Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm 40. And 1 Day.

I know I promised to not obsess, and really - I'm not - but I thought since I tortured you all through the process of turning 40, I'd at least let you see that I'm hanging in there.  I haven't broken a hip yet, my hair is still pink and I have all my teeth except the ones I voluntarily let be removed in order to augment the orthodontist's needs.

I had a really nice day yesterday.  The boys were extra sweet, they gave me a gift certificate for a spa pedicure at my favorite salon and made me my favorite kind of cake.  Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed Donuts.

My request

They took me to Wasabi, a local Japanese Steakhouse for dinner and we pigged out on steak and shrimp and all the goodies that go with it.

Dr. SmartyPants arranged it all, of course, and I got to pick up my birthday present today.

Happy Birthday to Me

Dang, it's my new 'stang

I let him drive

Self Portrait with Mustang

He is SO getting lucky tonight.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Glass Sculpture


Here we are.  It happened.  I'm 40.  There were no fireworks at midnight, no champagne while standing on the deck of my fabulous yacht, no confetti.

Not that I REALLY expected that, of course.

One of the things that comes with a 40th birthday is the recognition that the day usually proceeds the way most days do - quickly and without too much drama.  We'll still have lessons here at Ottwork Academy (Yes, we do call it that.  And we have a logo.  The t-shirts are on the way.)  I'll still scoop cat poop out of the litter box and clean up spilled chocolate milk and macaroni and cheese.  But I'll do so with the full wisdom of the ages.

Oh, shut up.  I know it's not all that old, but I do get a little star in the wisdom pin, don't I?  I've lived FOUR decades.  I realize that doesn't make me a doddering old woman, and I'm glad that it doesn't, but I can still impart some wizened truths.  

If only anyone would ask me.  

Instead they say things like, "40?  Shoot - I've got underwear older than you.  You're not old until you're 60."  Sigh.  Does that ever change?  I mean, when I'm 80 and sitting in the nursing home I can just see that there will be some 98 year old know-it-all who will insist I'm too young to know what old is.

Neverthless, I think I should share some of the tidbits of knowledge I have gleaned in my 40 years.  Here we go:
  1. Always know how to operate the brakes on the bike you are riding.  You never know when there might be a parked bus down the hill.
  2. Never date a boy named "Bucky."
Well - that's it, really.  You can pretty much live your life by those two principles.

And maybe these:
Smile.  Laugh.  Love.  Create.  Sing.  Dance.  Whisper. 
 Shout.  Read.  Play.  Learn.  Embrace.  Smooch.

Smooches with the Junebug

Thanks for sharing it with me.  I promise to not endlessly obsess over 41.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


When I woke up this morning, I heard D whispering to Dr. SmartyPants, "Mom's birthday is TOMORROW.  She'll be 40!"  Dr. SmartyPants whispered back, "Are you sure?  I think she's just 25."  Now you see WHY he's such a smarty.

I can't say I slept well, though.  This boy decided that I had a better spot in the bed than he did, and he tried to take it from me.

Sleeping Oscar

Now, I have to say that I love this dog, but some things are sacred.  As in the sacred sleeping spot upon which I lie.  Do not mess with that spot, dog.

Oscar Nostrils

You may be asking, "Why would a woman allow a dog in her bed at all?"  

Reclining Oscar
And the answer would be, "He's very snuggly.  Don't judge me."


On to the irrelevant fascinating August 29 facts:

On August 29 in 1628, John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (English royalist statesman d. 1701) was born.

Hello.  I take baths. 
That dog needs a bath.

I tell ya - these "coincidences" are beginning to creep me out a little.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sleeping Giants

Reclining SmartyPants, originally uploaded by diahn.

Dr. SmartyPants isn't exactly a giant, but I had to give it a title, didn't I?

Two. More. Days.

More fun facts...On August 29 in...

1521 - The Ottoman Turks capture Nándorfehérvár, now known as Belgrade.

1526 - Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeat and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

1541 - The Ottoman Turks capture Buda, the capital of the Hungarian Kingdom.

I have an ottoman. I'm thinking of changing my name to Diahn the Magnificent.

