Posts Tagged With: YBW

summer gratitude

As we move into fall, I’m thinking about everything that filled my heart with joy this summer, and y’all, that list is long!
I have so much to be grateful for!

June:
sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six weeks
seeing Amber for the first time since March
date day with Mike and Josie
Describe the Night at the Woolly Mammoth (last play of the season)
impromptu trip to Williamsburg with Mike and Josie
two of my three alternative health care providers
dinner with Nora and Dale

July:
porchlife

all three of my alternative health care providers
dinner with Meredith and Beau’s family
celebrating Nora’s birthday (she and Thing 2 are birthday twins)
Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, and Baby K here!
pedis with my girls
Spending the day with Thing C and Girlfriend L
drinking bubbly with my girls
Bubbly & Baby party to celebrate Baby K being in our world
2 Silos with YBW, Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica
stopping cocktails on the way to the airport with Thing 2

August:
Thing 2 and Baby K here for two more weeks
model home tours
porchlife

going away party to celebrate Mike and Josie’s college bound daughter
all three alternative health care providers
Good Eats: The Return
drinking beer, cracking crab legs and peeling shrimp at Blue Ridge

the never ending road trip with Thing 1 and Baby K
seeing Thing 2 and Boyfriend J during a pit stop in Columbia
spending the second day back to school day drinking with Holly
shoot day with YBW
discovering Natty Boh with YBW
Vampire Weekend
YBW’s bestie from high school here with his fam
Nat’s game (Tony hit two dingers!)
finishing my paper

September looks like it’s starting out slow, but that’s fine by me, I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning the journey is where it’s at. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I’m all about ‘getting there’.)
I’ve already got some stuff on the calendar for next week, but I’m curious to see what pops up.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with YBW as we move into Autumn.
Ready to make new so many new reasons to be grateful!

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an ‘outrageous’ shoot day

Saturday was a shoot day!
YBW and I took our cameras to Medowlark Gardens in Vienna.

The weather was glorious, sunny and breezy with temperatures between 77 and 82. The perfect respite to the summer heat we’ve been experiencing.

We went through the woods.

Around the spiral path to the gazebo.

Where the plants were gathered together to attract pollinators.

Down to the first (of three) ponds.

At the second pond.

I’m not sure how long we actually wandered the park, but I do know that when we left, we were both ready for lunch, so off we went to Red’s Table.

We sat on their porch overlooking the lake.
A cocktail for me, and locally brewed draft beer for YBW.
The view was beautiful.
The people watching was fascinating.
The food was lovely.

The server smiled at me and said, “Your hair is outrageous!”
I smiled and touched my hair and he left to put in our order.
I looked at YBW and said, “Outrageous?”
YBW assured me the server meant it as a compliment.
I actually agreed, but it landed so awkwardly in me.

I let my freak flag fly that day by washing my hair and letting it do its thing. It’s always a crap shoot, as I never know if I’ll end up rocking messy romantic waves, or look like I recently escaped from Azkaban.
I was fearful I had Azkaban hair because we’d been driving with the windows down.
I took a picture of myself to see what the server saw.

I’m over here like, Um…that’s just my hair, dude.

So I googled the word outrageous and here’s what I got:

I’m going with the second definition, if you please.

Anyway, it was a wonderful shoot day!
I love being behind the lens. I love being in the out of doors with my precious husband.
As we move into Autumn, I’m looking forward to more shoot days!

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little surprise for me

YBW brought in the mail the other day and stood at the kitchen island opening it.
A moment later, he handed me this:

Yes, I squealed!
Yes, I clapped like a little girl!
Yes, I jumped up and down while I did it!

What a sweet surprise!
And I was surprised!
I asked him if he wanted to go with me to see them and he declined. He texted me from his office the day they went on sale asking if I wanted him to buy tickets, I declined. I didn’t want to drag him to see a band he’s only mildly interested in.
Turns out he had other plans.

