me

fictional faves

I haven’t done a favorites list in quite some time and I realized I missed it.
So, I thought: what the hell, let’s do one.
This favorites list focuses on all things fictional. Any- and everything made up.
Buckle up for my fictional faves.

fictional place
The Wood between the Worlds
(The Magician’s Nephew, Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis)

fictional fam
The Dashwoods
(Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen)

fictional couple
Gomez and Morticia Addams
(The Addams Family – Charles Addams)

fictional animal
Appa
(Flying Bison from Avatar: The Last Airbender – Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko)

fictional character – male
Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce
(M*A*S*H – portrayed by Alan Alda in the television series)

fictional character – female
Pippi Longstocking
(Pippi Longstocking, et al. – Astrid Lindgren)

fictional villain
this one is a no-win tie between:
Iago
(Othello -William Shakespeare)
and
Maleficent
(Sleeping Beauty – Disney 1959 animated film)

fictional world
Neverland
(Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie)

fictional name
Ramona Geraldine Quimby
(‘Ramona Series’ – Beverly Cleary)

fictional duo
Margo and Eliot
(The Magicians – Lev Grossman)

AND
Sherlock and John
(BBC Sherlock)

AND
Jay and Silent Bob
(Clerks, Dogma, et al. – Kevin Smith)

Yeah, I know. There are three fave duos…
But I honestly couldn’t choose!

What are some of your fictional favorites?

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day seven

YBW and I left the house at 9:20 Saturday morning headed for Blandy Experimental Farm at the State Arboretum of Virginia.
We spent about three hours wandering the gardens and taking photos.


This is the Quarters where students in residence live.

We walked down the dogwood trail.

And when we turned the corner guess what I saw!

My love of lampposts is limitless and I experience child like joy whenever I see one.
I think it goes back to reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a little girl.


I loved the curve of this stone wall.

After the arboretum, we went to see Baby K.
That girl ran straight to her Papa and leapt into his arms and my Birdie heart grew three sizes!
We played outside, sat on the porch drinking chocolate milkshakes, and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon with our beautiful granddaughter.

International Week of the Birthday was pretty damn good, y’all!

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day six

I left the house at eight am Friday morning and didn’t return to it until nearly eight pm.
It was exhausting.
However, I was able to have a really great day!

I went to Lidl to pick up a pod swing Thing 1 wanted for Baby K.
Across the street to Costco for gas. (pulled right up to the pump, thank goodness)
After that, I was at a loss. I had to meet YBW at the new house at 11:30 so I just needed to kill time until then.
Turns out, Nora was available to meet for breakfast, so that killed an hour.
I came back to my neighborhood to drop off something for Meredith and Beau’s mom. (down the street there were three cars in front of my house – all the randos)

At the new house, YBW and I met with the building manager. He was making his list and I was adding to it. He was sincerely apologetic about the cabinets, saying he had spoken with the cabinet guy but then dropped the ball on following up. Fortunately, he was meeting with the cabinet guy right after he saw us, so we’re all gonna cross our fingers.
Our meeting was productive, and I’m content I didn’t have to use my teacher voice with him.
Shame they have to do more work, but that bit isn’t my problem.
Apparently the windows are ‘still coming’ the question is when…

It was 12:20 when I hit the road out to Thing 1’s house. Baby K was asleep when I arrived, so I was able to help Thing 1 do a bit of work around the house.
They’re finally settling in, they have much more to do, but in the six weeks they’ve lived there, they’ve made decent progress.
Last week, she took a bunch of plants home from our house and they’re on the porch at her house looking somewhat healthy. Husband N was working from home Friday and cleared all the unkempt flower bed so they could assess what was there (peonies and lilacs and hostas), and begin to decide where to plant other things.
Y’all, their house is so damn precious and I love seeing them turn it into their home!

My tiny girl work from her nap as I was in the kitchen washing my hands. She saw me and stopped, it took a moment to register what was up.
I said, “Hi Chicken.”
She said, “BEE!” and ran to me wrapping her arms around my legs and squeezing me tight, then she planted a big kiss on the back of my thigh.
I quickly dried my hands and scooped her up.
All the Baby K love!
Thing 1 needed to go to Target, so we three girls had a little road trip. OK, their Target is small, but good. And has some seriously great employees! Super helpful and friendly.

I was meeting YBW at the Mexican joint for dinner, so I left my daughter’s family at six and was sitting down to a big ass bowl of queso about forty minutes later.

First day of showings saw fifteen appointments and three agents contacted ours saying their clients were planning to write offers.
We’ll see how that goes.

