathing. I found myself drawn here, pulled away from my usual walking route as if my life depended upon this detour. In my wiser age I have learned to always listen to these gut feelings, to these intuitive suggestions from my mind. Today, as I listened I was not disappointed. I have not been to this garden in some time. Not since the darkness of winter lifted and things became bright and green and colorful again. Today, there is life in the garden; white blossoms, green plants and the pinks of roses.

I cannot help but reach down and run my fingers over the softness of the lamb’s ear, a green plant with fuzz on its leaves. IMG_20150630_102721101 I fight the urge to take a leaf so I can rub it all day, like a favorite blanket.

On the edge of this garden stood one amazing rose-bush. The blooms were not only pleasing to the eye, but this particular variety was also pleasing in scent.  I found myself standing there for minutes, captivated, inhaling the dainty pink blossoms. Not sniffing just one, but several different blooms thinking that the next would smell even lovelier.  I could not get enough.

As I was there with my nose in the blooms, the most vivid memory came to me of a summer day much like this.

I must have been about seven years old, playing hide and seek with my friends. I was hiding beside the house where my mother had a long row of colorful roses with names like Tiffany, Reine Victoria, Alba, Blaze, and Heritage. Mom was not one to tend much to the roses, but somehow they survived many years on the side of that sun drenched house with little care. The truth of the matter is that although we called them Mom’s roses, she simply bought them. Dad actually planted them for her. Loving them was enough, I suppose, to call them her’s. While waiting to be found, right in the middle of the game, I spied one perfect magenta rose next to my best hiding place. My mother had to see it! I plucked it from the bush and rushed into the house to proudly present it to her. She smiled big and said, “Heeeeey!” like she always did when she was surprised. She gave me a little kiss on the cheek and a hug, and I was on my way back outside feeling happy and loved and connected.

That’s it. A sweet passing memory of an event that took place over about 60 seconds, almost 50 years ago. How did that one tiny memory stay with me all these years and suddenly come to me in a garden?

There are so many connections. It seems the longer I live, the more I find. The scent of roses that carry me back to a summer day of childhood, to my mother. The sound of the cicada on a hot day takes me to our well-tended vegetable garden and the early days of falling in love with Larry.  The chill of autumn brings back a day 20 years ago with my child, hiking in the woods. An old photograph, no matter the subject, will remind me of times with Dad. The birds are my grandmother coming to say hello. When I brush my hair, I think of my Mammaw.

It’s all about what we share. Or more specifically, about the love we share.

In sharing, we make memories and create an unbreakable connection; a tie to our past and a link to our future.  It’s how we will always be together across the generations with the ones we love.

Alli graduated in May. Dad flew out to San Antonio with us to attend and celebrate his first grandchild ever to earn a degree. From a crawfish boil to a memorable lunch with good friends and many, many events in between, we indeed celebrated. 11009214_10153299596338834_1328957020310895522_nSo many thoughts came to me during this time, such as how quickly these four years have passed, and the amazing fact that Dad was there with us, and the truth that our child is grown, and our moms are both gone,  and we are gray.

You could feel the hopes and dreams of the crowd on commencement day, and I was so happy to be sitting there between my two favorite men with our friends, Alli’s Texas parents, Dana and Frank by our side.11182175_10153299596203834_6457518145562965707_n

Mom was tagging along. I felt her with us. We all did.

As Alli marched into the Laurie Auditorium for commencement with 532 of her fellow classmates, I could not control a few tears. Her black robe and French National Honor Society rope billowed with the fast pace, and her mortar board was held (with many bobby pins) proudly upon her head. I had never seen her from that angle. She looked confident, taller, wiser, basically grown.

Her classmate spoke to the class on the promise and peril of the real world and encouraged them to find and keep wonder in every day, in everything.

Yes. Please do.