Anyway - what was up with those Ottoman Turks and August 29? Must have been a good luck day or something.

Oops - maybe not...

In 1904 - Murad V, Ottoman Sultan (b. 1840) died.

Whoa. Check this out. Ingrid Bergman? The actress? That was born on August 29, 1915?

She died on August 29, 1982.

Not cool.


I made a Wordle from my blog.  It basically scans your text and makes words larger and smaller based on usage frequency.  I was pretty excited to see that "book", and "love" were prominent.

Go try it with yours - see what really makes you tick...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Days

Doodlebug in Sunlight, originally uploaded by diahn.

The countdown continues. Three...

More "interesting" August 29 facts...

In 1861, the US Navy captured forts in Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina from the Confederacy.

Hatteras is my favorite place. 

In 1966, The Beatles played their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

I just went to San Francisco.

In 1898, the Goodyear Tire Company was founded.

I have tires.

Freaky? I think so.

Wait - it gets better...

In 1924, singer Dinah Washington was born.

If you rearrange the letters in her first name, you can spell Diahn. 

I've been to Washington. 

I'm a singer.


I took this photo over the weekend on our camping trip. Every now and then, when I cull through the hundreds of pictures I take on such trips (375 in 3 days), I find one like this and it makes me so happy. Everything about it just works for me.

I guess you take 375 photos in 3 days, and 1 is bound to be good, right?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Five. Uh. Four.

Maple Leaf, originally uploaded by diahn.

Only four days left in my 30s. I've just realized that I share a birthday with John McCain. And Michael Jackson. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm sure it means something. Why can't I share a birthday with Georgia O'Keefe or Sue Monk Kidd?

Well - I do share with Ingrid Bergman. That's good. And Hurricane Katrina. That's bad.

I'll try to share some more fascinating birthday facts with you over the next four days. Aren't you never going to read again excited?

We went camping over the weekend and had a great time. I even found the energy to draw a few things here and there. Like this holy, or rather - hole-y leaf. It was very meditative and made me realize how long it has been since I have drawn anything at all. Time to tone up those sketching muscles again, I think.

I have a few more sketches to share with you over the week, as well.  But I'm going to leave you with this one by D.  He sat down right next to me while I was sketching the maple leaf, and decided to join in...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Best Birthday Present. Ever.

Tomorrow is Junebug's 7th birthday.  

Yep - exactly 1 week before my 33rd birthday, I had my second son.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.

We're heading out to camp today in honor of his birthday - that was his request instead of having a big party.  (whew.)  So, yesterday, we decided to have a family party for him.  Really - we just didn't want to lug all the pressies in the camper with us.

We took him to his favorite restaurant (Golden Corral.)  (I know.)  (He's almost 7.)  (It could have been McDonald's.)  Then we headed to the mall to Build-a-Bear, 'cause there is nothing this child likes better in the world than a stuffed animal.  Afterwards we headed home for cake and presents.

Junebug's Birthday Party 004

Because (other than stuffed animals) little boys are all about Star Wars, LEGOS and Nascar, that's what he got.

Junebug's Birthday Party 018

He seemed pretty happy with it.  Which is great - because usually, he looks like this:

Junebug's Birthday Party 019

Or sometimes like this:

Junebug's Birthday Party 023

He's kind of like his Mama.  MY mom's nickname for me when I was little was "Stone-face".  And I deserved it.  But, I digress.

Junebug's Nanny and Pop-Pop sent him a Nintendo DS (after he dropped MANY hints.  and suggestions.  and outright begging for one because D got one for his birthday.  and make it blue.)  He was so excited about that gift, that he celebrated a la Michael Phelps.

Minus any muscles.

Junebug's Birthday Party 021

And yes.  We do feed him.

Happy Birthday, Baby - Mama loves you.

P.S.  I'll be back sometime Sunday - we're off to the deep dark, internet-free, no-cell-phone-coverage woods.

Monday, August 18, 2008


I've always had my head in the clouds and my nose in a book.  Some have moved me more than others; rarely have I started one and not finished it.  I just love reading.  I love seeing the words on the page.  I love the smell of the paper and the ink.  I love that people can come up with completely original stories of heartache and loss, of joy and love, of darkness and evil.  

