Life

The Love of a (Great) Grandmother

I love my grandmother like you wouldn’t believe! She’s a strong, hard working, caring person, and I just love her to death. I apparently was a complete shit-head to her growing up because she thought a box of musical “equipment” as we shall call it, for my children, was necessary.

Let’s back up.

Over Christmas break we stayed at my dad’s house for a few days. He has a player piano, the type you put the music in and it plays itself. My father probably knows three songs he can actually play, but the music coming out of the piano is impressive because it plays off the player music you put in.

Talia thinks this is cool as all hell. My dad likes to put her up on the piano bench with him and pretend to play. At 2 am on Christmas Eve, when Talia could not sleep for whatever reason, she decided to start playing the piano at my dad’s. My mother (who is divorced from my father) and grandmother think this is hysterical. Meanwhile, my father and his girlfriend think giving Talia a drum for Christmas is also cool….

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I’m not really sure what I did to deserve this  but I must have been a miserable teenager and didn’t know it because that drum was filled with other musical instruments as well.

Anyway, last week my grandmother is out with my mother and she sees a keyboard. Apparently she thought Talia needed said keyboard, based on her 2 am escapade at my dad’s house.

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Talia LOVES this thing (apparently Tremor thinks it’s cool, too, as you see in the picture.)

Now look at this picture of my grandmother with Talia and Liam. See how innocent this little, old, Italian grandma looks? Don’t be fooled my friends….

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Not to leave anyone out, my grandmother got something for Liam as well. Here’s where life fell apart last night.

Having to work in the morning (yes, I’ve gone back to work, but that is a whole other post), I was less than happy when Liam decided to wake up in the middle of the night and Bill just would not wake up. I climb over Bill and spend a great deal of time trying to get Liam back to sleep. The toy my grandmother bought him is in the crib with him, so I turn it on. It lights up on the “screen” but it also projects an image onto the ceiling for him to stare at. Liam LOVES this. I set the music mode to jungle sounds, and he drifts off to sleep. Success….or so I think.

I leave the timer on 20 minutes thinking it just shuts off like a normal child’s toy. Oh no my friends…..the toy goes off, and then 20 minutes later it comes back on! The picture is back on my ceiling, and the thing is now playing baby freaking show-tunes. Bill is between us, so after I’m startled awake, I now have to climb over a sleeping Marine to get to my kid…and the toy.

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I don’t even have to get the image going the right way for you to see how annoying this is for me.

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Here is the image of Liam’s “friends” on the ceiling. You can see how scary they are, right?

There are at least a dozen buttons and switches on this thing and none of them seem to want to shut the whole thing down. Liam is now awake, and we are back to square one….only now Bill is awake and wants to know why the baby is playing Nintendo. I inform him he’s not helping, the baby is not in-fact playing Nintendo, and Bill rolls over so I can be between them. Once I get the thing shut off, Liam doesn’t want to go back to sleep until I get that stupid image of those smug looking cartoons back on the ceiling. ARGH! Dogs are also now awake and wanting to know what is happening, so they all start rotating on and off the bed.

This whole thing carries on for well over an hour. By the time everyone is asleep and happy, my alarm clock goes off. I honestly thought about calling my grandmother at one point, and just giving Liam the phone to scream into. I don’t want her to miss out on all the excitement since she started this whole thing in the first place. (I’m totally kidding, though she has a cell phone now and can’t work it. It would be a wasted call.)

Thankfully there was a counterbalance in the mail today. I was able to sign both kids up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. As if we need another reason to love Dolly, she has a program for children through age 5 to receive an age appropriate book every month, free of charge. When Talia was born, our zip code did not qualify, but just before Liam came, our zip code was included, so I signed them both up! Talia has received a few books, and Liam got his first one today! Talia came running and sat down as soon as I started reading!

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As you can see, he thought this was pretty cool! We’ve read it a few times, and I’m sure we will be reading it a lot more before the next book comes. He also got a lot of great books for Christmas, so he won’t be tired of any one book anytime soon!

I’m off to try and get some sleep to make up for the escapades last night. Right now I have the toy in the crib, with the directions close by! The moral of the story…be nice to your parents and grandparents because payback comes in the form of musical instruments and

Military Spouse Life

Wear Sunscreen (And Other Things I Need to Teach My Daughter)

I happen to be a product of the class of 1999 (High School).

1999 was the year Baz Luhrmann wrote a song to the class of 1999, which became our anthem, and he instructed us about life and the importance of wearing sunscreen.

Now a mother, I have instructions of my own. As I lay in bed last night, the song popped into my head for whatever reason, and I began to think of all the things I need to teach Talia.

Dear Talia,

Here is a list, which is probably never going to be complete, of all the things I want you to know. They are in no particular order. The list from the Sunscreen song is also applicable. Please don’t forget about the sunscreen!