Dad had attended photography school in San Antonio in the mid 1940’s and had met and married Mom during that time. He said he wanted to ride around town and look for his old stomping grounds. 11225345_10153299598563834_5058892525865970406_nDana drove and Dad rode shotgun and the rest of us observed and listened to the stories and his excitement as he shared memories  and pointed out where his school was, where he lived with Dana’s parents in the boarding house, where he lived with my Mom and my brother, and the church where they wed.Three generations were there, sharing and taking it in and Alli will carry this time with her, always.  A link to the future from the ties of our past.

I’m also pretty sure that from now on, when I feel the sweltering heat of summer, taste fresh tortillas, or smell the slight honeysuckle scent of the Bougainvillea Arborea, I will think of this time, of this precious time we shared during graduation festivities with  loved ones.11263961_10153299595103834_2865854754740181641_n

Listen to your intuition. Stop and smell the roses!

Love, Libby Lu

Concrete Dreams

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Dance and Research camp sounds fun, doesn’t it?

I went there in my slumber last night.

Evidently the location of this Dance and Research Camp was at a historic site which included not only a massive dance floor out in a field surrounded by trees, but also an Olympic sized pool and a defunct old three-story library full of lovely carved wood tables, musty books and row upon row of card catalogs.  We campers were all divided into groups by age, and took turns either dancing, or doing research in the library. Alli was there in a young adult class and my camp buddies, Maya Angelou (wow!) and Larry were helping me do research for a new book project. We were going through books and the card catalog and jotting notes like crazy onto index cards. Larry was very helpful finding facts and figures for me. Maya was her joyful, inspiring self and was encouraging me on this literary project. I kept slipping out to join the young adult dance class, and when Alli saw me she gave me the stink eye, told me to wait for my own dance class, and reminded me that I needed to be working on our book. We were waiting on Laura to arrive. She wasn’t in the young adult or the older adult dance group, so she was only going to do research for us. At the rate we were going, this manuscript was going to be ready within weeks!

I woke from this odd dream with my head buzzing and with a chuckle of delight. I spent half the day trying to decipher it. First off, I am very excited about a book project that Alli, Laura (Alli’s birth mother) and I are working on. (Curious?) We totally have Larry’s support on this. Second, I love dance, research, the wisdom of Maya Angelou (RIP) card catalogs, (I would love to own one, and would use it for paint brush and paint storage.) the great outdoors, books, a good pool and lovely wood work. So, I guess all my loves came together in this dream. Division of age seemed to play a big role. Anyway, its’ so weird. I really can’t make this stuff up.

Neither can I make up some of the ridiculous circumstances I find myself in at times. One day I got on the elevator in the parking garage at work. I was a mess. My wet hair was hanging in my face as I shuffled my purse, my lunch box, an umbrella, a water bottle and two sets of keys in order to press the button to get to the ground floor. Right when I pressed it, I heard a lady’s voice coming from the vicinity of the panel of buttons.  I thought I had accidentally pressed the emergency call button, so I leaned down to the knee-high speaker and said in my most mature, slow, audible voice, “I’m sorry. That was an accident. I think my purse must have hit the emergency button.”

The reply came from my pocket.

It was my phone and the Google voice command chick was saying,”I’m sorry, I did not understand your question. Please repeat it.

Did I mention I was not alone on the elevator? My fellow rider was basically holding herself as to not pee her pants. She was not doing a great job of holding back her laughter, though.

I am the queen of butt calls and voice command failure.

While I’m telling on myself, I find this a great opportunity to tell a story of which I have been given permission to share with you, my dear readers. My friend tells me that I can use her name. I don’t know if I would do that if I were her, but here it goes…

During her younger, more carefree days, Shirley lived in Florida with her boyfriend, D.  One evening she received a call that her mother, back home in Nashville was not doing well. She was upset because she could not get home to be with her in her time of need.  In order to cheer her up and get her mind off of the situation, D. suggested that they go out for dinner and drinks.

One thing led to another and they found themselves at a lively new bar by the water’s edge in a growing little area of their beach town. You know the type…cute little pastel colored buildings with an ocean view, connected by glowing white sidewalks and sand dunes.