I love it all.

My favorites tend to be books about life - languid slices of the ordinary, intermingled with those extraordinary moments that make life rich.   Thrillers are great, mysteries are fun, but a book about a year in the life of your average person...rising above not so average adversity?  A book about ordinary people who are really the heroes of life?  

That's the stuff, there.

My all-time favorite book is "To Kill a Mockingbird," by Harper Lee.  It's a book that has shaped my views in so many ways - how I treat people, how I view life.  I read it at least once a year, just to make sure that I don't forget how quickly things can degenerate when we make assumptions based on stereotype and fear.  A year or so ago, I read another book that reminded me of "To Kill a Mockingbird."  It was "The Secret Life of Bees," by Sue Monk Kidd.  

Hmmm...  Birds and Bees...just made that connection.

Anyway, the film version of "Bees" comes out in October.  I'm excited and apprehensive about it - on the one hand, I would love to see it on the big screen, acted WELL, as "Mockingbird" was in 1962.  On the other hand, how many movies have I seen, adapted from novels I loved, that just didn't live up to the book at all?  


But...I have hope...and Queen Latifah.

  'Secret Life Of Bees' Theatrical Trailer @ Yahoo! Video

Click the thumbnail for the preview.  Wait for October.  Come see it with me.  


Sunday, August 17, 2008


It's been a long (but very good) day and I'm tired.  I had a kind of odd evening out with the family and had some strange interactions with people that I'm not really sure what to do with, so I'm just going to link you to an interesting article on turning 40, instead.

More tomorrow from the great land of freaky, pink-haired, almost-forty, homeschool-mom that makes people at dinner parties not have any idea what to say to her.

Besides, "Oh."

Off to obsess process.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Shows What I Know.

Ooooohhhh - I'm just so wise in my almost 40 year old state.  Or not.  

Today, D came running into the house all excited because he and the Junebug and their bestest friend that lives next door, B., were going to set up a LEMONADE STAND.  They needed a pitcher and some plastic cups and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASEPLEASE???!!  B.'s dad had apparently already said okay.

"Well," I said.  "I guess so, but don't expect much guys.  It's already 4:00 in the afternoon and you realize we live at the end of the last cul-de-sac in our neighborhood.  We aren't exactly on the main drag.  Traffic could be an issue."

"We know - we've got a plan!!!!!" they tell me.  It seems D has figured out that all they need to do is station two of them at the bottom of the hill to wave and shout and point a sign up the hill into the cul-de-sac where delightfully refreshing cups of lemonade would be waiting.  

For only $5 a cup.

"Whoa, fellas.  $5 a cup?  That's a little steep, don't you think?"

"What?  Okay - maybe 2 bucks?  3 bucks?" Says the Junebug in a very wiseguy kind of voice.  I don't know where those come from, but he's sounded like he's from New Jersey most of his talking life.

"Maybe 50 cents, bud."


So a table was found, a sign was created.  Lemonade was stirred.  Assignments were made.  D took the first shift at the table, while the Junebug and B. headed down on their bikes to point customers up the hill.

Lemonade Stand

Dr. SmartyPants and I each bought a cup.  Another neighbor bought 4 cups for his family as they were leaving.  Our neighbor Monica bought a cup and got a half-price refill.  A family walked up from down the hill.

Lemonade Stand

Shifts changed.  A new pitcher was made.

Lemonade Stand

And one lady bought a cup.  Paid with $5.

Lemonade Stand

And told them to keep the change.

I love our neighborhood.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two Weeks.

Two weeks from today.  

14 days.  

A fortnight.  

336 hours.

Am I obsessing?

Well, of course I am.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Who, Me?

Nine years ago I was pregnant with my first born son, D.  If you had asked me then if I had ever considered homeschooling him, I would have laughed and told you that I was already looking forward to the day when I would drop him off at Kindergarten and drive merrily away to my own life for the 7 or so hours he would be occupied with SCHOOL.