Day six of International Week of the Birthday was even more wonderful than I expected!
I got to see two of my friends, my husband at the new house (in the middle of the day no less), spent time with my daughter and granddaughter, did a Target run, and had melty cheese!
I’ll take it!

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day five

My first full day of being fifty looked like YBW and I doing the last minute tidy and clean.

Well, I tidied and cleaned while he organized the garage and junk room in the basement before trimming, and mowing the lawn.

A pleasant break in the middle of the day involved me walking up the street to make sure Meredith and Beau remained safe while their mom went to the doctor. They’re in school two days a week, and learn online three days a week and yesterday was a home day. I was happy to fill in when their dad was called into work unexpectedly.

That evening we celebrated our hard work with a visit to our local Vietnamese joint. YBW was hankering pho ga, and I especially love this lemongrass chicken dish.
Only they’ve changed their menu and out came something not at all like the dish I love. It smelled similar, so I was content.
Until I took the first bite.
I don’t eat dark meat chicken. I understand it’s more flavorful, but for me it’s a texture thing. I literally cannot chew and swallow it.
So yeah…
Honestly, it wasnt that bad. The flavor was good enough, but after swallowing whole chunks of chicken thigh I was quite finished eating, thanks.

But, the house is ready for a shit-ton of randos to come through starting Friday morning.
Please send all the good juju that it sells quickly, I’m ready to to be in our house and feel relaxed and not always trying to check off the next to-do thing.

But, let’s get real, I’ve had worse.
(smirk and a chuckle)

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day four

When YBW asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I made a list.
I mean of course I made a list…

On that list was three things.
1. Meadowlark
2. kebabs
3. 2 Silos

Even though it was cloudy and cool, we spent about two and a half hours at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens.
Here are a few of my favorite shots.

This is lily of the valley, birthday flower of May babies

At the pond

This right here is some Dr Seuss looking tree

Peonies are starting to bloom (big ol’ SQUEE!)

We just came up this path – last shot of the day

Before we left Vienna we stopped in at my favorite bookshop, Bards Alley.
And I ordered kebabs from the Afgan joint we love the most to be picked up on our way home. The sun finally came out so we ate late lunch on the porch.
Then we had beers with Nora and Dale at our local brewery.

It was a VERY Roby sort of day!

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day three

Today is the day!
I’ve been alive and in this world for fifty years. (well, not till 9:13 tonight, but, you know…)
I continue to waffle between something that feels like, “Wow! Fifty!” and “How is this even possible?”

I don’t know what fifty is ‘supposed’ to feel like.
Like, should I feel more ‘grown up’ than I do most days? Because there are some days I find it hard to believe I’m any sort of grown up at all. Then some days I feel one hundred and fifty, so there is that.

Our neighbors hosted an intimate gathering Saturday evening to celebrate YBW’s and my birthdays.
We shared a delicious dinner. Bubbly flowed. As did red wine. Beer made by our friend too. Later in the evening some of us sipped on some pretty rare bourbon.
It was chilly out but we sat by the fire pit and talked into the wee hours.
I can assure you I felt celebrated, y’all. I love these people and they are the sole reason I’m sad to leave this neighborhood.

One couple is already in their fifties, the other in their late thirties.
Our fifty-something friend asked me what I thought about being fifty. What had I learned? What was I anticipating? That sort of thing…

What do I think about being fifty?
First and foremost, it’s simply a number. When I say it’s a number, I mean two things: Woot! I’ve made it to fifty! and Fifty is neither old nor young, it simply is.
I’ve made fifty revolutions around the sun. I gratefully choose to celebrate this. I’ve been here ‘getting along just singing my song’ long enough to learn a thing or two about myself and my place in the world.

What do I think about being fifty?
I think I’m finally at home in my own skin.
I know I’m smarter and more capable than I was told or taught to believe.
I feel strong and confident in my skills as a human.
I am clearly aware of my worth.
I can see value in my strengths, and possibly even more importantly, in my vulnerabilities.
I am as much as, yet also more than, the sum of my parts.

What do I think about being fifty?
I’ve done the hard work of being a mother and now I get to rest on my laurels and joyfully watch my daughters navigate their own lives.
I’ve done the hard work to learn and heal from childhood wounds and now I get to apply that to my daily life.
I accept the choices I made that helped and hindered me becoming the human I am today and I am grateful for all I’ve learned.

What do I think about being fifty?
I’m at an age where I am comfortable with the number of people I choose to have in my life. Some of these people have been with me for more than thirty years, some just in the last ten. But each one is in my world because they bring something beautiful. Each one of them is a part of my heart in real and invaluable ways.
I’m content to let relationships rest. I don’t have to be in constant contact with someone to know the value and power of the relationship. Friendships that pick right up where they left off as though no time passed are sacred and precious. Love is love is love. And the strength and power of that love can survive time apart.

