The end is in sight…

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35472071Every year, without fail, the month of June threatens my sanity. In the past seven days:

  • My youngest son sprained two fingers. No big deal, right? Unless of course said son can’t live five seconds without engaging in competitive sports.
  • My husband’s car (which is just a year old) flatlined on Friday — less than a week after it had received a full tune up at the dealer. Unfortunately they can’t discern the problem so I’m stuck with a ‘loaner’.
  • On the heels of our encounter with a rabid woodchuck I had a more recent face-off with a turkey vulture in my backyard. Even if I tried I couldn’t make up this stuff. Wild!
  • The room renovation I’ve been so excited about…is still a work in progress. I’m impatient and I just want it done. On the plus side the workmanship and the people have been amazing.
  • The Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks series has been a total nail biter. I love hockey but these games are pushing me towards a nervous breakdown.
  • The school year ends on Wednesday and I’m not ready (no teacher’s gift purchased and no solid ideas to remedy that).
  • Two things I won’t even mention (ha ha): exercise & writing

So I’m keeping my chin tucked to my chest and slipping out of the house for a mega dose of coffee. Good coffee. Coffee not brewed in my kitchen.

It’s Tuesday and I’m tired…

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Last week was crazy fun. Seriously – it was one of those weeks where even routine moments had a special pop. Here at casa de Oberlies we get very excited when relatives come for a visit. This time it was my eldest niece Katie. For seven days she tolerated our family lunacy (overly competitive tennis matches EVERY day, evening trips out for frozen yogurt, excessive mall shopping, late night movies, inexpert archery where anything can happen, etc). For my family it was like a stay-at-home vacation. My boys barely let her leave when it was time for Katie to pack her bags.

View from my hotel room in Cambridge this weekend.

View from my hotel room in Cambridge this weekend.

Over the holiday weekend my fun continued. It’s not often that I get the chance to see my closest friend from college. She lives far, far away in an enchanted land   in Sweden. Fortunately a business trip to Boston for her, coincided with a visit home for me. I smiled the entire time we spent together. She’s fun. She’s smart. She’s kind. Basically she’s the person I want to be in my next life:-) As I get older (it’s tough to notice but I am aging) I definitely appreciate and value good friendships with people that have played a significant part in my life. Yeah, grab the Kleenex I’m feeling mushy this morning. I love those moments. We all have them. Times that you’ll remember not because they involved something earth-shatteringly exciting but because they were simply sublime. Great conversation. Great food. Decent wine (yes I have plebeian tastes when it comes to alcohol). Although waving goodbye at the airport clipped some of my euphoria, I then had a chance to hang out with some of my family in Boston. This gathering involved Dunkin Donuts.  All good, right?

Fabulous restaurant in Cambridge --- where they serve mouth watering scallops.

Fabulous restaurant in Cambridge — where they serve mouth watering scallops.

Oh, and on the home front renovation on my front room began. It looks really good so far. Squee! My neighbors are probably thrilled that they no longer have to look at the eyesore that was once covering half of the front of my house. Keep your fingers crossed that this week the remaining work goes smoothly. Time to unpack my bags and tackle the laundry.

Be good. Be happy.

We were young and we were improving…

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Twenty years ago today I got married. I was young and pretty darn nervous (hard not to be nervous when people kept reminding me that I was young and this was a big commitment). I guess I was either lucky or I chose well…because I’ve never looked back with regret. NOT ONCE. A lot has happened in the past two decades. Births. Deaths. Relocations. Houses (lots of different houses). New friends. New jobs. Failures. Successes. Smiles. Tears. It’s been a journey with more ups than downs, more times that I’ve felt blessed instead of cursed.

Happy Anniversary

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Lather, rinse, repeat….

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IMG_0239The other day I was reading a Mother’s Day card that my youngest made at school. I swear teachers use holiday cards as a way to get a good belly laugh. Ask any child a series of questions about a parent and you’re going to get eye opening responses. My son’s was no different.

  • What does your mom do?  She’s an adult book author.  (Umm…I choked a little when I saw this, wondering if his teacher suddenly thinks I’m a 50 Shades of Grey kind of gal).
  • If you could give your mom one wish what would it be? For her to be stress free. (He made a point of telling me that he didn’t share the fact that I pull out pieces of hair when I get super sized anxious. This is a bad habit left over from high school. Yes, it’s totally eew).
  • I wish my mom would (play all sports)with me every day. .  Apparently baseball, football, and an occasional round of tennis just aren’t cutting it.

