Friday, April 24, 2009

Highlighting the Ups and Downs

Life recently has been full of ups and downs. I don't know why it hasn't gotten the memo that Tami is too old for rollercoasters now, but apparently it missed that one. Overall, I have to say though that the ups are coming along faster than they were . . . thank goodness. I am working hard to see those elusive silver linings as well.

Still twiddling my thumbs without much on my work schedule.
I have done more reading and reorganizing around the house.
I was hired for a new job this week and am up for another one next week.
I have been told that I am getting several new projects once May gets here and they kick in.
I THINK we have enough money to get us through until the new stuff starts. I hope so--I didn't wanna stand on a street corner with a "WILL WRITE FOR FOOD" sign.

My children are all achieving milestones in their lives and I feel O L D.
Nicole is head over heels in love with a sweet boy we are starting to consider a 5th child. Jon has really become a part of our lives and she simply can't break up with him because we'd all miss him now.
Caspian returned from New Hampshire and turned 16 the other day. He vaccilates between adorable and sweet and sullen and silent at the speed of light. Goes with the age.
Coryn turns 13 next week and is campaigning for a laptop that I simply can't afford to get him at this point. Sigh. I will find a way to make the day special anyway.
Joseph has a red letter week, scoring first loads and loads of pine needles and then TONS of grass clippings for his gardening project. Many trips loading, unloading, spreading and rearranging going on. He smiles a lot in the process.

Haven't been able to afford "Rent" tickets yet but I am working on it. "Cats" and "Lion King" are coming next year . . . . do you think people would put money in jars labeled "Tami's Broadway Play Tickets Fund"?
We saw "Grease" last night and it was a truly wonderful performance. Taylor Hicks (from "American Idol") was in it and did a great job. Nicole went up to his afterwards (he was signing CDs) and leaned over to tell him he was gorgeous (he is). He was startled and gave her a great smile. She was beaming. Where did my shy little girl go?

It isn't summer yet.
For three days, it felt like summer here. It renewed our hopes that isn't far away. I got tan in 2 days. I love our deck.

No long summer vacation this year.
Hoping to take lots of short 2 or 3 day trips around Oregon. We have the VW bus, so why not? We figure Nicole wouldn't be able to leave Jon for 2 or 3 weeks straight anyway. She would start to twitch uncontrollably and he would be driving all over the country in search of her. Gosh, those two are sweet.

Ok, that's the ride for now. Come back later, pay for another ticket and I will see if I can get you an empty seat. Unless, of course, life gets my memo . . .. .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sorry for Being M.I.A.

Sorry for the disappearing act there. Sadly, it is not because I am swamped with work . . . . my assignments are slowly picking up but still remain far, far, far lower than any other time since we moved 7 years ago.

So, let's do a catch up on life, shall we? Hope you just nodded or whispered or at last thought "yes". If not, go on to the next blog now.

Starting with the youngest and moving upwards . . . .

Coryn is fine. He will turn 13 in just a couple of weeks and is mighty excited. He has missed his brother, of course.

Caspian returns from his trip TODAY and I am counting the hours. We have all missed him, made worse by the fact that the visit did not go as he had expected and it has made for some tension and unhappiness for all. I am sure he will come home looking much older and wiser and more mature. . . and get this, NOW he likes green beans. Who knew it would take a cross country trip to change his taste buds?

Nicole is great. Still with Jon. Still happy. Heading out this weekend for a Search and Rescue outing. She and I don't get as much time together as we used to, so I take advantage of every minute I get with her. We have done quite a bit of thrift store searching lately and have come up with some awesome clothing to add to her ever growing wardrobe.

Jasmine is . . . I have no idea. I check her blog fairly often but she hasn't posted. I dropped her an email the other day and hope to hear back from it. I do miss her something fierce sometimes. I miss the friendship we once had and just hope that one day, in time, she will think of me as a friend again. In the meantime, we just love her from afar.

I am fine. I have had too much free time on my hands and I don't really like it. I am all caught up on letter writing. I am reading at least a book a week. I am even (gasp) doing housework here and there. I am constantly searching for work and new jobs and have leads on several. I know that the economy will change and I will eventually return to desperately searching for a free moment, so am trying to enjoy this extra time off.

Joseph is well also. He has been working on various and sundry VWs and made some progress there. We are all counting the days until our trip in June to Maupin--our kickoff to the summer and camping fun. Recently, J rearranged the living room for me so that my desk is on the opposite side of the room and I LOVE it. The room seems completely different now. He did a great job.