After a few drinks, Shirley was feeling better, but she was in need of a restroom. She was surprised to learn that it was not located in the building, and was instructed to walk down the sidewalk and to the building on the left.

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Jelly shoes. All the craze in the 80’s!

Shirley took off alone, walking the short distance in her cute little pink Jelly shoes. She was enjoying the fresh air and the sounds of the ocean when she heard some workers up ahead whistling and yelling, “Hey, lady!” They were relentless. Thinking that they were just being obnoxious and flirting with her, she yelled something back, flipped them off and kept walking.

After the restroom break, she fortunately found her way back to the correct venue and told D. that she was not feeling well and wanted to leave. D. reluctantly took her home. Once there, he put her into bed, fully clothed and with her shoes still on. When she fell asleep, he left to go back to the bar.

Shirley woke a few hours later to the sound of laughter and music. She could hardly walk, so she literally crawled into the living area to find that D. had brought everyone from the bar back to their place. She was not amused but was not in the shape to do anything about it, so crawled back to bed.

The next morning, Shirley woke with an odd sensation. Her feet felt heavy and she couldn’t move them. Much to her horror, she discovered that her cute little pink Jelly shoes were cemented to her feet.

They had evidently just poured that concrete sidewalk she took to the restroom the night before. OH! That’s why the workmen were yelling at her!

D. had to take her to the emergency room to have the shoes and the concrete removed.

I must add that D. was obsessed with his car and the cleanliness of it. Too bad he didn’t know about the wet cement that Shirley tracked in on the ride home from the bar. I doubt that the carpet on the passenger side was ever the same. Neither are Shirley’s feet.

A side note here. D was out of the picture not long after this incident, her mother recovered and Shirley doesn’t drink.

It’s hard to top that story.

It makes my day trip with Larry and my weekend away with my girlfriends seem so tame and uneventful. I’ll save it for another post, but I can warn that it involves a creepy cave, gnomes, monkeys, a film, and lots of crowns and tiaras. Sorry, but no pink Jelly shoes.

Have a great weekend of wonderfully fun and entertaining dreams. If the elevator starts talking to you, don’t answer, and be careful out there. It really is a concrete jungle.

Love,
Libby Lu

PS  I saw what I thought was an ad today on Facebook. It read, “Intimate Escapes – from the Tennessee State Prison.” A new novel? A spa? The prisoners are making a special bath oil? Nah…I just read it wrong. It was actually a news update and we have had another inmate escape.

The Luck o’ the Partially Irish and a Bomber of Photos

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St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and I feel the need to cook something Irish, like potatoes or soda bread. Larry and I both have some Irish blood, but I never really know how to “do” this day. I must remember to wear green, though. I hate being pinched.

In reading about what The Luck of the Irish really means, I have learned that it may not mean luck at all. It may even mean bad luck with an Irish attitude of humor and optimism.

Although I am a tad Irish, I can tell you that I have not had the Luck of the Irish lately. I have not had good luck, and I have had bad luck with a poor attitude. It’s just been one of those weeks. I have been so stressed that I have been very forgetful, confused and by Friday I felt sick. When I am forgetful and lose things and can’t get my thoughts together, I fear Alzheimer’s. I worry that this is the beginning of a long journey of completely losing my mind.

In order to not let this fear consume me, I am trying to zone in on this lovely change of seasons. Spring is here, and after a long winter it is most welcomed. Within one week we went from a snow storm to temps in the sixties. It’s time to shave the legs, sand the feet, paint the toenails and bring out the hippie skirts!

In between the ice storm and the snow storm, before spring finally arrived, my father was honored by the Senate for his contribution to the music industry and history through his photography. It was a big to do in a ceremony at the Tennessee State Capitol. We had a wonderful photographer trailing with us that afternoon. At one point, I noticed him standing a little far away, shooting with his telephoto lens. Being a photographer myself, I knew that he would not be able to see all of the details around his subject (Dad) from that distance until later. So, I took the opportunity to make faces. My Aunt Cynthia was sitting next to me and joined in on the fun.