Just a few months later I would have gladly strangled anyone who tried to pry him out of my arms.  Because OH MY GOSH - have you seen him?

You're telling me that in 5 short years after his birth, I have to give him away to be raised by a school system that has no idea how brilliant he is**?

I don't think so.

Then, 7 years ago (next week as a matter of fact) our little Junebug joined the crew and only strengthened my resolve to chew on those cheeks for as long as I could manage it.

I mean - really.

So today - we began our first year as 100% homeschoolers.  And it was good.  We're taking an eclectic approach and trying lots of different things.  The boys are reading on the same level, so that's the level of reading we're working on, regardless of the grade in which they happen to be.  Same goes with science and handwriting and spelling.  Math and Grammar are separated by grade, but those are the only two.

And those cheeks?  Right where I want them.  And you must compare this one to a more recent shot...

**That's an entire series of blog posts right there - let me tell you.  And maybe when I'm feeling a bit ranty about school system in this country, I'll let fly.  For now...let's just keep it all happy and sweet, shall we?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Play the Guitar on the MTV

I'm a musical person.  My family is musical - it's not as if I had a choice.  By the age of 8, I was a regular on the platform at my church, singing away in my absurdly loud soprano, accompanied by Mom on the piano, my brother on guitar and tenor...and of course, Daddy sang bass.   I started piano lessons as soon as I could read - and I started playing guitar last year.  It's as much a part of my life as breathing.

I've been waiting with breathless anticipation to find out what kind of musical talents would spring forth from my progeny, and it seems that they will be both be musical in their own ways.  (If they aren't we'll just blame Dr. SmartyPants for that.)  Junebug can't help but move and sing and play air guitar and twist and shout whenever his favorite JoBro songs or HSM songs come on the iPod playlist.  D would rather act like he's playing guitar or drums - but rarely dances or sings.  He loves to listen, though - just soaks music UP.

So - to help their dreams of being rock stars along, they started taking guitar lessons a few months ago.  Classical guitar.  So they can be Classic Rock Stars.  It's the most wonderful thing EVER.  I love it.  Junebug sticks his tongue out of the side of his mouth and turns his hand all wonderful ways and tries so hard.  D sits up with the nicest posture and perfect hand positions, but makes the most awful faces when he misses a note.  It's been interesting to watch them deal with the successes and failures that come along with learning a new instrument.  It really brings out the personality.

D, who can be so reluctant to try new things, jumps into a new song with reckless abandon.  He oozes confidence.  He reeks of skill.  When he misses a note - he makes that strange face and just keeps going.  His tempo is rock-steady.  He also has a hard time understanding that the way he is doing it is not always the right way.  Stubborn to the core.

D-Man Jamz

Junebug, who always seems so full of confidence, occasionally cowers at the thought of  a new song.  He chooses not to try, rather than risking failure.  When he misses a note - he goes back and starts all the way over at the beginning of the song.  He can't STAND to not be perfect.  So he's not perfect a lot and he tends to get frustrated and want to quit.  He doesn't like to play with anyone's tempo except the one that is in his head.  He is, in short, just like me.  But cuter.

Junebug Jamz

Why is one kid so okay with an occasional bobble or missed note, while the other lies down and cries?  I don't know.  They are as different as night is from day, as dark is from light, as I am from my sister.  

Over the years, my own brand of perfectionism has calmed down a little.  More than a little, maybe.  I still hate to fail, of course, but I don't get quite so frustrated with myself.  I try things more often and I am really okay if I'm just bad at it.  I have found the way to laugh at myself when I screw something up.  

This is, actually, a fairly recent development, and it was brought to me in the saving grace of music.  See - Dr. SmartyPants and I were involved with a church - a start-up, inner-city church, and the only person with any musical skill was...Me.  Now - singing?  No problem.  I've been doing that forever.  BUT.  We needed accompaniment.  Specifically - piano.

So - I dusted off my keyboard and started practicing.  Like a whole week.  And then I got up in front of about 50 people and played.


And I sang.


