31 July 2012

Tuesday's Child

I was born on a Tuesday. July 24, 1962.

According to 'Monday's Child,' the classic children's poem, Tuesday's child is full of grace.

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

You knew this about me, right?
Who hasn't heard that phrase....  "Oh yeah, that Barbie! She's so full of grace."

JFK was president.
On the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Tiger.
The Rolling Stones debuted. 
To Kill a Mockingbird was in theaters.
Marilyn Monroe died.
Julia Child first appeared on television.
Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best as Beatles' drummer.
John Glenn orbited the earth.

Closer to home, Seattle hosted The Century 21 Exposition.
More commonly known as the 1962 World's Fair and the opening of the Space Needle.
For her 50th birthday, The Space Needle was recently painted Galaxy Gold.

Fifty years later, 2012, July 24th fell again on a Tuesday and I'm 50 years old.

I could see it coming from a distance. My 50th birthday. Peeking at me from the horizon. Of course I wanted a celebration. But I felt some pressure to make it my celebration. Something specifically appropriate for me. Symbolically radiating my energy.

There would be a couple of events to commemorate the actual day:
An evening gathering with friends.
A sweet 'Barbie-esque' family occasion.

Such memorable birthday celebrations are wonderful, but still I sought something more. Short of painting myself Galaxy Gold, I was sure there was a unique idea waiting just out of my creative reach.

A few months ago, in a casual conversation completely unrelated to birthday thoughts, I happened to mention to someone at work that I'd never ridden on a Harley Davidson. Other motorcycles, sure. I'd even driven a dirt bike back in high school.  But that I'd never even been on a Harley. We continued our friendly discussion and after, I didn't think about it much.

Then a few days later, that co-worker came over to my department and said "Justin said he'd give you a ride on his Harley!!"
"Justin? Over in delivery 'Justin?'"
"Yeah, Justin."
"I didn't know he had a Harley."

Now, other than the occasional "Hi, how ya doing?" in the halls at work and the fact that his wife is one of my favorite co-workers, I didn't know Justin and Justin didn't know me.
But I'm game, right? Right. I went to him to make sure he'd felt no pressure and he convinced me that he was fine with it. We'd pencil it in for a few weeks out.

Then this single 'Thing I've Never Done' (riding on a Harley), sprouted and took root.

My mind began to wander.
"What other things have I never done??  Hmmmm?"
"Well, let's see...I've never traveled anywhere by train." 
It was kind of fun, this line of thought.
"What else?"
More thinking...
"Ummm, I've never gambled in a casino." 
It became a welcome and energizing distraction, this mental list. My imagination began to act like Hermione Granger when a professor asked a question, to which of course she knew the answer. The right hand of my imagination shot up in the air.."Oh, I know! I know! I've never flown first class!" 
Things snowballed from there.
"I've never been in a hot air balloon."
Mental click..
"WAIT! My 50th birthday!. I'll come up with 50 things I've never done before and do them in my 50th year!"
And the angels sang in joyous harmony................."Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Fa la la la la, la la la la!"

50 New Things in the next 52 weeks.
So that's the plan. The plan that rang bells within me the moment it gasped its first breath!!

I'm so excited! Who knows what lies ahead..??
Fifty Shades of Galaxy Gold?

I have more to write about the plan, the couple of non-rules, the recruitment and inclusion of my Band of Merry Followers, Friends, Pranksters. The Dream Team. Their role. Their generosity of spirit and passion.

Here is the link to the 50 New Things blog.... http://barbies50newthings.blogspot.com/
The inaugural post there is a duplicate of this one, as I sent the new link directly to most of you.

Please join me at 50 New Things for further details....right now I need to go write about The Very First of My 50 New Things, which happened a couple days ago!! (Things are happening faster than I can write.....)

You know, I have no problem turning 50. I'm elated, in fact. Maybe that's because I still think of myself as a child. Tuesday's Child.

Thanks for reading.  Love ~ B

03 July 2012

Connor and the Pink Peony

Recently, at the end of a long drive with Connor and Colton in my car, we pull into Papa Lynn's driveway. I have to drive very slow, attempting to successfully circumnavigate the impressive potholes, of which I'm not sure I can actually see the bottom.

About half way down the drive, I spot a splash of pale pink peaking at us across the top of the field of crazy-tall, free-range grass that used to be my children's front yard. I stop the car.

"Connor. Look," I say, pointing out the car window, to the far corner of the house. "See that flower WAAAAY over there?"
"Yeah, BB," he says.
"That's a pink peony. See it? It's BB's favorite flower."
"Your favorite flower?" he repeats.
"Yep, pink peonies. My favorite."

We pull the rest of the way up the drive, away from the lone pink bloom, as Connor tells me that he doesn't like pink flowers. They are not his favorite. He likes white flowers.