Well, the joke was on me. When the photos were delivered to us a few days later, they were great. The photographer did a wonderful job of capturing the event, a true honor and important day for Dad. There were tons of photos of our family, and on a day when I really tried to look good, let’s just say, I did not. It was a middle-aged surprise, as in, GEEZ where did that extra chin come from? And, I thought I looked thinner in that sweater… Anyway, the best photo of me with my Dad from that whole event was this:

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My photo bomb photo. Nice. Historical. One for the family archives. Gee.

I do love photo bombing.

Check out my friend Shirley and me in the library as we photo bomb a bust.

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And I can say, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. Here’s Alli bombing a sorority photo.

Alli photo bombing

I wish happiness to all of you who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. May the luck be with you whether it’s good luck or a good outlook. If any of you are not feeling it, find a good source of laughter, or at least learn to laugh at yourself. Take up photo bombing! Enjoy spring!

Love,

Libby Lu

The L-MOB

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As most of you know, we have an interesting family arrangement with our open adoption. (There’s more on this here.) Our daughter’s birth mother, Laura is one of my dearest friends, and we try to have a GNO (Girl’s Night Out) when possible. It doesn’t happen often enough with our busy lives, but we finally got together over the weekend to see a movie, have dinner and a sleep over. We are always in touch via email or texting.

Most of my life, I have usually signed off not with my name, but with “L” A while back, Laura began signing off as “The Other L.”  Jokingly, we refer to each other as “My Baby Momma” ☺ We decided that the abbreviation of that was not good (BM) so now it’s “Mother of Baby” (MOB).  We call ourselves The L-MOB.

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Scary, huh?

The L-MOB went to see Black or White. It has been out a couple of months, so the media hype has died down. When it was first released, this film opened up some needed discussion with interesting articles containing great and varied views on race relations and raising children of mixed heritage. This is one reason The Other L and I just knew we had to view this film together. We are both parents of mixed race children.

After reading an article about issues with trans-racial adoption, which was obviously generated from the movie’s media blitz, our Alli posted the following:

This was an interesting article, being mixed raced and the child of two white parents. I think it all depends on how the parents handle the situation and my parents couldn’t have done a better job. I had dolls of all races growing up, children’s books featuring MLK and Rosa Parks, lived in a predominately black neighborhood and went to a very racially diverse school for a part of my life, and when I got older and couldn’t figure out how to deal with my crazy curls, my mom would sit with me for hours in black hair salons while I got my hair done. I’m not sure I agree with all the opinions of the three other adoptees but I know I would never wish to change who my parents are for anything. Yes, our races may be slightly different but that’s not what I see when I think of my parents. I see unconditional love and have the knowledge that I was (and still am) truly wanted, no matter what race, because as my parents have shown me, love has no color.

My reply:

Wow. I’m so proud or you and as always I feel honored to be your mother, Alli. I’ve always known that we were brought together to be a family for a reason. Maybe a part of it is to share our story and open up dialogue such as this to help other trans-racial families. Keep shining your light, my child.  We love you with all of our heart. You are needed, wanted and loved beyond words, and definitely beyond color.

What I also thought:

Thank goodness we did something right!

Seriously, I felt so happy to hear those words from our daughter. We parents sometime second guess ourselves. I try to keep the words spoken 4 years ago at TU’s parent orientation by the Dean of Students in my head; Trust your parenting. It’s so hard, though. Even now, with my child grown I feel that I have not done enough nor been enough for her. I do my best and my kid is pretty darn amazing, so I shall try not to worry too much. As far as the race thing goes, it’s not something we’ve dwelled upon. We really are color blind. It hasn’t been an issue, because we have not made it an issue. We love our child with all our heart and my only hope is for her to be content with her life. I think that this is the hope of all parents.