And you know what?  Nobody came up to me afterwards and said - "Yo - Diahn - what was up with THAT?"  No - they just sang along and covered up the mess I was making with the keys and somehow it made a joyful noise.

And after awhile...I got better.  And then I got even better and could fool people into believing that I knew what I was doing.

And then I bought a guitar and started all over again.  And somehow in all that, I realized that you should do what you do because it brings you joy and fills you up - not because you can show everyone how perfect you are.  Perfect is boring.

I don't want to be boring.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

17 Days

It's things like this that make me doubt the year on my birth certificate.  Yes.  I dyed my hair pink.  It's not the first time.  This time, though, it looks a bit like Neopolitan ice cream.  And I love it.  If that's not the coolest ponytail ever, I don't know what is.

A few posts back, I was talking about my identity crisis, and this picture illustrates exactly why.  Come on - you saw those pictures...none of them have pink hair evident, or multiple ear piercings or a tattoo or a belly button ring and I have, or have had, all of those things.  The belly button ring went the way of pregnancies with 9 pound babies, unfortunately, but I live in hope of the day I will get it back.  I'm not a dork.  I'M NOT A DORK.  Except when I am.

Here's the thing.  Sometimes I am a dork, on the inside.  I'm unsure of myself and feel like an idiot when I talk to other people and I still feel like I'm going to trip over my feet when I walk -  the way I did when I was a gangly teen with REALLY large feet.  I still feel the same as the girl with the bad mullet or the really bad perm or the countless horrifyingly bad haircuts.  I still feel like the girl who was told, by the first boy I ever kissed, that I looked better in the dark.  (Yes.  Ouch.  Junior High - I've blocked most of the memories)

And then, sometimes, on really good days, I feel like the ultra-cool punk princess I want to be.  I tell stories and people laugh, I play the guitar and people sing along and enjoy it, even when I miss a chord or two.  I paint something and it really is awesome.  I dye my hair pink and brown and blonde and people stop me in Target to tell me how cool it is.  I like those days.  Stellar days.  Punk rock days.

They are interwoven, the dork and the punk.  Like a double helix of DNA - one side dork, one side punk - curling around each other until one doesn't function without the other.  I'm not sure what exactly that makes me.  Either a donk or a pork, maybe.  Ew.  Maybe not.  (podunk?)

How about a woman who still feels like a girl.  Maybe a woman who can't really fathom the time and space that have separated her from the 15 or 20 or 25 year old that she once was.  Or perhaps just a woman who has lived fully these first 40 years, learned more than she ever thought possible, and plans to continue that trend through the next 40 years and more.  

Somehow, I don't mind the idea of aging so much that way.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Junebug

We've thought long and hard about this, and we've decided to rename J.  From now on, at least in terms of this blog, he shall be known as "Junebug."  We're still working on a better name for D.  I'll let you know when we decide.

In any case...Junebug had a traumatic day today.  Let me preface.  When the boys went for their cleaning about 6 weeks ago, I had the dentist  x-ray Junebug's teeth to make sure everything was there.  He's almost 7 and he hadn't lost any, and none were even slightly loose.  They did, and everything seemed to be in place - it was hard to tell with the front teeth, because they were starting to drop into place and it washed out everything else, but they assured me that was normal (and it is.)

About 5 weeks ago, I was checking Junebug's brushing prowess and noticed some little white bumps coming up in the gums behind his lower front incisors.  Yep - those bad boys were coming in.  I gave the baby teeth a wiggle...Nada.  I called the dentist office and they said to wait 4 weeks or so, because that's not uncommon and the babies would probably get really loose, really fast and come out.

Or not.  Not even wiggly.  Not even almost imperceptibly wiggly.  So.  We went in this morning to have them seen about and the dentist decided they needed to come out.  Off he bravely went - to the chair and the fireman's mask (he even got to wear the fireman hat) and the lovely gas that makes you not care if people are ripping bones out of your head.  Half an hour later, he walked out with a dazed, stoned look on his face and it was all over.


Look at those roots!  The tooth fairy may have to take out a 2nd mortgage.  Do you know what the orthodontist is going to do with this kid?  Ay-yai-yai.