What do I think about being fifty?
I am looking forward to being in a new home with my precious husband! A home we built together, and for each other. The physical manifestation of how our daily life together has become just we two.
I’m eager to explore more opportunities to learn and grow as a human. As a writer. As a photographer. As a mother. As a grandmother. As a wife. As a teacher.

I look at my life on either side of this number and more than anything I feel gratitude. I feel love. I feel empowered.

I’m grateful that every decision I’ve made, good, bad, indifferent, has brought me to this point in my life. I’m grateful to have the ability to make new decisions as I move forward. I’m grateful to have just the right number, but even more importantly, just the right sort of people in my world as I continue my life journey. I’m grateful to honor from where I come as I move forward and continue becoming.

Love is the watchword. Everything I do comes from a place of love. I strive to receive everything in love. Without love I would be nothing. Love is truly the greatest gift.

Empowered. This is a word I’ve used a decent amount in my lifetime, but I’ve not always felt it. I feel it keenly now. I am empowered by the culmination of all my experience, by the enthusiasm with which I look at my future.
I know I can do what I need to do. I know I can do what I want to do.
I know I can.
I can and I will.

Fifty sounds cool.
Like, some sort of leveling up.
My sass and smarts. My joy and pain. My love and gratitude. All sort of becoming more solid somehow.
For what more could I ask on my birthday?

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day two

My darling friend and mentor Jessica sent me the loveliest gift to celebrate my birthday.

The concept of these wishbeads is right up my alley. Something Jessica knows intuitively.
When I called to thank her for this precious and thoughtful gift, I asked her if she knew how much I loved tigers eye.

She assured me she did know, her choice reinforced based on their meaning and her wish for me.
Her wish is contained in the little brass cylinder. A wish that spoke to finding my fierceness.
A wish filled with love from a woman with whom I share a fierce love.

My life would be not only different without Jessica in it, it would be absolutely lacking.
The word gratitude is simply not enough to express the depth and breadth of my feelings surrounding this woman. But currently it’s the only one I have, therefore I will say I’m grateful for Jessica.
And thankful for the lovely gift she sent as I celebrate my International Week of the Birthday.

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IWotB 2021 edition ~ day one

The first day of International Week of the Birthday was also Mother’s Day.

We met Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K at Naked Mountain for a ‘picnic on the mountain’. Lunch of salad, paninis, chips and assorted macarons served with our favorite Naked Mountain wines.
When deciding if we would spend mother’s day together, I asked Thing 1 if she just wanted to be with her little family. She replied, “I have the rest of my life to spend mother’s day with my family. I might not have the rest of my life to spend mother’s day with my Momma.”
Watching my daughter be her daughter’s mother is one of the great joys of my life.

Thing 2 was working hard all day but sent a quick message in our group chat: Happy mother’s day ladies, work is crazy right now but I will find the time to call each of you.

YBW and I were early for our 11:30 lunch reservations after leaving the new house, so we turned right on Leeds Manor and got to (route) 55 just as a train was coming. We went to the same crossing in the tracks where we took some of our wedding photos and I counted the cars as the train went past.
(three engines in front, thirty-eight cars, with an engine in the middle)

On our mini-adventure, we discovered the old Markham station.

I love these eaves!

Across the tracks from the station are these two buildings.

They are obviously currently inhabited, but I suspect during the time in which Markham was an active whistle stop, these were hotels.
(will actively begin research when I finish this post)

I stood on the tracks for a moment after taking this photo. My intention to find a spike. As I moved my head to look down, I said to YBW, “Do you see…” and I trailed off as he gently elbowed me and pointed to a spot about six inches from my left foot.
And there it was just waiting for me, ready to be plucked from where it laid on the tie. As straight as the day it was made, the perfect amount of rust discoloration.
I bent down and picked it up and leaned into my husband as I stood. He put his arm around me and held my close for a moment. I pressed my face to his chest and said, “Thank you for supporting my weird.” He chuckled and kissed the top of my head.

International Week of the Birthday is off to an excellent start!

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Baby K is two!

Monday was the second anniversary of Baby K coming into our world.
Y’all, I’m just as awestruck, just as joyful, just as SQUEE as I was that day.
This little girl is more than I could ever hope for!

YBW and I went out to their house in the early afternoon timing our arrival with her waking from her nap.
Three things happened all at once: Baby K woke kind of grouchy, Aunt Gaga (Thing 2) called, and Papa pulled M&M’s out of his pocket.