As unique as our relationship is with our birth family, I do think that our openness has helped our child. She has seen us take things with humor and has witnessed the growth of our close relationship. Surely she derives something from having her parents and her birth mother know and love each other.

We SKYPED with Alli after the movie and dinner. It was a grand reunion.

We SKYPED with Alli after the movie and dinner. It was a grand reunion.

Now, let me introduce you to the Watson family. They are eternally perfect:

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What is their secret? Well, they are fake. In all the years we have been visiting Dana, she has had this lovely unused frame sitting on her kitchen counter with the original fake, merchandising photos. The first time visiting at her house, I was looking around and when I saw these in this frame, I wondered who they were. Dana laughed as she explained that they were no one that she knew. So we named them. On the left is Rob with Natasha. Below them is their kid, Bobby. Below Bobby is a photo of Charlie, Rob’s brother and his fiance, Claire.  Across from Rob and Natasha are Rob’s parents, Bob and Gloria. Below is Rob’s niece, Stella June.

We will be back at Dana and Frank’s Bed and Breakfast soon. Look what came in the mail;

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Fastest four years, ever!

In Nashville today, we have more snow. It’s lovely and I will enjoy it, but tomorrow I want spring. Thank you.

Love,

Libby Lu

PS: Thank you, Alli for allowing me to use your post in this blog and for loving us unconditionally.

Also, a little laugh for you…This posted on Facebook by my friend, Amber:

Found Jesus tonight. Literally. He was under the stove. (The cat took him from the nativity scene at Christmas.)

Snow and a Prime Meridian Project

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As I type this, I’m bundled up like the kid on A Christmas Story. I can hardly move with the layers I’m wearing. On top of the layered clothing, I have on a fleece pullover and my trusty Navajo wrap. Still, I’m cold. My hands are chapped from the dry air and I have odd little aches from using a different set of muscles while trying to get around on the thickly iced sidewalks.

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It’s lovely, but I’m ready for spring.

As a Nashvillian, I usually don’t take the weather reports seriously. There can be all kinds of media hype about snow storms, etc, we get a dusting of the white stuff and everyone freaks out. Well, this time they were right with the forecast. Snow would have been simpler, but no. We tend to have ice storms in these parts. You can sometimes get around on snow, either by car or on foot. Not with ice. With ice, you stay put.

So, we had some serious icing and snow over a few days with record low temps. It pretty much shut the city down for most of the week. Just as we were thinking we would head toward a thaw, another snow storm hit at the end of the week. One night it was below freezing. Not unusual for cities up north, but not so common around here. On Thursday we had high temps in the single digits.

I have been home a lot this week and have thoroughly enjoyed it. With no way to be where I was supposed to be and no demands of my time, I was able to let my creative mind out to play. No one has any idea what this means to me. It’s really hard for me to let my work-a-day life go and get into what I love and know so well. This week I have  done a large sketch, finished a quilt square and completed three paintings. I have been writing and have been working with my ongoing film-to-digital project.  I’m a very happy camper.

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My ongoing project is quite a huge task, but I’m enjoying it. I have approximately 8,000 color transparencies (slides) that are in reels and in chronological order. I’m editing through them and keeping notes so that they can be transferred to digital format and logged for easy location. The images date back to my high school days. I was the yearbook photographer for a couple of years, and took on my first freelance job in the music industry when I was still in school. Photography became my livelihood. Although that has faded, I still get calls for images from my collection and it will be so nice to be able to find them more easily. Plus, not having all of the reels around will free up a whole closet!

This project has brought me much joy and at the same time has been very sentimental. I’m still in disbelief that so much of my life has passed. I usually listen to good music while I work and between the good tunes and the memories, I find myself bouncing between getting teary eyed and laughing out loud. There are photos from my teenage years, my years of living in Colorado when I was young and fit, and the early years of my marriage. Work wise, there are photos from my days as a medical photographer and many images from my years photographing the music industry. Last night I was going through a reel, editing through some nature shots from a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, and next up was a batch of photos of brain surgery. Soon after, there were shots from the CMA Awards, then more family photos. I got tickled thinking about how we used to have slide shows with our friends and how they would totally be grossed out with the Operating Room photos that would randomly pop up.

