The 20-year reunion

I have been informed that my 20-year high school reunion will be in September of this year.

We had a mini-reunion at a sports bar for everyone who attended my school around the same year (not necessarily graduating the same year) about 10 years ago.  I went to that, but I just stayed at the bar and talked with the others who didn’t want to have real conversations.  Then I left early.

I haven’t decided if I am going to go to this shindig.  High school, and especially middle school, wasn’t anything to celebrate.  I am “friends” on Facebook with a lot of my classmates, but I have most of their settings set to acquaintances.

I’m still the same person I was back then, but now I just don’t care if someone thinks I am dorky, nerdy, weird, too short, too goody-goody (well, maybe that one doesn’t apply so much anymore), my clothes aren’t cool enough, too earthy, or any other reason I was picked on.  It didn’t help that my body didn’t go through puberty until I went to college.  Not only was I in the “weird” clubs, dressed like it was a different decade, and my mother worked at my school–but I looked years younger.  Boys weren’t exactly trying to get my number.  Below is a high school picture from the 90’s- Mom made that outfit, and I loved it- some type of one piece pants/jumper deal.  They were very popular at the time!  I wish I had a picture of the entire outfit, because it was interesting.

9th

My quote in the middle school yearbook is, “I love going to ballet class every day after school.”  I’m not kidding.  The accompanying photo showed me wearing an awesome faded denim jacket with a shirt with pointe shoes on it.  It was true- I did love ballet, and I went every day after school.  Ugh….the huge thick glasses and braces also added to the equation of miserableness in school.

ballet

I try to convince myself that I wasn’t that awkward or laughed at for being me…. Man, kids are brutal.  I remember begging my mom to home school me, but we needed the two incomes.

I did get to see a childhood friend at a WVU football game this past year, and that went really well.  It was nice to catch up since high school, although I wish we were in a better place to talk.  The Blue Lot at WVU during pre-game tailgating isn’t the best for long lost friends.  The parking lot even has its own facebook page, which is where I found the photo.

the blue lot

Back to my previous educational establishment…I’m still contemplating my attendance at the reunion.  High school was rough, and middle school just sucked.  I’m sure it did for most everyone, but I haven’t decided if I want to visit those memories again in person.

The Happy News Book

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In January of 2012, I started a new concept of personal reflection.  I call it my “Happy News” book, and it just consists of writing down three to five positive things that happened each day.  I will admit that I have had days where it is difficult to write three positive things.

For example, “took a walk” in November, 2012.  It must have been a rough day for me for some reason.  I also found this doozy from March 2012, “Today is Friday and my boss is out of town- so that is good”.

I also ran across some that refer to my friends at the CLC.

Aug 2012- “Went to the Aquarium with the CLC Veterans.  Had a great time.  Mr. S. knew the name of almost every fish!”

May 2013- “Mr. W. said that he used to have a little sailboat and sail in the harbor when he was a teenager in the 1930’s.”

I have kept a journal since I was in the fifth grade.  That is when my mom gave me her copy of “The Diary of Anne Frank” to read.  I immediately found an empty journal and started writing my own thoughts onto paper.  That book was such an inspiration, and I am very thankful that her Father had it published.  I still have every journal, and it is pretty adorable to reread as an adult.  Well, except my middle school years- they were pretty rough.  Those were not that adorable to read.

Changing my journals to positive/good/happy news books has made me look for those parts of my day.  When you have a journal, it is easy to beat yourself up with your writing.  It is easy to start a downward swirl of self-loathing/pity/depression.  Always writing about your problems or negativity.

I am around enough sadness, that I knew actively looking for the beauty in each day would help me keep balance.  So far, it has worked!  I started to see a shift in where I saw the beauty in my day.  It shifted to noticing happiness and joy others experience.  I would write that it was a great day for me because Mr. S. was able to walk down the hallway today.

It wasn’t that I was self-absorbed before, this new way of keeping a journal just allowed me to see my personal growth a different way.  It was a surprise when I noticed the trend, a happy surprise.

 

 

Writing Obituaries

Being from the South, I have read some pretty impressive obituaries.  I like when it shows the person’s personality, and I can imagine how they were.  I have a book that I keep the obituaries of the residents who I spent time with at the CLC.   Having them in my life, no matter how short, means a lot to me.  It is nice to look back and read about them.

I think that obituaries should make you smile while you read them.  You know, having them mention facts about the person that makes you say, “I bet they would have been cool/funny/awesome to have known!”

Many of the men I have met are either estranged from their family or do not have any family living.  Due to this, their obituaries are usually lacking in honoring them.  One sweet friend, who I named this blog after, had such a vibrant and interesting life, and his obituary was only one line.

One line to honor such a lovely, funny, and educated man.  It really broke my heart to read.  I wish that I could have written one for him.

Making Home Social Visits

Yesterday evening, I went on a visit with Mary and Donna (who are in their 60’s).  Mary was visiting her first cousins, who are sisters.  We had to pick up one sister, Helen, and we were off to her sister’s house.

I didn’t grow up around Italian-Americans, so I am not used to the constant yelling, nagging, and general loudness.  The two sisters are in their 80’s, and one still drives.  I am not sure if she should still drive though, and she yells at you if you mention it.   I recently moved into an extremely Italian community, and I am not used to it yet.  The Virgin Mary and Jesus are everywhere.  Everywhere.

As soon as we pull up to Mary Ann’s house, she comes out and immediately starts berating her older sister.  This lasted for the ten minutes it took to get in the sitting room.  The entire three hours were hilarious and oddly sweet.  The two sisters have dyed auburn hair, and wear huge diamonds and jewels on every finger.  It reminded me of a movie.

Here are a few gems from the evening,

  • “Oh, I love that Usher.  I just love Usher.” -We were talking about The Voice (which I have not watched), and Mary Ann apparently loves Usher.  A lot.
  • “Donna, those shoes are sexy! I can’t wear my wedgies anymore because my feet are swollen.  Why do they do that? I miss my heels.” – Mary Ann’s comment when seeing Donna’s summer wedge heeled shoes.  She pronounced it as, Wedge-ees.
  • “No, I eat frozen dinners and frozen pizza, but that isn’t a problem.” – Mary Ann’s comment when asked if she eats a lot of sodium referring to the above comment about her swollen ankles.
  • “Everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere.  I don’t know where they think they are going.” – Helen talking about people’s behavior this day in age.
  • “He wanted to hire me as his Secretary, but I told him that I don’t type and I don’t know shorthand.  He said that he was hiring me anyway because I knew his wife and girlfriend, and I knew how to keep my mouth shut.” – Mary Ann referring to her boss of 40 years in New York City.
  • “Helen, No! Don’t start this confusion shit. G.D. Helen.” – Mary Ann  yelling at her sister when she was admitting being confused.  I think she shows signs of early dementia, and her sister was having none of it.  Almost like if she yelled at Helen about it, she would stay on top of things and not be diagnosed with it.

I laughed the entire time I was there, and I am ready to go again soon.  I think Mary Ann spoke so much that the remaining four of us only said a handful of words during the entire visit.  Can you tell that she was holding court in the sitting room?