When she heard her Auntie’s voice, Baby K was all smiles even though she was grouchy. Then suddenly, she climbed out of her mommy’s lap and ran to her Papa.
I was over there like WTF?
That’s when I realized he bribed her with candy.
Classic grandfather move. (imagine me shaking my fist, while also being slightly amused)

Well, it turns out talking to your Aunt and sharing chocolate with your Papa is just what a grouchy-wake-up birthday girl needs.

Presents were tricky, as she really didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but she loves to rip paper, so it evens out. However, she does rip the teeniest little pieces of paper off stuff, so it takes about forty-seven-thousand (possible exaggeration) separate rips to actually unwrap a gift.
Papa and I solved that problem with gift bags, though she pulls out each piece of tissue one at a time so it’s a similar process. (oh, that girl!)

This backpack was a hit.
She said, “A clue! A clue!”
The moment she got it on her back, she waved and said, “Bye!” before turning and walking to the front door.

That girl was ready to go!
Um…peace out, chicken.

My offspring are notorious for their ambivalence toward cake, and it seems to have carried on to the next generation too. So, instead of cake Baby K had ice cream as her birthday treat! A chocolate shake to be exact. From this delicious little frozen custard place not too far from their house.

How it started:

Where we finally put a stop to it:

Birdie took her straight to the tubby while her Daddy and Papa cleaned the mess, and her Mommy started a load of laundry.

Y’all it was spectacular!
She became one with that ice cream and it was an absolute joy to watch. Even when she splashed it all over the rest of us, we couldn’t help but laugh!

This was Baby K’s second birthday in the time of covid. Even though she didn’t get a big ol’ party, we had big ol’ fun!

My daughter’s daughter is precious and beloved.
I’m grateful she was born.
I’m grateful to celebrate her birthday with her.
I’m grateful to be her Birdie.

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Birdie water is best water, or pros and cons of Baby K living at her own house

Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K came to have dinner with us yesterday.
After hugs and kisses, the first thing that kid did was grab my water and chug it.
Apparently Birdie water is best water.

This lead to a bit of a joke that I’d make a pro and con list about Baby K living at her own house. Throughout the evening, each of the adults would randomly say “Pro” or “Con” and what began as an off the cuff remark became a reality.
Yep, I made a list.

Let me say this before I share it with y’all, my heart has disappointment that I don’t get to see my grandbaby every single day. But, there is a completely new kind of joy in seeing her.
A perfect example: last night, she and I played a game in which she ‘put me to bed’. She placed a pillow on the floor and gently pushed me and said, “Go to sleep.” When I laid my head on the pillow she squatted down and kissed me. Then I pretended to snore. My signal to wake was her tickling my foot. I giggled dramatically and sat up, saying “You tickled my foot to wake me up!”
She laughed and the game started all over again.
At one point her gentle pushes to get me to lie on the pillow became rough and then she was pushing my on my face. I told her, “I don’t like when you push so hard on my face. I will play with you, but please stop pushing me.”
She stopped and looked at me then went around me to point at the pillow and said, “Go to sleep!”
We had an accord.
A bit later I shifted the way my body was ‘sleeping’. I rolled onto my belly and bent my knees, touching my feet together then I fake snored my ass off.
Apparently me moving my body changed the game because she began walking around me going, “Hmm.”
Then she pulled my feet apart and began to climb up my back starting at my bottom. She did this several times, ‘falling’ off me at different places and in different ways.
Her giggles were off the charts, and she was mad as hell when her mommy told her it was time to go home.

Because I didn’t spend the entire day with her I had so much more energy to really play with her!
That is worth every single minute of us living in two different houses. Well, that and the fact that the drive is now forty-five minutes instead of eleven hours.

Here’s my pro and con list.
PROS
things that can be left out and remain safe:
drinks
remotes
reading glasses
pens
notebooks
bookmarks remain in books
(for the most part) everything remains tidy
reading more
doing less laundry
lack of flying food and dishes
folded laundry remains folded
more energy for play

CONS
not hearing toddler feet running down the hall
lack of random hugs and kisses
not having legit excuse for watching a shit-ton of Disney
hearing her say, “Papa”
watching YBW’s face when she says, “Papa”
not playing
not reading to her
not rocking with her before bed
not snuggling
not hearing new words as they come
not watching new skills as they develop
she has to leave to go home
I have to leave to go home

Truth be told, there is more good, more joy, and more opportunity for a new and different sort of closeness because my daughter and her family live in their own house, but I sure do miss receiving random kisses throughout my days.

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