“Here we are on the Tonahutu Trail, and Oh, look! Sternum repair!”

Have I mentioned that I love this freedom that the weather has allowed me?  Yes, I’m very happy to have some time, but I’m cold. I just can’t seem to get warm this week. Larry jokingly referred to the ice pack on our driveway and streets and yards as the permafrost. Even with a constant cold rain today and warmer temperatures, much ice remains.

I crack myself up every time I try to walk on this stuff. I take baby steps, arms out to the sides like a tight rope walker, sliding all the while.  I try to act composed and confident in my footing, but it isn’t pretty.

On Friday, we had a lovely snow coming down on top of the remaining ice. I made some hot cocoa and toasted crackers as my mother would have done on a snow day, and just sat and watched the peacefulness of it. What a wonderful break from the routine.

Enough about the weather, since most of us around here are pretty sick of it. I need to share a funny story with you.

Several months ago, my friend whom I shall keep anonymous in order to protect her reputation as a smart chick, shared an invitation she had received. After reading it, she asked if I had heard of this venue before. It read:

7 Prime Meridian

Hmmmm. Well, I thought I had seen a sign with this 7 Prime Meridian somewhere in my travels. The best I could come up with was that I thought it was in the trendy 12 South district. Someone else said they thought it was in East Nashville, but our friend who lives in “East Nasty” said no, it wasn’t there. it was on Franklin Road. Another friend said she just had no idea.

Um….None of us figured it out. Please keep in mind that these friends are educated and smart women.  It took my friend’s teenage son to explain that it wasn’t a location. It was a time. As in 7:00 p.m.  As in PRIME MERIDIAN.

In our defense, who uses that term anyway? Prime Meridian.

So, this week I have spent a lot of time in the Prime Meridian with my project, I have worked my way up from the mid 1970’s into my photos from the mid 1980’s. There is so much more ahead. I promise to share! IMG_20141111_212700488

It’s almost 11 Prime Meridian. I must get some sleep.

Since I’ve talked a lot here about photos, I shall leave you with one of my most recent selfie fails. IMG_20150214_153343336

 

Have a great week and keep dreaming of spring!

 

Libby Lu

 

 

 

It’s All About Those Panties on that Bass

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For the record, this is the second post where I’ve talked about panties.

I bring this up because we just had Valentine’s Day. (OH, I know what you are thinking. Stop it.)

Usually I try not to draw much light to this holiday, knowing that there are some people who have a hard time with it. I have one friend who absolutely detests it. She says the only thing good about Valentine’s Day is the fact that the chocolates are on sale the day after.

This past Valentine’s weekend, love was of course on the brain and I kept thinking of just how oddly we sometimes show our love for others. For instance, I think one of the most loving things ever is when someone plays a prank for someone else’s enjoyment.

You’ve all met Rudy before. I recently came home from work to find him on top of the clothes dryer. rudy

After the shock and a small shriek, I felt all warm and fuzzy knowing that I am loved enough that Larry would go out of his way to place a fake rat where it would startle me. It’s like getting your yard rolled with toilet paper. It’s a mess, but it’s a sign that someone was thinking of you, right?

Forget diamonds. Give me a good prank!

When I was a kid, my mother taught me how to place a roll of toilet paper on top of the door frame and a partially opened door so that when someone opened that door, it would fall and hit them in the head. I remember her helping me to do this to my brother before he came home from school one afternoon. He was a teenager. I don’t think he felt too much love from that act, but he really should have. Maybe it was because the shock made him say a curse word and Mom threatened to wash his mouth out with soap. Anyway, I wouldn’t go to that much trouble for someone I didn’t love.