I’ve adored Vampire Weekend since their debut album in 2008!
They remain in constant rotation in my music.
I’m so excited!

What a thoughtful gift from my husband.
He knows what I love and he wants me to be able to have as much of it as I can.
His kindness never ceases to amaze me.
I’m so grateful. Not just for this lovely gift, but for him simply being himself.

What a wonderful way to end the Summer!

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a strange and unusual international week of the birthday

It’s International Week of the Birthday!
I honestly didn’t realize it was IWotB until yesterday when I received a gift from my darling friend and mentor, Jessica!

This beautiful glass globe has a tiny round opening on one side designed to insert small pieces of paper. The idea is to write a wish or some gratitude and insert it into the globe.

A physical reminder to pay attention to hope and examples of my thanks.
What a beautifully loving, and thoughtful gift.
Jessica knows what’s up!

When Birdie gets a birthday gift, Baby K gets a new bow!

Y’all, I am chock so full of hope and gratitude I might run out of little papers to write it!

YBW comes tomorrow! Thing 1, Husband N and I are all smiley and clappy about that!
(I love that my daughter and her husband are just as excited as I am to see my precious husband!)
Baby K didn’t quite understand why we were so joyful so we assured her that her Papa YBW is someone to be excited about!

My birthday is mother’s day this year. Thing 1 and I have talked about making sure to celebrate equally my birthday and this, her first mother’s day. She wants us all to go to the plant farm and out to dinner on Saturday. (the place she wants to go isn’t open Sunday) Then Sunday we’ll go to the the next big town where there’s a decent Mexican joint where we can celebrate each all over again!

This year International Week of the Birthday is much different than it’s been in the past. But I feel extremely fortunate to be able to be with my daughter as she negotiates this new strange and unusual time in her life. I love watching her learn to be a mommy to her own daughter. What a beautiful mother’s day gift for me to actively participate in this moment in her life.
I’m all about my birthday birthday! I’ve never liked when my birthday fell on mother’s day.
But this year, I’m embracing them as one.
I mean, come on. If I was never born, I couldn’t be a mom. And if I wasn’t a mom, I’d be missing out on this wonderful time with my daughter and her daughter.

It’s a strange and unusual IWotB…but after all:

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Baby K

Thing 1 called me late last week with some pretty spectacular news.
Her baby is a GIRL!
Y’all I will readily admit to squealing with joy!
And I mean squealing!


I’m over here like Kay Thompson, singing, ‘Think pink when you shop for summer clothes!’
But, I’m respectful of my daughter’s choice to not inundate her child with gender specific colors. Honestly, I don’t give a damn what color she decides to love.
However, I’ll see to it she has some baby-size pink Chucks for sure!

Interestingly enough, we had a conversation earlier that week in which she shared the girl name they settled upon.
I’m already working on her monogram.

Off the cuff, YBW referred to her as Baby K and I knew it would be her name here in my nest.

Baby K is at her halfway point as of Christmas Eve.
She’s expected the second week of May. Just in time for my birthday.
Now, I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I am all about my birthday. But perhaps I could share that day with my first grandbaby…
My birthday is Mother’s Day this year. What a treat it would be for me to share a birthday with my first granddaughter, and for Thing 1 to become a mommy on Mother’s Day!
Stay tuned, y’all!

Thing 1 sent sono-pics of Baby K.
I think she looks a bit like baby Groot in this one.

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learning to love New Orleans

New Orleans.
We were there for six days over the beginning of August.

You may find yourself asking: The bayou in August?
Yep.
And to be quite honest, it was actually hotter in VA while we were there, and the humidity was similar enough that we almost didn’t notice.

New Orleans seemed a magical place, and I was curious.
I’ve read loads of stories set in this city. I’ve heard loads of stories from travelers to this city. Seen many a film set in this city.
What was lovely about going at this time is that the city is celebrating it’s 300th anniversary!