This has nothing to do with me turning 40.  See how much I've grown?   It's not all about me. I didn't even mention that I went to the orthodontist before I took him to the dentist and he tightened up my teeth until my eyeballs are popping out of my head.  Yay me!  (clap clap)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


My dad was in the Air Force until I was about 13 years old, and so we grew up away from our extended family.  We saw grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins at Christmas time and over summers, but rarely any other times.

Going to see Mama and Papa Dee, my mom's parents, was always a special treat.  It wasn't that we didn't like our other grandparents, but there was just something different about going to their house.  My brother would always say, when we walked in the door, "This house has that Drummond smell."  It smelled like tomatoes and peaches and chocolate frosting and fresh EVERYTHING.  

Papa always had a garden with tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, squash, green beans, corn and every other good thing, and Mama Dee canned them all, preserved them, cooked and served them up with a heaping teaspoon of love (and maybe some bacon fat).

They had acres of land on which to play unencumbered by the worry of passing cars or strangers.  They had a full-color console TV that played Little Rascals and Three Stooges.  Papa would pay us 10 cents a bag for raking leaves, a job that took all day and yielded a dollar between us.  We would promptly run to the Circle C down the road and buy RC colas and smoke bombs.  It was just flat fun.

Today is their anniversary.  They've been married a million years.  Today.  Or 67.  It's hard to separate the two.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Today marks a sad anniversary for my family.  19 years ago today, my brother, Brian, died in a motorcycle accident.  19 years.  It just blows my mind.  He left behind a beautiful wife, Melinda, a darling 3 year old boy, Jesse, 2 sisters, a mom and a dad and grandparents and a whole lot of friends, all of whom were devastated at losing such a bright light.

It's strange - some years this day makes me so sad, I can't stand it.  I just want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the passage of time until August 10 comes and I can celebrate my grandparent's wedding anniversary instead (67 years this time around).  Other years, I wake up and think of the date and I feel a twinge of sadness, but it's easier somehow to deal with it.  I wish I could say that every year since then has been easier, but it doesn't seem to work that way.  Two years ago I was more affected than I was 5 years ago.  Some days I just miss him more than others.

This morning was one of the good ones.  I spent this last week with Melinda and her daughter Sara, who has always been a niece to me, along with her sister Stevey, even though Melinda is not my sister by birth.  Melinda is my sister by choice, now - as much part of me as my own sister, Kristen.

Jesse has grown up and has his own son, now - named Brian for his grandfather.  Brian came to visit, too - and he's a joy.  Full of laughter and smiles and sparkly eyes.  Maybe that's why I'm not so sad today.  Because Brian may be gone, but he lives on in the grandson he never had the chance to meet.  See - Brian liked to laugh.  He had a ready laugh and sparkly eyes, just like (little) Brian.

I have to give you an example.  When we were younger, Brian's favorite thing to do was to make me insane, because I was 3 years younger and a girl.  So - he'd tell me jokes.  Bad jokes.  Jokes that made absolutely no sense.  But...and here was the genius part...he'd surround himself with people who were in on it.  Let's call them Larry and Fred.  Because their names were Larry and Fred...

Brian:  Hey - Diahn - c'mere...I've got a joke for you.

Diahn:  Okay - I love a good joke.  Lay it on me.  (I don't think I talked this way when I was 10, but who knows?)

Larry and Fred:  Yeah - it's a good one - you're gonna love it.

Brian:  Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear went to the park.  They played on the swings and the merry go round - they played four-square and tether ball.  They were having a great time.

Larry and Fred:  Snicker, glumph, hee hee

Brian:  They decided to go down the slide.  Papa Bear went first.  He got to the top, sat down, started sliding and said, "Wheeeeeee!"  Mama Bear went next.  She got to the top, sat down, started sliding and said, "Wheeeeeee!"

Baby bear went next.  He got to the top, sat down, started sliding and said, "Radio!"  Haa haaaaa!!

Larry and Fred:  Bwah ha ha ha (they clutch their hearts and fall to the ground laughing until tears start flowing.


Brian:  Come on - you get it, right?  "Radio!"  Ha ha hahahahahahahahahah!

