this moment

This moment.

So many feels right now as I capture this moment. I’m not the only one either.

This moment we can’t help but be even more thankful for. This moment we wish that we could have shared with more…side eye at some who might not have bothered to check and perhaps respond to text messages. This moment that just five months ago might not have been possible. This moment that will not be a possibility for a dear, old friend whom we have known for as long as we all have been much too young people having babies. This moment we shake our head in shock that someone we share so much history with is gone. This moment we wonder why his family and why not ours. This moment we cry and share our love because life is just too tenuous. This moment we pray for our dear friend, his amazing wife and his wonderful children.

This moment. This moment we give thanks. This moment we celebrate.

sharing, in moderation

If there is one thing that I enjoy while taking a break is a coke, actually a Coke Zero.

Can you blame me especially when my darling husband adds this bottle to my lunch for work? I’d gladly share but my man has never been known to drink a coke. It’s okay. Still, I would gladly share with anyone:

With Lakisha,

Graciela…

Sue…

Cecilia…

Jessica…

or Isaac…

perhaps even Brittany and Matthew…

then again, maybe not because I would much rather share a coke with Daniel!

Sure it’s not the best thing for me. The two people wearing ER scrubs in line behind me at the hospital cafeteria made it clear just how bad that soda was for me as they loudly passively aggressively congratulated themselves for giving up the evil that is soda while completely ignoring their plates with giant mounds of greasy fries and onion rings. Yes indeed, the soda is a bad, bad thing. The artificial sweetener might give me cancer…if I consume as proportionately as much as a lab rat does. Oh, and the caffeine too although I make no apologies for one Coke Zero during a 12 hour night shift because I do need the caffeine to get through the busy night. One could go on, and perhaps be as colorful as Greg Glassman was recently. Even Daniel understands this as he reads the nutrition label out loud to me.  But he also understands moderation when it comes to diet and sharing mom’s Coke Zero with his name on it is really okay…as long as it is not a daily kind of thing.

Come on, it’s fun…especially when you get to share.

Most certainly when you get to share one with someone who isn’t expecting to ever find their name on a bottle of Coke. Hurray and thank you for my coke connections!

Sharing is caring, y’all…in moderation, but of course!

raw deals and their beautiful disasters

The Fourth arrived and exited as loudly as it often does every year and it was good.

I said it was good.

It was.

It was good.

Of course I still allowed myself a little bit of melancholy because I do sometimes.

My little brother he will always be and like every other person out there who has lost a sibling, I am more than entitled to miss him. He would have been 52 on July 4th but he will forever be 41 just as he will forever be my broken little brother who looked for approval that was never going to come…at least from those he sought after. In retrospect I try not to focus on the raw deal that was most of his life because it was mine too and raw deals seem to run in the family. Sadly, even to the next generation.

My sister’s children  have lived through more than their fair share of raw too. Given that which Val tried to survive through and the choices she made, it’s hard not to be surprised. But her daughter, my niece, proved to be a survivor surviving really the only way one does survive and thrive and that is to break away and cut the ties. My nephew, on the other hand, struggles not to repeat his mother’s life…and ends up repeating it anyway because family ties that chafe and rub your heart as raw as ours have done are pretty hard to cut away, at least not without some pain and damage. Some of us just can’t handle that pain I guess. I know Randy could not. Neither could Val. And, it seems, neither is her son able to right now. His sister, so much like me, tries to help, tries to fix and, like me so many times before, is hurt in the process. Right now, she is hurting a lot because it’s hard to watch her own brother, the one who was the person she practiced on, the person who taught her about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way is hurting and lost to her in a way that she can not fix. I know this hurt. I know it too well times three…perhaps times four. But all I can do is remind her that all that she can really do is just love him…even if it means loving him at arms length, or even miles and miles length because she deserves to heal and her son deserves so much more…much, much more than than the raw deals we have survived.

So, together, although separated by 3,000 miles, we cry a little for the little boys lost that are our brothers…and pray that her brother will, like us both, survive. It’s all that we can do.

I also felt some sadness for my own daughter and her friends. When you’re 21 or 22, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll be going to a funeral for a friend, a classmate but it sometimes happens. I met her friend, Josh, just two days before he died. Standing in line with Abby, Jodie and Daniel to see Inside Out (go see this movie), I hear, “Hello Abigael!” Naturally, I turn as Abby does because I am the only one who calls her Abigael and I must see who is this other person who calls her Abigael. Abby introduces me to a young man with laughing eyes and a warm smile telling me that this is her friend, Josh.

We shake hands and laugh a little together, Josh and I, because we are the only people who call Abby Abigael. Abby and Josh talk a little bit more but soon wave their goodbyes because, popcorn and snacks in hand, we are ready to go see Inside Out while Josh is seeing another movie that night. It’s hard to imagine someone as engaging as this young man seemed that night would be hiding so much pain behind those laughing eyes and warm smile as his but apparently there was much pain; enough pain that he would take his own life. So now his young friends gather at “the Hook” to remember and celebrate their friend, Josh and tomorrow will bury him. And I find myself sad again. Sad for the end of this young man’s life. Sad for his friends. Sad for his family.

Three men. Three beautiful, young men.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they’ll never know how broken you really are.

the Fourth’s top four

On the Fourth, my family circus celebrated Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in our own special way; which I like to imagine is exactly what Thomas Jefferson envisioned when he wrote down those words.

Why should pundits and politicians be the only ones who can know what our Founding Fathers were thinking some 239 years ago?

Am I right?!

Our family circus top four moments on the Fourth are:

Watching Independence Day as we do every year because it makes perfect sense to us to be sitting together and watching this movie. Next year is likely to be different because Independence Day Resurgence…thank you, Roland Emmerich!

Barbecue, swatting flies, trading stories and just generally enjoying the company of family and friends.

Number three is a two=parter because it is.

Prime viewing of our town’s fireworks show. Added bonus not getting stuck in traffic because we are in our neighbors’ backyard.

Lighting our own, although this year The Big Top’s fireworks show was greatly subdued, as was the rest of our neighborhood’s, because everything is brown and dying while we all do our part conserving water during this drought…all of us except that one neighbor on the corner who literally waters his lawn SIX TIMES DAILY!

But, hands down, the top moment of our Independence Day celebration was when this kid swam underwater the width of our neighbor’s pool for the very first time! Absolutely the very best moment!!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ~ Thomas Jefferson

photo dump: triple digits edition

Dear East Coast, I’m sorry you are dealing with all that annoying wet stuff falling from the sky and saturating your neck of the woods. What is it that you call it? Oh, yeah, rain. I think I heard of rain before. I might have even seen it…then again, I don’t know for sure. Perhaps it’s just what I seen on the evening news. Meanwhile we are hot here in the Central Valley and pretty much everywhere on the West Coast. Very hot. Very dry, miserable hot with sticky clouds up above that only offer dry lightning strikes in the mountains because what’s one more raging wild fire right now?

Whatever!

We’re going over to Casa de Scarborough-Jacques because they have a pool and it’s hot…freaking, broiling hot.

Yeah, this will work. This will work out just fine.

At the end of the day the added bonus for Hollie and Ben…

…sleepy water babies.