I have passed my pranking arsenal down to my child and I’m proud to say that we carried out the old toilet paper over the door prank on one of her roommates when we were moving her into her dorm this past fall.

She and her roommates have a little ongoing prank that Alli started which involves a photo of C’ellezst, the name she uses when referring to her pre-pubescent self. Due to illness, she missed photo day her 4th grade year of school. Being the child and grandchild of photographers, she really, really wanted to have a portrait made by a regular school portrait photographer. I gave in and the result of that sitting was a set of about four 11 X 14’s, two dozen 5 X 7’s, several 8 X 10’s and enough wallet sized photos of  C’ellezst at her best to distribute to every person we’d met in the 10 years she’d been alive. In the chosen pose, she is looking straight on at the lens, her chin down, with a look of great sass. She was wearing a pink one shouldered shirt and a cute little up-do. The background was a hideously generic blue. With the package we purchased, we had dozens of left over photos. As a joke, I would slip them into greeting cards that I sent to her when she went to college. Her junior year, I sent her a painting she needed for her room. Stuck behind the canvas was one of the 11 X 14’s of C’ellezst. Well, that photo has been placed in her roommate’s room, over her bed. It’s been taped to the toilet seat. It’s hung in the hallway of their apartment. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to make sure C’ellezst shows up for graduation. It’s such a show of love.

Several years ago in a true act of showing my love for Larry, I placed a pair of panties in his bass guitar case without him knowing it. Not just panties, but sexy hot pink panties, and not just thrown into the case, but placed over the neck of the bass. I thought it would be a private little laugh for him. Well, he went to his gig that night, and as fate would have it he had company while he was retrieving his bass from its case. Not only was the rest of the band standing around, but the client had followed him backstage and was standing over him, talking about the logistics of the show as poor, unknowing Larry knelt and opened the case. Since he was keeping eye contact with the client, he noticed the client was suddenly staring at his bass and his voice had trailed off. Larry could hear his friends snickering. When he looked down to discover why, he acted like this were normal and with a little difficulty he removed and threw the panties back in the case, closed it and put his bass strap around his neck, ready to play. Embarrassed? Maybe. Loved? Yes.

There is also the story of the popcorn bowl. It’s a wood salad bowl that our friends gave us when they moved here from Hawaii. It does serve as a salad bowl, but over the years it has also earned its title as the popcorn bowl. When we moved into our current house, there was a little rift about how the kitchen should be set up. Larry thought that the popcorn bowl should be on a shelf with the most used items. I felt that it needed to go on the shelf where we placed items we only used every now and then. We each kept moving it where we thought it should go. Larry announced that it needed to be where we could get to it when we needed it. Well. Say no more. Everywhere that poor guy went for the next month, he found the popcorn bowl. I put it in his car, passenger seat, with the seat-belt around it. It was in his dresser drawer. He found it on the counter in the bathroom when he got out of the shower. I packed it in his suitcase when he went on the road. Finally, one day he came in with it, plopped it on the counter and said, “Enough.” Since then, it has been stored on the shelf that I suggested in the first place. Isn’t that just pure love?

Most years, Larry has to play on Valentine’s night, so we don’t get to share it together. This year, he did not and it fell on a weekend. We had a wonderful day of roses and chocolates and a tour of Nashville’s own Belle Meade Plantation with a wine tasting (tickets, a Christmas gift from our child. Thanks, Alli ! ) Friends came over for dinner. And the friend I mentioned earlier, who hates Valentine’s Day? She had a very special gift sent to us. See, she’s a wise woman. She knows that you have to step outside your own funk to make a day better sometimes. Thank you, S. You made us feel so loved. May you have bags and bags of chocolates at half price this week.

I made a special cake for Larry. It was a total and complete fail, but I think he felt loved.

The Bundt

The Bundt

We are buried in winter’s white and ice today. I hope that my silly stories and shenanigans will bring some warmth to you.

Always,

Libby Lu

P.S.  Love, D-Dot  may or may not have left random Valentine’s around town this week. ☺