Welp, so far so mixed. I re-launched this blog with every intention of NOT ignoring it, like I have so many other times in my personal-writing past.
I promise, I have thought about writing something pretty much every day since the last entry (I owe a couple of people some poems per my last entry in May, I will stop being lazy and actually do it), but of course, as you can see, alas, thoughts do not always result in actions (which I guess is good news for those moments of internalized road rage).
However, I am proud to report that in the intervening weeks, I have kept up admirably on my weekly work blog (which, if you are so inclined, you can read here), with the exception of last week’s entry, which is obviously late and which I am working on today (of course after I get done procrastinating over by writing this…sigh…this is what it’s like in my brain). I realized this weekend that most of my family members and probably some of my friends really have no idea what I do for a living…so if you’re ever wondering, check that out.
I’ve also had a wonderful burst of creative energy in lots of other non-writing ways. I’ll post a gallery of some stuff I’ve created over the last few quiet months.
Meanwhile, I just spent a fun weekend with my family and wanted to get a few thoughts down before they too skitter out of my flighty response time.
I flew home to Phoenix Friday morning. My sister picked me up, we made a supply run, picked up her children from their respective schools and then headed up Heber-Overgaard where my grandparents spend their summers out of the Phoenix heat.
The occasion? My grandfather’s 90th birthday. Woot. Last week, my sister and I were debating on what to get him. It’s really hard to buy for my grandparents. In general their needs are few, their lifestyle is minimalist and their living spaces are small. We figured our collective presence was probably the best gift we could offer. But my grandpa solved the problem of making a material gesture himself by enlisting my brother-in-law in finding a good price on some new tires for his quad which he still rides as often as possible. That’s right. He rides a quad. Off road. Through the forest. At 90. Pretty much every day that’s not raining.
We all chipped in and got the tires for his birthday. What an awesome thing it is to be able to give your 90-year-old grandpa a gift like that!
He seemed delighted with the tires, once he finally noticed they were there. They were sitting in the living room of the cabin we rented, bow perched atop, but neither he nor my grandma noticed they were there, which was fine. But as we sat there chatting, talk turned to his current tire situation and how he couldn’t ride until he got new ones.
My brother in law and I exchanged bemused glances as my grandparents prattled on about grandpa’s current lack of riding ability, exhibiting an apparent complete lack of awareness that the 4-foot-high stack of solid rubber situated right next to the couch they were sitting on might provide a solution to said problem.
We laughed and called everyone in, pointed out the gift and presented him with his card.
Of course we had forgotten to buy a card, but my resourceful little niece had packed colored pencils and paper and we whipped up a homemade note that everyone could sign.
I wrote: “Thanks for the awesome genes.”
After reading it, he said to me : “You know Jess, if you play your cards right, you could have a 90th birthday too!”
To which I replied: “That’s the plan, grandpa!”
He said: “You know, the operative word there, is ‘play.’”
I couldn’t agree more. And if he’s correct, I’m right on track.
Speaking of playing, it’s always fun playing with my niece and nephew. Jayden (nearly 11) is getting older and wittier every day so playtime involves a lot of banter.
Here’s another favorite moment from the weekend.
My sister, Jayden and I hit the local bakery for fresh donuts on Saturday morning. I don’t like sugary foods much at all and especially not in the morning, but it sure smelled cheery and my niece was thrilled to help select a bounty of donuty delights to share with the family.
We had a few other stops to make before returning to the cabin, but my niece tried to divert the plan to drop off the donuts first.
Me: “No we’re gonna do everything all at once and then head back.”
Jayden (semi-snarkily): “Well I just thought we might want to get the donuts to the people while they’re hot and fresh.”
Me (very snarkily): “YOU’RE hot and fresh, little dork.”
Jayden (incredibly snarkiliy): “Yeah, well, so are my toots.”
(And yes, my family’s never been exactly shy about bodily excretions, though I don’t see how anyone’s family can be shy about it when there are tiny humans around who need butt-wiping and aren’t shy about demanding it. Oh, while we’re at it, I discovered this weekend that my crazy nephew recently got to fulfill a lifelong (he’s 5) scatological dream. TMI indeed).
Anyway, “hot and fresh” quickly became a new catchphrase.
Another favorite moment of wit belongs to me…mostly because it really cracked my sister-in-law up, and I love it when people laugh at my jokes. She and my brother are (admittedly lazily) trying to have a baby.
My brother-in-law had grilled up a bunch of different meat for a giant family dinner. My bro made up a plate for himself and his wife. Congratulations on the cook of the tri-tip/NY steak/chicken etc were bandied about toward my brother in law as we ate.
At one point, my sister in law asked her husband: “What’s the difference between my meat and your meat?”
I couldn’t resist a quip: “No wonder you’re not pregnant.”
What can I say? I crack my shit up.
It was a fun weekend. I am very glad I went. And yet, I am very, very happy to be home. Something about Arizona makes me a bit melancholy and fairly lethargic. Probably partially the heat and partially the amounts of food we all seem to eat when we’re together, so it’s always nice to leave, even though I miss all these crazy faces when we’re not together.