Not to mention the first week of August is their jazz festival.
And the first Saturday of August is their annual white linen art walk.

Here’s what I discovered about New Orleans, it’s pretty much like Charleston, or Savannah.
Only dirtier. And louder.
Initially I was a bit turned off.
But, I came away with a genuine affection for New Orleans.
I would honestly like to visit again, and even stay in the French Quarter, just not half a block off Bourbon Street.
Who knows, perhaps with more time spent, I’ll love it the way I do Savannah and Charleston!

Beautiful courtyard breakfast each morning at Hotel Mazarin.

Fascinating people watching on Bourbon Street.
This was more a YBW thing than a Robynbird thing. My senses were a bit overwhelmed with the noise and scents. But once I adjusted to the chaos, I was able to find entertainment in it. YBW took loads of photos on Bourbon Street, even had beads thrown at him for his efforts! I spent most of my ‘behind the lens time’ in other places.

Wandering the Garden District in the rain. (was super-New-Orleans-gothic-romantic)

Riding the streetcar was actually one of my favorite things we did.

We rode the St. Charles Ave and Canal lines.
A delightful mix of tourists and locals all trying to get from one place to another. I honestly loved everything about the streetcar experience. Even the slightly-mad-completely-drunk-probably-homeless man who chatted us up on the way to the White Linen Walk. The smell coming off him was honestly something I have not the language to describe. He was ‘in your face’ but not disrespectful or belligerent, but I was relieved when he exited the car only two stops after we got on. YBW said, “That’s why this seat was empty when we got on.” Y’all, he ain’t lying!

Jazz at Satchmo Summer Fest

and with Second Hand Street Band at 21st Amendment Bar

The cemeteries. (My GOD, y’all! The cemeteries!)

White Linen Walk in the Arts/Warehouse District. I have no photos of this because it was more tightly packed than I expected. It was fun, but a bit of a let down. Though I do love wandering through galleries, and there was some unbelievably beautiful art to be seen. We drank a bit and walked along Julia Street before we zipped past the Central Business District and through Lafayette Square to our next destination.

A funky-fun and beautifully entertaining burlesque show.

Bella chatted us up before the show and was absolutely lovely! Though at the time, I didn’t’ realize who she was. Later on when I was a bit tipsy, I leaned into YBW and said, “How precious is she? When we were talking about how her gloves were missing rhinestones I didn’t realize she was the Queen of us!”
Y’all, she may be the Queen of that show, that venue, those folks, but she was a lovely girl and I enjoyed the time we spent with her!

We ate so much ridiculously delicious food. (from classic fried shrimp po boys, to the finest Creole cuisine, from dive diners, to the place that invented bananas foster)
If I thought it would make the trip, I’d mail-order a Parasol’s po boy once a week!
What’s lovely about well prepared food is the serving sizes. So you can more frequently eat smaller, rich, delicious meals. This is guiding me to rethink the way we eat ’round here.

Cocktails. (French 75 is to die for!)

I will never turn down a delicious cocktail!

We even joined a Second Line on the way to dinner one night!

When we went out the Canal streetcar line, we discovered the Katrina Memorial.
This is a damn resilient city filled with some damn resilient folks!

We shopped.
We drank.
We ate.
We walked and walked and walked.
We laughed.
We kissed and held hands in the street.
We got sunburned.
I got bit by fire ants.
I’m so pleased I got to spend time in “America’s Most Interesting City” with my beloved.

New Orleans is brash and loud. It’s a bit trashy.
New Orleans is beautiful and romantic. It’s filled with hidden delights.
New Orleans has a great big beating heart. It is tenacious af!
Writing this post made me love it even more.
I’m looking forward to when I’ll return.

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celebration of a beautiful life

We laid YBW’s precious mother to rest yesterday with one of the most beautiful funeral services I’ve ever attended.

