Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008: You can’t go home again… or can you?

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Well, after spending the entire day yesterday at my sister Shawn's house, I am officially wiped out.  (I mean that in a good way, of course; it was beautiful weather & it's been far too long since I've seen my sister Shawn, her husband Jim & my beautiful niece Sophia.) 

Native American tribes celebrate Memorial Day across the country with pow-wows & dancing in traditional attire

When I was getting ready to leave the city, I was loading up the car with various odds n' ends (stuff I had no use for, but knew others would).   "Here's 2 Eddie Bauer sweaters that are too small for me but will fit Shawn...and here's 2 packs of Jockeys that I got last summer but will never wear, Jim can probably use these.  Here's that Valerie Bertinelli book for Donda, and a book of Superman stories for Shawn's next door neighbor Levi..."

617D5C2B848A9C67_3556_1[1]As I'm pulling out of my building's parking lot it hit me; "I'm bringin' something for everyone but Sophia!"   (I got out of the car, ran back into the apartment, rifled thru the drawers and cupboards--ah thank goodness!  A brand new pack of playing cards with Mickey Mouse on the backs (can't even remember why or where I got 'em).   I even sat down & wrapped 'em up in "Smiley" gift wrap, and aren't you glad I shared that little story?  

But like I said, it was sunny and warm--Jim grilled steaks and we ate outside (on their giant front porch).  Thanks again, Shawn & Jim.   (I was hoping to also see Donda, Bob & Drew as they were also invited--but they'd already made other plans.)   Anyway, that's the longest visit I've had with Shawn in months, but it was still hard to leave and head back to the city.   

But what if I didn't have to?

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Waynesburg College, which also happens to be where I attended school; doesn't this look like something right out of a Frank Capra movie?

Towards the end of the day, when we were sitting on Shawn's back porch & shootin' the breeze, she happened to mention that she had run into the woman who had bought the house we'd once lived in (when we were kids & lived in town, before our dad moved us to the farmhouse ten miles or so 'in the country').   As everyone in my family knows, I literally left that house kicking & screaming in 1970, and talked of missing it for many years.

Shawn said "I told her how much you loved that house & if it ever came up for sale, to let me know.  And Mrs. G said 'Well, if he's really interested & made us an offer, my husband and I would consider selling.'"

I almost fell out of my chair.  (And I almost fell off the porch when she told me what she thought they'd probably ask for it; well within my affordability range.) 

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Waynesburg's Courthouse, on Main Street (only a couple blocks from the house)

Shawn said she'd call her this week to get a better idea of this. I'm never been one of those types that need to write a 'Pros n' Cons List', but if I ever did, it's now. 

 

Pros

1. I'd finally be a homeowner; not only that, but it would be in the house I loved as a kid, in my former hometown (which I left in 1988, and often feel homesick for).  Pittsburgh has never truly felt like my home.

2. I'd be minutes away from family (versus the 90 minute drive it takes now).  I have a lot of old friends from back there as well.  Sophie could see a lot more of her Uncle Doug.  And I might not feel so alone half the time. 

Cons

1. My job is still in the city; we're talking about a pretty tiring commute.  I'd have to add AT LEAST 2 hours to my workday.  (Though if the 'Work at home Plan' holds, I'd only be commuting 3 days a week.)

2. I very much like 'apartment living'; I'd always planned to buy a condo (or loft) if I ever chose to own...

3. I think I might miss my life in the city;  and this novel by Thomas Wolfe--is it true?  Am I hoping to find something there that really is gone forever?

I'll know more soon--stay tuned.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Valerie Bertinelli is in my house (& some other fun stuff this Easter Sunday)

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It's Easter morning--the sun is shining, the sky is bright blue & there's even a couple birds on my patio chirping happily away.

It figures!

I'm not complaining; just that my sister Shawn is working today, so she was nice enough to invite several of us down yesterday for a ‘Saturday Easter’ dinner.  (Let's just say the weather was slightly different.)  

But it was great to spend some time with everybody--Shawn's husband Jim & their daughter Sophie (the Easter ham pictured above) and my sister Donda was there with her husband Bobby & my older niece Drew. 

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This is what greeted me yesterday morning when I woke up;  I wound up having to leave Shawn's early when a blizzard hit there too!

And here is my nice Sophia, three years old & going on thirty

 

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It's been a long time since I've seen everybody, particularly my little niece here who gave me a warm hug the minute I walked thru the door. 

But hopefully with winter finally on it's way out the door, I can spend some more time with these characters.  (Including Donda, who lives in West Virginia--I've never felt comfortable going there on my own, but now that I've finally got her mapped on my GPS...here I come!)

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"Uncle Doug, I find the orange eggs especially tasty..."

By the way, I recently made a little video of the kid here (an assortment of photos showing how much she's grown since being born) which I put on YouTube; if you'd like to check it out for yourself, click right here.

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Oh yeah, about Valerie...

When I got home from Shawn's, there was a package waiting for me from the Easter Bunny; okay, Amazon.com.  Woo-hoo!  Stephen King's new novel,  and...Valerie Bertinelli's autobiography??  Yep.

I honestly didn't intend to buy this.  I toyed with the idea, put it in my online cart at some point (but I swear I thought I'd removed it).  

Nothing against Valerie, but when I was a kid I never liked 'One Day at a Time' (I just remember a lot of yelling--"JULIE!!"  "BARBARA!!") and as an adult, I've pretty much detested anything on the Lifetime Channel (where she reigns as the Lifetime Movie Queen).   I was never a fan of Van Halen either--and her other show, 'Touched by An Angel'?   Omigod, no.

So why did I buy this book about a person in their mid-40s who dropped 30-40 lbs & felt so renewed that it inspired them to write about it?   Heh heh!  (I guess I'm looking for a little 'diet wisdom'; and if Valerie wants to throw in a scandal about her marriage too, well...) 

Last but not least, a little blast from Easter Past...

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Easter 1977; Steve, Shawn & Donda (in the kitchen of the farmhouse) 

Mom was terrific when it came to holidays, and Easter was no exception.  However, we had this interesting custom every year, where Easter baskets, chocolate rabbits, those giant fruit n' nut eggs and other gifts were laid out on Dad's piano (in the music/plant room) or on the kitchen table; why not the living room?  A few years back when I asked Mom this, she said "Because honey, that was reserved for Christmas!"

 

Hope everyone had a nice Easter.  (And for the record, I don't even count this as a real holiday, y'know...you don't get a paid day off from work!)

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