His card is now sitting next to my computer. Every time I look at it I get a dopey look on my face. I’ve been wallowing in quiet stress the past few weeks. Worried about little and large life events. School projects. Paperwork. Vacation Plans. Extended Family – Celebrations and Memorials. My first blemish in 5 years (seriously, on the side of my nose). Dust buildup on my laptop and treadmill. A missing cordless phone. Another home improvement project on the horizon. Jeans that are suddenly too tight. A Harlequin book review that has been sitting in my ‘to do’ pile for weeks. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

On the other hand…I have so much stuff that balances the scale. Wedding anniversary tomorrow – a lot of years with a guy that’s not perfect but is just about perfect for me. OT victory by my beloved Bruins last night. Impending visit from my niece. Great writing workshop my friend brought me to this past weekend. Key lime pie in the house. Newly downloaded books on my Kindle. Flag football – the team isn’t great but my kids still have fun playing and I have enormous fun watching. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Well, I love that dirty water….

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images-4Oh, Boston you’re my home. I no longer reside within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but in many ways it’s still my home. I was born there. Spent the first 21 years of my life there. Hope to be buried next to family there. Watching the events of last week unfold was horrific – for everyone. The celebration of Patriot’s Day (statewide holiday that always includes The Boston Marathon and a day game at Fenway) ranks right up there with the biggest of Boston holidays. Every year my parents would pack up a picnic lunch and head out to watch the Marathon (often in matching sweatshirts). It’s one of the sweetest memories I hold of them. They would have been gutted to see what transpired last Monday. As with most large cities, law enforcement officers in Boston often face criticism for their work. They’re an easy target for the media. Last week they gave a great reminder to everyone of how they make a difference and how much they are willing to sacrifice for the good of the public. I hope we don’t forget.

Last week I also lost my great Aunt Helen. She was lovely in all the ways that matter. Helen held a special place in my mother’s heart – thereby in my heart, too. She will be missed.

Finally (I swear this is my last sad update) children’s author E. L. Konigsburg, a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal died on Friday, April 19 at age 83. In fifth grade I had my first exposure to Konigsburg when my  teacher Mrs.Peecha read “From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” to my class. I LOVED it. Since that time I have purchased this book for my nieces, for my sister who is a teacher, and for my own children. The bookshelf in my office holds several Konigsburg novels – all well worn around the edges. If you haven’t read her work today might be a good day to start.

Right now the sun is shining through my front window. I’m looking forward to this week. No doubt it will bring more joy than last week.

 

Here comes the sun…

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Well, the kids just wrapped up their spring break. It came early on the calendar this year, which meant the weather was not as welcoming as we normally see. Didn’t matter – we had a fabulous trip to Washington, DC. Although I used to work in Washington I never invested a great deal of time taking in all of the tourist attractions. This trip was different. Every second was spent on our feet – moving from museum to museum, landmark to landmark, restaurant to restaurant. My kids determined where they wanted to spend the week. They made good choices:

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  • The Zoo – spent a little over five hours exploring the exhibits at the National Zoo. Top picks were the orangutan O-line (which lets the orangutans hang out 40 feet in the air above visitors without a net) and the giant panda bears.
  • Smithsonian – Museum of Natural History and The Air and Space Museum. *Please note I did not enjoy the interactive flight simulators (spent the entire time upside down because my younger son decided to be both the pilot and the gunnery expert). I think I might have uttered some harsh mild expletives when he refused to turn the damn thing around.
  • Evening Bus Tour – This was an unexpected pleasure. A guided 3.5 hour tour of all the major monuments/attractions. Since DC can be a wild city to navigate it was relaxing to sit back and let someone else fight traffic.
  • Dupont Circle Hotel – This was our first stay at The Dupont and it was an awesome choice. Nice location. Friendly staff. Heated floors in the bathroom (I had to throw that in because my kids loved this feature in the morning).
  • Maddy’s Bar and Grille, Potbelly, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe (for breakfast) were some of the casual dining spots that my kids wanted to visit more than once.

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Now it’s Monday. My house is dirty. My laptop dusty and lonely. Laundry baskets are overflowing…and I’m going to sit back, close my eyes and enjoy a second cup of coffee.

What’s up in your world today?

Do you believe in magic?

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Someone needs to come to my home and clean out my pantry. Take my secret stash of candy and my endless supply of cookies and run. The sugary stuff is wreaking havoc on my system. Perhaps I should send an invite to Gwyneth Paltrow – I’ll whip up some oats for her and her offspring while she provides pointers on purifying my body and soul. In addition to altering the diet I need to get back on the damn treadmill. Yeah, this fills me with joy and anticipation.

On a happier note there is an uber-cool project in my son’s fifth grade class that I get to help out with. It’s called the Magic Wand Project for Kids. This afternoon my son’s class will be making magic wands (part of a larger lesson plan that culminates in the class along with parents attending a Broadway production of Wicked next month). If you aren’t familiar with the Magic Wand Project here’s an overview:

The Magic Wand Project for Kids is a community adventure where kids can discover their kindness magic can change our world! 100 magic wands left in a city inviting kids to do 3 acts of kindness!  (info on www.kindnessgirl.com)
“Magic doesn’t come from the world, it comes from people, and their kindness, that’s where magic comes from.”
Hope to capture some of this afternoon’s magic with my camera. Check back here soon for photos.