Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This Old House

"Home is where one starts from."
--T. S. Eliot

Can I just tell you how excited I am about tonight?

Since January, the four cousins have made a concerted effort to get together for dinner once a month just to stay close. And considering we are four adults with husbands and girlfriends and a combined six kids, if is often quite a concerted effort . . . but always well worth it.

We rotate houses each month, and this month, we are at Jason's.

And this is HUGE. Let me tell you why.

My grandparents built a house in their younger days. This is the house they lived in for my growing-up years and the house we practically lived at when we weren't at our own homes. Every Sunday, we all gathered there. Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter too. We spent eleventy-seven kabillion hours there. This is the house where the four cousins became one seriously tight bunch.

The cousins with Grandmama at "the house" in 1991

When Granddaddy died, Grandmama bought the smaller house next door and my parents (along with my sister and me) moved into "the house" so we could be close to Grandmama. 

I lived in that house all through high school and college. That's the house I lived in when Stephen and I started dating. That's the house I moved out of when Stephen and I got married.

And once Grandmama got to the point where she really couldn't live by herself anymore, she and my parents sold both houses and got a house for the three of them to live in.

We all hated selling "the house." We had so many memories there. So many memories.

But we consoled ourselves with photographs and stories from the old days, and life went on . . . without the house . . . for about 5 years or so.

Until last year (on my birthday, no less), my cousin (and cohort in crime at "the house") called to let me know he had bought "the house" back! We were all beyond thrilled to have it back in the family.

So tonight, we reconvene at that house as a larger family. I can't wait for my two kids to run around the backyard with their cousins just as I did so many years ago with mine. And I can't wait to hear what they think about it. 

I hope they think it's as magical a place as I do.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Ate a Bug

 It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess. One of those Circle of Life kind of things.
--Hopper, "A Bug's Life"

It wasn't on the bucket list, but last night I had the opportunity to eat a chocolate-covered bug . . . so in the interest of stepping outside my comfort zone, I took it.

My friend Cindy at Candy Bouquet of Lexington sells chocolate-covered larvae (I don't know what kind. It's better that way.) and crickets in her store. Apparently, she sells a ton. And she brought me some to try.

I popped a whole larva in my mouth because I didn't want to see if there was any goo inside. Turns out, that wasn't an issue. It was dry and crispy. I got brave with the cricket and bit it in half to see what was inside. When I pulled it away from my mouth, one of its legs didn't want to let go. It also was dried out and kind of looked like a chocolate-covered piece of crisped rice cereal.

It tasted like chicken.

Just kidding. It didn't really taste like anything but chocolate, but it left all kinds of pieces-parts on my tongue and in my teeth (enjoy your lunch). I tried to take a picture of the parts on my tongue, but apparently they're invisible but still very gross and annoying.

I did manage to get a pic of one sad larva left on the plate.

So yep, I ate a bug (or two). It was on purpose. And I don't think I'll do it again unless I'm in a Hunger Games type of situation. 

"May the odds be ever in your favor."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Tribute to Malynda

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
--Isaiah 40:31 

I know I've been kind of MIA for the past little bit, but I just haven't had words to share. My friend Malynda passed away last week after a four-year battle with breast cancer. And because I've spent so much time on this blog talking about Grandmama, I shied away from writing about Malynda because I didn't want to be "the saddest blogger in blogland."

I think, though, that until I put my thoughts in writing, I can't officially wrap my head around a concept, and this one has been particularly hard for me to grasp.

Malynda is the first peer I've lost. I've been to so many funerals in my life and have lost tons of people who mean a lot to me, but this one was different. Malynda had a son the same age as my Jack. She was 41 years old, and I had known her since I was about 8.

She and I grew up together in church. We both married older fellas that we met at church. Our husbands were friends long before we ever married them. I have known and loved her gigantic network of parents, cousins, uncles and aunts my whole life. They have been by my family's side through every awful and joyful occasion we've ever had: marriages, deaths, baptisms, illness . . .

Malynda and my Stephen at a Think Pink party after her first bout with breast cancer.

I will never forget when my Mo was about 9 months old and was in the hospital with RSV for a week, Malynda came to the hospital one day and spent hours with me. She made me laugh, hugged me when I cried and let me catch a few minutes of sleep while she watched over my daughter.

She was one of the truest friends I've ever had.

Does that mean we always got along? Heck, no. We disagreed over lots of things. She was a strong, opinionated character, and she let me know if she didn't agree with my ideas. And I didn't always think she handled things the way I would have. But at the end of the day, we could sit down, discuss our differences, often agree to disagree and move on . . . always with a hug and an "I love you."

She loved her God, her family and her friends with an intensity I admired. And she fought the beast breast cancer like a champ. I know she must have gotten weak and tired, but she never gave up. What a blessing to those of us she left behind to witness that fight.

She said she might lose her battle with cancer, but she knew the victory was hers in the end. She is with her Lord now, and she can laugh again (she had the best laugh) and breathe freely.

I pray now for her family. For her husband and son. For her parents. For her brother and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts and uncles. I pray they know how much I love Malynda, how much I miss hearing her strong voice singing hymns a few rows behind me in church. And I pray they find comfort in knowing that Malynda  was a strong spiritual example to hundreds of people, if not more, in her short time here on Earth. She was a tremendous blessing to me.

Until we meet again, sweet friend . . .

Monday, May 7, 2012

Home Sweet Home

"A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless."
--May Sarton

Is it sad that my sister just called and asked what I was up to, and when I told her I was putting on earrings, she asked where I was going?

Just checking.

I think I should get out more.