Monday, July 28, 2008

An e-mail I just sent out...

Some thoughts, before I head out to SanFran and Nationals...

Is it really tomorrow that we are going to be AWAY?
Can I possibly wait that long?
Will my kids actually eat the food that I bought, or will Dad just order pizza for five straight days? And does it really matter?
Should I bring comfy shoes, or the FMPs?
How many purses will fit in my suitcase?
Is there a limit on the amount of chocolate I'm allowed to buy and mail from Ghirardelli's?
Was I right to go with RED for my nails?
Why can't they do the agent appointments on Tuesday, so my stomach might actually calm down and be ok for the rest of the conference?
What kind of speech does my roomie have for when she wins her award?
Is it possible for my butt to look any bigger in my favorite capris?
How strict are the airlines on the size of a carry-on?
Will I have to UPS my clothes home to make room for all of the books again this year?
Why does my flight leave before the sun even wakes up?
Do I really plan on sleeping tonight?
Is it really TOMORROW that we are going to be away?!?

These are just a few of the questions screaming through my mind right now.
What's going through yours?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Southern, real-life drama. Of course.

Half the summer is gone. Go figure. Here are a few highlights...

I helped organize a wedding reception for a friend of mine. It was amazing, and I had a blast. If I ever decide to give up the Training Coordinator job, I might just become a Wedding Planner.

The kids went off to, and came home from, camp. To try to describe some of the changes that camp wrought in them is just too complex. Suffice it to say that it was life-altering for my oldest two, and just plain fun for the middle two.

I took a few days off of work to spend with the wee ones, as they were too young to attend camp. My goodness, but they can be exhausting. There was not a single day that we didn't GO. We met Shane in DC one afternoon, walked around Chinatown, had dinner at Hard Rock, then saw the WWII Memorial. We went swimming. We had girl's day, complete with mani's and pedi's and lunch with our friend Hannah. They went to work with me for a few hours and got SPOILED by my staff. We went to DC and saw the fireworks on the National Mall on the 4th (totally spectacular, btw!). I felt like the Energizer bunny, going, and Going, and GOING!!!

I had a birthday.

Gret turned Sweet Sixteen. (please see THIS post for more info on that...)

I found out that my dear sweet Grams has lung cancer. This is where the 'Southern drama' comes in. She's had a surgery already, and there will probably be more to follow. She was taken from her home in Oklahoma to a hospital in Louisiana by my mother's sisters. I found out quite by accident. She evidently didn't want me to know anything about the cancer, or the surgery, or anything. If I hadn't called her home to find the number disconnected, I might not have known so fast. Of course, I call her every few weeks, so I was bound to find out eventually. But still, you'd think SOMEONE would have told me, at some point, right?

Not so in my family. And there's the drama. Like something straight out of a Southern fiction novel, my family has it's own version of a long-standing feud. It started oh so many years ago, between my own mother (the baby of three girls), and her two older sisters. I don't know how, or why, exactly, it began, but it did. And it lasted until the very day of my mother's death. And then it kept right on going. How does a feud last beyond the grave? Well, in some families, the hatred and animosity gets transferred straight to the oldest (or in this case - only) daughter.

So finding out that my Grams, who happens to have had more a hand in raising me than my own mother sometimes, is not only ill, but also being cared for by my mother's sisters, well, it was HARD. Because they just don't like me. At all. Because I happen to be the daughter of my mother. Not because of things that I've done, mind you. Just because of who I am. And the feeling has been pretty mutual since my mother's death, because of some really tactless and cruel things they said about my mother mere hours after she died. And things they have said about me in the years since then.

What am I doing about it? Well, I'm planning a few trips to see my Grams, of course.

And I'm writing.

Because honestly, I can't think of a single thing except how great of a story this would make. I mean, it's so freakin' crazy that nobody would ever believe it's true. But it is.

Of course, some names will be changed to protect the innocent.

But the guilty? Oh heck, let them try to protect themselves!

ps- In case you were wondering, this means NO NATS for me. I'm SO sad about this, as I was really looking forward to rooming with my friend Kristan and being her date at some really FAB parties, and cheering her on when she wins her RITA award. But she has been very understanding about everything. However, if any of you out there needs a roomie in SanFran, please get in touch with me quick and maybe I can hook you up!

Friday, July 11, 2008

You're Invited to a PARTY!!!

Family, friends, and assorted others (you know who you are)...

As most of you are well aware, our very own Gretchen Kay has just reached the milestone birthday of Sweet Sixteen (and never been kissed... at least she better not have been!!). We celebrated this auspicious event on Wednesday, with gelatto (served by very adorable Italian guys, that's a whole other story) and a day of window shopping in our little 'burg, followed by some quality time at an amazing indie bookstore. Gret's dear friend Rachel was on hand for the event, and a good time was had by all.

Alas, we missed having many of you with us. So...

We're having a Party. That's a party, with a capital "P", mind you. Because, well, Sweet Sixteen just deserves something big, and fun, and filled with family and friends (and you others, as well!).

We'd like for you to join us for a not-so-secret celebration of the past sixteen years of Gret's life. Here are all the deets:

Date - Saturday, July 26, 2008
Time - 4 of the clock in the afternoon, until I decide I've seen enough of your smiling faces and make you leave (unless you are spending the night, but that is a VERY short list, so don't even ask!)
Where - here, at our currently un-air-conditioned sprawling home in Woodford, Virginia (e-mail me for the address - in case you want to googlemap us)
What to bring - just your beautiful selves, unless of course you have some fabulous signature dish - I'll gladly accept any donations of fabulous dishes

You might be thinking that you (or those other people you may currently dwell with) are too advanced in your years, or too wee tiny, to have any fun at this event. Let me assure you that this is not the case. There will be a paint ball war in the afternoon, as well as squirt guns for the wee ones. We will have a small pool set up for little people as well. We'll be cooking food outside of the house in the early evening, for your dining enjoyment (this is where your special dish will be appreciated, if you have a special dish, but it's not by any means a requirement of attendance!). We will also have a bonfire, complete with marshmallows and s'mores, when the sun starts heading home for the day.

While planning this event, and the corresponding guest list, Gretchen was adamant about including all of the people that she knows, from all different periods of her life. For some reason, YOU are included in that list. You may, like Becky and her daughter Jess, have been there at the very beginning, while she was still bruising my ribs in utero. You may have, like Kelly, baked a cake for her second birthday. You may have, like Bill and his kids, encountered her while we lived in The Bug House in Virginia Beach. You may have met her, like Steve and Mary Jo, within days of her arrival in King George. You may be, like Rachel and Kelsey and Rissa and Kalie and Angela and Amanda and Mallory and Courtney, very good friends of her now. You may fall, like Ron and JoAnn and Heather and Andy and Tim and Alison, into the Family category. Or YOU may be somewhere in between. Regardless, you have been a part of her life, and she'd love to see you on this special day.

Please RSVP to me by the 23rd of July, so that I can be sure to have enough food to feed you all. You can e-mail me back, or you can send me a text message. If you don't know my number, I'm really surprised you're reading this!

We hope to see you all there. Yes, all of you. Even you, sitting over there in the corner shaking your head in disbelief at the fact that she's actually SIXTEEN. (ohmigosh! I can't believe how old that makes ME!!)


PS- the only part of this that is a !SURPRISE! is that I'd like for all of you to e-mail me any pics that you have of our almost adult young lady. I'd like to do a video montage of her, covering the years from her birth to now (yeah, I know, that's her whole life. That's kinda the point.) If you have pics of you WITH her, that's even better, but any pics of her will be wonderful. Please e-mail those to me as soon as you can.