Diahn:  Radio.  That's it?  Radio.

Brian:  Wait, wait - let me tell it again - maybe you missed something.

Larry and Fred:  Missed something...hahahahahahahahahahaha

Diahn:  Forget it.

I love that joke.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


This picture represents the brackets of my family.  Brackets?  Well - maybe not the best word, but that's the only one I could come up with after this week I've had.  Don't get me wrong - it's been a wonderful week.  My boys and I went to Alabama to spend some time with my family, including Melinda, her youngest daughter Sara, and little Brian, my great-nephew.

That's Brian in the picture with my grandparents.  Brian is almost a year old.  Mama Dee (the maker of quilts) is 88 and Papa Dee is 90.  Great-great grandparents and great-great grandson.  Miraculous.

I'm too tired to blog.  There's never enough time to catch up when you have only a few days a year to see those people you love most.  I've hardly slept since Saturday night, although it's been worth it.

I'm not as young as I once was - all-nighters stick with me too long these days....but that doesn't change the need to sit up all night and remember - old boyfriends and old songs - sitting on the deck with guitar in hand and playing Wish You Were Here and just remembering the us that we used to be, dorky and stupid, idealistic and romantic. 

That's a 40th birthday present to hang on to.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Blanky Memories


This is a picture of me from 1968, laying on a blanket in the backyard of our house in San Bernardino, California. The quilt on the bottom was made by my maternal grandmother, Mama Dee, just for me. My grandmother has always quilted, piecing together scraps of fabric into bundles of warmth. I always loved that her quilt blocks didn't come from the inside of a fabric store, but from the worn and tattered remnants of clothing and sheets and whatever she could find. She took things that were ready for the trash heap and turned them in to treasured items.

This particular quilt was crafted from one of my mother's childhood dresses. She was about 8 years old when she wore it, and it was her favorite dress. It had a full circle skirt, and when she twirled, it spread out like a ballerina's. The memory of that dress makes my mom smile and re-live that feeling. I just asked her about it again, to make sure I had my facts straight, and she smiled and put her arms out to demonstrate how she had twirled and whirled.

Memory is a powerful thing.

This quilt kept me warm as a child, decorated my room as a teen and adult and had grown tattered around the edges. The binding had long since worn away, the batting was starting to seep out around the edges and I was afraid I was going to lose it. I took it to Mama Dee not long after I married Dr. SmartyPants and she put a new binding on it, from her fabric stash. My boys love the quilt, even with the pink and red flowers, because they know it belonged to me and to my mother and to my grandmother.

Family is a powerful thing.

Mama Dee has made quilts for all her grandchildren and her great grandchildren, including my boys. They have their places of honor on the bed - never going in the closet. They are too precious for that. They pull them out and talk about them and call them their favorites. Of course they are. I have other quilts she has made just for me and I would rather wrap up in them than in all the most precious luxurious fabrics in the world.

Love is a powerful thing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Once Upon a Time...

IMG_0004, originally uploaded by diahn.

There was beautiful princess who got everything she wanted. She had long flowing blonde hair (that she didn't have to pay for), big blue eyes and a luxurious castle in which to live. If she wanted a piano, all she had to do was say, "I want a piano, please" (because it's very important to be polite, even if you are a beautiful princess) and POOF! A piano appeared in the background with a strange step stool like chair thing in front of it which was covered in newspaper.

If she wanted a set of rattan chairs...POOF! A set of rattan chairs. Like that - you see.

One day she decided she wanted a black cat. So she asked, very politely of course, for one. POOF! Coral, the magical black tomcat appeared in her arms and she loved him very much. Things were wonderful in the rattan kingdom for the beautiful princess until at last the magical black tomcat transcended this world and left her behind.

Then the beautiful princess asked very politely for another magical black tomcat, but instead she got a mullet.


The end.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Identity Crisis

Dr. SmartyPants has been very concerned about all these pictures I've been posting. He's suggested that perhaps I was adopted by this family and they have pictures of some random girl that isn't me, that they've been telling me is me all this time. He says that none of the pictures look anything like me. Or the me that I am now.