  • Love all animals.
  • Adopt your pets. Don’t buy them from a breeder. Too many pets need homes and are stuck in a shelter waiting for you.
  • Never let your gas tank go below 1/4 tank. You never know when you’re going to be stuck in traffic.
  • Read every day.
  • Go to college, but remember: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Anonymous, although often credited to Albert Einstein
  • Do not get married in your early 20’s.
  • It’s okay to wait until your 30’s to have children. Your father and I were 31 and 33 when we had you. We weren’t ready until now.
  • When you find “the one,” treat him (or her) right.
  • Spend a year in NYC.
  • Embrace the fact you live in the greatest country in the world, but remember where you came from. You are first and foremost an American, though you need to remember you are also Italian, English, Irish, and German.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  • Work hard. Always.
  • Own your own business, but be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined you could.
  • Give back to your community.
  • Tithing is important. Even if you do not give directly back to your church, support things like animal welfare, efforts to fight homelessness, and illiteracy, etc.
  • Support our troops.
  • Send “Thank you” notes.
  • Don’t read glamour magazines.
  • Don’t pay attention to Hollywood.
  • Do what makes you happy.
  • Stay off of social media.
  • Know your mommy and daddy love you more than anything in the world and will always be proud of you.
  • Read the classics.
  • Try not to read a book more than once. There are too many books to read in a lifetime as it is.
  • Study the US Constitution.
  • Visit Washington DC.
  • Brush your teeth more than you need to.
  • Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Embrace mental illness.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Take vitamins.
  • Trust God. Love God. Embrace God.
  • Eat dessert first.
  • Stay away from drugs. They are a waste of time.
  • Do things you are uncomfortable with, so you c an grow.
  • Set goals, but know they may change at a moments notice. This is okay.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Embrace Ice Hockey!
  • If you want something, go after it. Also, if someone else can help you, it can’t hurt to ask!
  • Learn to drive in snow. Also, learn to walk on ice.
  • Do not ever smoke…anything.
  • Do not care or worry about what others think.
  • Dance.
  • Sing.
  • Know how to fire a gun.
  • Know how to clean a gun.
  • Know when each is appropriate.
  • Learn to cook. Remember, you don’t have to follow a recipe. Just go with it.
  • Give 110% to everything you do.
  • Never, ever give up!
  • Save money. Buy a house. Don’t rent.
  • Pay cash for your vehicle.
  • Save more money.
  • Forget about makeup. You’re beautiful!
  • Learn about investing.
  • Take LOTS of photographs.
  • Call your grandfather every week.
  • If you have children, give birth naturally.
  • Try yoga.
  • This list is not complete.

Love ALWAYS,

Mom

P.S. Here is the song referenced above. Listen to it….

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
Until they’ve faded but trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back
At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

Don’t worry about the future
Or know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you

*Sing Chorus*

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t
Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees
You’ll miss them when they’re gone

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the ‘Funky Chicken’
On your 75th wedding anniversary
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

*Sing Chorus*

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young
Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you, too, will get old
And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Don’t mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it’s worth

But trust me on the sunscreen

*Sing Chorus*

Read more: Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Military Spouse Life

Settling In

Mommyhood, Day 13:

Talia will be 2 weeks old tomorrow and I’m trying to figure out how to slow down time. Everyone keeps telling us to enjoy this time because they grow up too fast. I can see that. I wish I could change it.

Since I can’t, I’ll do my best to enjoy it all. Talia sleeps A LOT right now, so I am anxious for her to be a little older so we can all do stuff together. In the meantime, I’m reading more than I have in the past, and getting more writing done!

I did start reading The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius. The book so far is talking about creativity and how to measure creativity. It’s absolutely fascinating! I was hoping the book would help me with my research for my own book, but instead it has me asking more questions and wanting to know more about how the brain works and what defines creativity and what defines genius. The most interesting part of the book (so far) is where the author has first hand accounts of known genius’ (i.e. Mozart) talking about their creative process. To hear how he thought in his own words was fascinating!

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This is what the book looks like, if you’re interested. I was able to start the book on Saturday while my good photographer friend started doing Talia’s newborn photo’s.

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It took about four hours, and I’m glad Selena and I are friends, because Talia urinated and defecated on her, the props, the blankets, and basically everything she touched. She did NOT want to go to sleep at all. Several times, daddy had to step in and sooth her. She is absolutely my (Sicilian) daughter!

In the end, she did get some great shots, and I can’t wait for all the pictures to come back!

I then was able to continue reading while Bill got his hair cut. This is not normally something I’d share, but as I sat there with Talia waiting for him, I knew as a writer, I had to share. The place where he gets his hair cut is a goldmine for writers.

It’s called “Ed’s Barber Shop” and it sits in a semi abandoned strip mall. The owners are trying to bring it back to life, but the only worthwhile place in there is the Barnes and Noble. Most of the stores are empty, even though it is at a busy intersection with a great anchor store. Apparently, Ed’s has been there longer than Bill and I have been alive. Directly next door is a Supercuts, though this doesn’t seem to be a problem for Ed’s. As I sat there reading, I noticed a steady stream of customers flowing in and out of the door. Customers came in and sat in one of the old plastic chairs which seemed to be from a left over school auction. They were greeted by the staff and promptly sat down, waiting for their turn in the old metal chairs with the original leather. They must be from the early 60’s.

The rest of the fixtures appear to be the originals as well. Old wooden cabinets with mirrors starting to cloud. On one wall sits several taxidermy heads protruding over the cash register. There are no hair products for sale, no up to date fashion magazines, and the hair dryers were clearly left over from the 80’s. It doesn’t matter though, Bill enjoys going there. Sure there are no plush comfy chairs to sit in, no head rinse stations for a quick hair wash, and you can’t buy overpriced shampoo made to smell like botanical gardens, but who cares? Ed must be doing something right, because the chairs are always full, and the customers are clearly repeats.

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It’s one of those places I really hopes survives. I would much rather see a small business owner succeed, than the giant next door with the corporate logo and shiny new floors.

Anyway…

Because our school has decided to split semesters into 7 week courses (you take either two or three and then two or three more instead of four to six over 16 weeks) we are about to end the first set of classes for this second half of the year. I’ve managed to hold a 100% in my Creative Writing class so far, but I have one more assignment to hand in today, so I best get on it.

Ciao for now!