When the ride comes to a full and complete stop, Connor unbuckles himself and jumps out of the car, heading straight for all the stray and strewn Tonka and Tonka-Wanna-Be tractors he left along the gravel walk the last time he was there.

The well-loved and thoroughly abused toys are dirty, bent, peeling and broken. Also, formerly his father's.

There's a grader, a backhoe, a couple dump trucks, a bulldozer and a crane.

The crane is in the worst shape. Poor thing, more moving parts and all. Wheels that won't turn, broken "glass" in the cab, hopelessly knotted cable to control the rusted 'claw' at the end of the bent and double-jointed metal arm.

Connor begins managing and maneuvering equipment for some fantastical construction scenario that only he has the powers to see.

At the same time, I manage and maneuver my own objective: unbuckling Colton, who is not as adept at "Car Seat Escapery" as his older and more 'time-out' prone older brother.

As his parents pull into the driveway a few minutes later, Connor is busy fiddling and fussing with the intricacies of the crane. It seems odd to me that this most broken of the construction vehicles has drawn his unwavering attention. 'Hello' and 'How did it go?' exchanges with my fellow adults, standing by the cars, Connor at our feet.

Connor's dad bends down to see if he can aid the attempt to get this vehicle mobile once more. Eventually, crane straightened out to Connor's satisfaction, on all fours and ready to roll, Connor stands up and yanks the crane by the claw, trying to pull the whole thing behind him. Like a wagon.

It promptly falls over and slides along the wet grass on its side, behind the three year old.

"Connor, hang on," calls his father. "Let's fix it so you can pull it easier." Connor keeps walking. "Connor, wait."
But off he goes, dragging the crane through the thick jungle grass and around the corner of the house to the front yard.

Dad scrambles to catch the boy who is arguing over his shoulder, at the top of his lungs, when he sees his father getting close.

"Connor, don't drag it through the grass. Tip it back over." But to no avail.

Then Dad is diverted by Colton, the nearly-two year old, who is heading for the mail box, near the road.

It's like the two boys had a conversation in the car before we pulled into the driveway.
"Okay, Colton, you distract everyone by heading for traffic and then I'll get to slide off the radar and get away with whatever I want." To which Colton says, "Uh!" And the deal is sealed.

From a distance, I follow Connor around the corner and all along the front of the house. Maintaining a space between us that keeps him from feeling threatened by the possibility of unnecessary adult intervention. The rusty metals edges and corners of the toy catching clumps of grass and dirt as it clunks along behind the determined boy.

I figure he is either headed for the tire swing that is so old and tired now, it scrapes the dirt beneath it when you dare to make it swing. The Old Tired Swing.

Or he is headed around the next corner as well, to circle the entire house. (A well-worn track he never tires of.)

When we get almost to the corner, by Papa Lynn's bedroom window, instead of staying on the grass, Connor starts walking straight into the muddy and soggy flower bed.
(Calling this area a 'flower bed' is an exercise in blind faith, as it is completely overgrown with shrubs and bushes and this one puny little peony plant with a single pink blossom.)

I try to get him back on the grass but he dodges my reach and tromps right into the mushy earth.

His dad heads our way, telling the three year old to get out of the flower bed.

Stopped now, with all his strength Connor works and works to get the rusty hinge of the claw to loosen. Working it opened and closed.

As we stand near the pink flower that I pointed out to him earlier, Connor clamps the jaw of the crane's claw onto the stem of the pink peony. Just below the full and boisterous head, he tugs with everything he has.
"No, Connor," his dad says. "Don't pick the flower. That's Papa Lynn's flower."

"Actually, it's not Papa Lynn's," I say. "I planted that peony when I lived here. It's mine." Then looking down at the crane operator, I nod. "It's okay, Connor. You can have the flower. Go ahead."

He yanks on the plant with the jaws of the bent and rusted steel (or whatever Tonka Knock-offs are made of) and the head of the bloom pops off. Connor pulls it from the clamp's teeth and hands it to me. "Here BB!"

My favorite flower. My single most favorite flower of all time.

02 July 2012

Okay, It's not krumping exactly, but still...I want dance credit!

I am kind of known for hating a big surprise.

If you ask me why this is, I'll look you straight in the face and say that it's because I love looking forward to something, at least as much as I like the something itself.

Which is technically true but kind of like the 'rationalization-flavored' frosting atop the real reason cake.

I have a tiny little control freak as the network administrator of my mind. Don't scold me; I'm working on it.

As uncomfortable as it can be for me when others surprise me with some grand event (I said, "I'm working on it!!"), I get a huge rush when I surprise myself. I love when this happens.

Taking oneself by surprise. Impossible to orchestrate that, but I sing and twirl when it happens......even (and I have witnesses) in the rain on the loading dock.