He also wanted to know when I started looking like the me that I am now.

I don't know.

I think they all look like me. Because I've seen them all before and I know they are me, by gum.

I've just changed a lot in the last 40 years. Doesn't everyone? Fashions change, hairstyles change (mine more than some people's - but that's a post for another day), weight changes. Everything changes.

When I was 10, and hanging out with Spiderman, I looked like this:


But it's still me.

When I was 14 and starting my world piano tour (okay, not really), I looked like this:


But it's still me.

When I was 17 and rivaling Madonna for coolness, I looked like this:


And no. I wasn't drunk. I have a lazy left eye. But it's still me.


I'm starting to see that the 1980s were really not kind to me. My memories of me back then were that I was cool and punk and a rock star and awesome and apparently no one ever took any pictures of me being cool and punk and a rock star and awesome. They only took pictures of me being lame and stupid and drunk. Drunk-looking. I was in high school for crying out loud. I didn't drink.

My mom reads this blog.

So. Now that I'm almost 40, I realize that I have no idea which of these pictures is me. Am I the cool punk rockstar I've always thought, or am I the lame dork?

My little sister just told me I'm a nerd. And that nerds are cool. Okay.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have someone take a new picture of me and I'll let you all be the judge of that.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Nature or Nurture?

There have been some people, in the past 40 years of my life, who have claimed I have some control issues.  I know what you are thinking - Diahn?  Control freak?  No way!  She's so laid back and relaxed and spontaneous and freeeeeee.  

Stop laughing Melinda.

Anyway.  This morning I had an epiphany.  See, I've always assumed that the control-freak that I am was a direct result of the life I'd lived - the family I was born into and the outside forces that had shaped us all through the years.  This is not to say that there was anything wrong with my parents or my brother or my sister when she came along, but that no one is BORN a control-freak.  You become one later.  Right?

Well.  This morning, we were all laying in bed watching the Formula 1 qualifying from Hungary, and Dr. SmartyPants asked us if we wanted pancakes for breakfast.  That's kind of his weekend thing - he cooks us all pancakes and bacon after we've spent most of the morning watching auto sports.  

D said, "Yes!"

J, my youngest, and the one most like me, responded like this:

"Yes, I'd like pancakes.  But without syrup.  And I don't want them cut up.  And regular bacon, not turkey bacon, because I don't like turkey bacon.  And can I have some eggs, too?  The flat kind without the yellow part?"

M-hmmm.  I, of course also said, "Yes!"  Because I am a grown-up and I appreciate people doing things for me.  But on the inside...

Well - you know how it goes.  "Yes, but gosh, it's already 9 in the morning, isn't that kind of late to be having such a big breakfast?  And what are we going to do today?  What's the plan..."

I think you're just born with some things, and then you spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to live with all those other people who don't understand that if it isn't done EXACTLY the way you want it done the world will stop rotating on its axis.

Poor kid.

BTW - this picture has nothing to do with this post, except that I'm a kid in it and my brother is there and we're cute and tan and look like we've been living on an island in the middle of the South Pacific.  But that's just because we were living on an island in the middle of the South Pacific.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Camping Out

You many thousands of readers three readers know that we like camping in this family. It's fun - we get to go outside and enjoy the fresh clean air, etc...

Well - when I was a kid, my family went camping too. We had an old green canvas tent. I guess it was probably new then, huh? We'd go and set up and cook out and have a grand time. Well. I think maybe my mom set up and the rest of us had a grand time. See - here she is getting everything in order. That's our VEGA in the background. It was YELLOW. And a VEGA.

Look how nice everything is.  Stove ready for coffee.  Chairs arranged so you can talk AND enjoy the scenery.  Water thermos ready and waiting for thirsty children.  Nice vinyl tablecloth. 

 Meanwhile - my brother and I are off skipping rocks on the lake and my dad is snapping pictures and probably demonstrating his "indian magic" on the fire (that would be throwing a cup of white fuel on it when no one was paying attention) and regaling the other dads with his stories.

Which is why my mom looks like this:

(isn't she DARling?)