Her grandsons, Thing C and Thing G, and Nephew J welcomed us all and thanked us for coming to celebrate the life of their grandmother.
Pink and white carnations (her favorite flower) and family photos as far as the eye could see. Friends and family together to celebrate the life of this quiet, lovely woman who raised two kind and loving men.
Both her sons spoke of her with such adoration.
It was one of those rare experiences when every wonderful thing being said about the deceased was the absolute truth. We daughters in law also spoke and here’s what I shared:

“When I set about to find the words I would share as prelude to YBW, I knew it must be somehow related to stars. The first thing that came to mind was lyrics written by Joni Mitchell.

We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

And then I remembered The Little Prince:

All men have stars but they are not the same things for different people.
For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides.
For others they are no more than little lights in the sky.
For others, who are scholars, they are problems.
But all these stars are silent.
You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them.
In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night.
You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!
And when your sorrow is comforted (for time soothes all sorrows), you will be content that you have known me.
You will always be my friend.
You will want to laugh with me.

Thing G suggested we need an observatory from which to see the stars and I stopped for a moment. Because he reminded me of a Hebrew word I love.
Mizpah
The original meaning is watchtower.

But, mizpah has a more commonly understood meaning in the modern world:
a strong emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance, or death

Mizpah is a sacred blessing:
The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.

Think about that for a moment.

Let it fill you completely.

For whatever star dear E is laughing from, we are content to know her, we are always her friends, we will continue to laugh together.
And we have Mizpah, the ancient word of inspiration and protection.”

Thing 2 wrote the following in response to my request for her opinion:

Wow. You could not have written (or quoted) better words. I read it in your voice. I know that it will bring everyone comfort and peace. Those boys and their families/loved ones are blessed to have you in their world.

I think we’re all blessed to share the same world.

After the service, everyone came back to our house where we celebrated each other with love and laughter, and a fair amount of wine. YBW’s and his brother’s friends, our sister in law’s siblings, friends of mine, our neighbors, even Thing C’s closest friends he’s had since middle school.
I feel as though I’ve been going at a full-tilt boogie since Tuesday last. I kept saying, If I can just get through Wednesday.
In this time, we lost a beloved woman. Celebrated YBW’s birthday. Planned and executed a beautiful funeral service. Fed and wined friends and family.
Today after school, I cleaned the mess I couldn’t handle last night. I did dishes. I moved flowers to every possible place in this house. I returned borrowed items.
Tomorrow YBW and I are playing hooky. We’re both going to skive off work to spend the day together in celebration of his birthday Friday last, and mine Saturday two days from now.
As excited as I am to spend the day in DC, honestly, I just kind of want to sleep for a really long time. It’s been a hell of a week and I’m worn slap out.

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our revels now are ended

My precious husband has joined me in the least cool club on the planet.
The Orphan Club.
We are adult children with no living parents.
Please send him healing love.

YBW’s darling mother died quietly in her sleep Wednesday afternoon. She was 87 and lived a life full of love and joy. In her last few years, she suffered with CHF (congestive heart failure) and her health declined rapidly in the last six weeks.

Today we went about dealing with the business of death. YBW, his brother and his wife, and I met with the funeral director and cemetery personnel. I used my mad organizational and list making skills to plan and coordinate. It’s my way of being helpful.

Tomorrow is YBW’s birthday.
We’re keeping our plans for dinner with friends in the evening, and celebrating with his boys Saturday afternoon. He deserves to be celebrated in the midst of our grief.

He is brave and strong, even though he doesn’t feel like he is. I watch him. I see what he experiences written on his face, in his body language. He is exhausted. He is anxious. But he is grounded in the love of friends and family. And he is grounded by me.

Our family is feeling quiet in our grief, but the love coming at us is truly overwhelming in the most beautiful way.

I am reminded of Prospero’s words in The Tempest:

You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
Yes, indeed.

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What IS the appropriate idiom in this situation?