That's life in the Orr House. Oh yes, we survived Tax Day too. We owed, OF COURSE. But it was less than half of what we owed last year, so that was better. I sent them a mere drop in the bucket . . . .although I was tempted to just send them some Starbuck's coupons instead of a check . . . I swear that Tax Time is the only time of the year when you are THRILLED that you made less money the year before. Anyway, keeping with tradition, we put on our PJs, left the house at 11 pm and drove to the only post office in Portland that was taking returns up until midnight. We sang bawdy, raunchy songs on the way to and from and got ice cream cones on the way home. This year, we didn't have Caspian but we did have Jon and that was fun. He was a nice addition to the tradition.

More soon, I hope. If I don't remember, NAG me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Early Morning Hours

It's almost 4 am and I am wide awake. I think it is because my heart and head are too full for sleeping right now. I am having one of those times in my life where I am intensely aware of my world changing and I want to relish and experience and absorb every minute of it.

My kids are growing up. That is to be expected and it's certanly an ongoing process, but I am aware intermittently of it. Nicole is, for the first time in her life, in love. What FUN it is to watch. She is experiencing things she never has before. She misses him every second she isn't either with him, talking to him on the phone, instant messaging him or texting him. Although those moments are few and far between (smile), they are long ones for her. I can remember being that way . . . where no matter how much you are with someone, it is never enough. When you want to not be more than a few inches from each other for hours and hours on end. Jon has become her favorite topic of discussion and it is a rare moment when his name is not in current conversation. Every song on the radio has new meaning. (REMEMBER that stage???) Love scenes in movies are more relevant. I am honored to watch this relationship. Being in another person's heart and allowing another person into yours is such a cherished time. I am glad she has chosen someone who apparently treasures the experience as much as she does. I know he will handle her carefully.

In less than two hours, we also leave for the airport to take Caspian for his flight across the country to the other coast. For the 5 1/2 hours he will be in the air, I will keep the news on just to make sure there are no accidents. We recently saw the movie "Knowng" which portrays the most horrific plane crash scene I've ever seen and it was lousy timing . . . I know he will have a marvelous time. The people waiting for him on the other end are so excited he is coming. I send him with a happy heart but it's bittersweet. He is taking a girl to the prom and I won't be there to make sure his shirt is tucked in properly or give him last minute dancng advice and that is hard. He has grown so much . . . he is tall and has this deep voice and, just in time for his trip, he has gotten his braces of two years off. He makes us very proud.

Coryn is about to turn 13. THIRTEEN. A teenager. He is taller than I am and has a wicked sense of humor. Recently friends commented on how much he had grown and how the little kid was now a young man. It made me happy . . . mostly.

Today was April Fool's Day. It's a fun day. I've pulled some pretty good pranks on people in the past. I find it a very delicate art though. You don't want to do anything that hurts or scares or disappoints someone. One year I told Joseph I was pregnant when we had a 6 and 3 year old and newborn in the house already. That was amusing. Ask Nicole about chocolate syrup and April Fool's sometime . . . one of my better moments. This time I fooled Coryn that the computer virus had wiped his computer. Then, I helped Nicole concoct a good joke to pull on Jon that went off fairly well. It made her chuckle all day. We all helped from coming up with the idea to paying for it to drivng her to Vancouver and back. On the way, we all had lunch together and did a lot of joking around. At one point, Coryn said, "This family laughs together more than any I've ever seen." He's right--we do. We all have strong senses of humor and can often create quite a scene in places because of how hard we are laughing. Jon hasn't seen that aspect of us yet . . . we are pretty tame when he is around. . . Man, I hope we don't scare him off.

We leave for the airport in 90 minutes so perhaps I will try to close my eyes for just a little while again. I will close, however, with the best April Fool's story ever. Those of you who already know me well, know it, so you can skim right to the end.

Several years ago, my mother called me up and told me that she had gone flying in a World War II plane with a friend. It was an open cockpit plane and she had had an amazing experience. I knew she was going and I was eager to hear all about it. After all, the woman was 75 and I thought it was great that she had the gumption to do this. She then proceeded to tell me that she loved it so much, she was going to get flying lessons. She did her best to convince me she was telling the truth and finally, I just said . . . OK, Mom . . . well, that's great. At this point, she said "April Fool's, honey."

I paused a moment. I grinned. I said, "Mom . . . it's July 1, not April 1."

She paused. Then she said, "Well . . . . sh--."

I started laughing. I heard her say to my Dad, "Jim! It's July, not April". I heard him mutter, "Well, da--".

I laughed so hard, I cried. It was one of the funniest moments in my life.

Today, when I tell that story, I cry too because I miss those people more than I can say. As I said before, life changes. People change. People leave your life and new ones come in. I just want to stay awake enough to appreciate both.