Yesterday my computer bought the farm.
Is that idiom even appropriate in this situation? I think not.
Honestly, I’d be better off saying my computer committed suicide.
Just up and died. Couldn’t even be bothered to leave a note.

The Pythons in my brain did an entire sketch about it.

“‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This computer is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-COMPUTER!!”

(Now that’s a load of idioms!)

To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Have y’all heard the expression “I’m about as frustrated as a crackhead without a lighter.”? Yeah…that was me.

Everything was lost. Every. Single. Thing.
All the words I’ve written in the last how-ever-many years.
All the music I’ve spent my lifetime accumulating.
All the photos I’ve taken in the last six years.

I was actually planning to back up all my stuff but my external hard drive is still filled with music for Thing 2 and I thought I had time…
A Willow quote comes to mind. “Irony’s kind of ironic that way.”
Even though this isn’t really irony.

I felt like Carrie Bradshaw.

My precious husband immediately stopped what he was doing and devoted his entire day to trying to suss out what he could salvage. Seriously y’all, that sweet man spent the whole damn day trying to rescue my photos, writing, and music.
I got after researching new computers on my ipad (mini).
A couple hours later, he was feeling pretty confident that he’d been able to get my documents and music, and was seeing what he could do to recover my photos.
HOORAY!
The day was saved…thanks to…the Powerpuff Girls!

No no no!
The day was saved…thanks to…YBW!

I then presented him with a couple laptops I thought I’d like. With a little ‘computer guru’ advice and some tweaking of what I thought I wanted, we narrowed it down to a choice of three. Braving the frigid temperatures, we went to Micro Center. Turns out after typing on all three, the one I thought I most wanted was the I liked least. (Y’all hear Willow’s voice again too, right?)

Today, I have a brand spanking new laptop upon which I will load and edit pics. And write. And listen to tunage. And read. And learn. And create. And shop. And all the other very Robynbird stuff.

YBW decided it wasn’t worth trying to see if he could reboot the old one.
Whole lotta “Bye Felicia.” going on there.
RIP Toshiba.

Dell, I think this is the beginning…well, y’all know the rest…

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flying by the seat of your pants

Here’s a random thing I like about YBW: his ability to fly by the seat of his pants. That’s isn’t a trait I’m especially good at and he’s teaching me how to…be inclined to try it. Isn’t that fortunate? Flying by the seat of your pants isn’t as anxiety inducing when you’ve got somebody holding your hand.

Yesterday we went out with the plan of visiting a (new to us) winery, with the possibility of stopping to take photos as we might be moved.
Turns out we had old information because when we pulled up to the vineyard, the gates were locked and a sign told us the hours of operation were Friday – Saturday – Sunday 11 to 5. So much for open daily 11 to 5.

In that moment we had a choice.
Let disappointment suck the air out of our sails, or quickly regroup and come up with a plan.
When I suggested we go to “our” winery, YBW asked if I really wanted wine. Not so much.

So we drove along route 55 for a while and found this abandoned barn.

Only this farm wasn’t abandoned, it was just dilapidated. It was actually home to some cows, and a (fairly) modern tractor was parked near the fence.

Since we were nearly there and neither of us had recollection of ever actually being there, we decided to check out Front Royal to see what the little town had to offer.
We ate a yummy lunch before wandering Main Street. It was mostly antique shops, but we had fun. You never know what you’re going to find.
I bought an old glass phone line insulator.

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll do with it, which should always be the first step in purchasing something you don’t really need. But I love the color of it. The history. The fact it has the company name on it.
It’s probably just something that will need to be dusted, but I don’t care. I wanted it. And I spent less than $20 from my babysitting money to own it.
(Is it funny that a grown ass woman talks about her babysitting money? Yeah, it kind of is. But two of my sweetest friends both celebrated their wedding anniversaries the end of June and needed someone to look after their children.)

Anyway, my sweet husband and I had a lovely day together just flying by the seat of our pants.

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