Tag Archives: love

Clifford Would Kill Me …


Clifford would kill me for writing this, but then he doesn’t read my blog, so I guess it’s the same principle of a tree falling in a forest and all that jazz.  He hates celebrating his birthday and I made a promise to him several years ago that I wouldn’t do it anymore. That said, his birthday is tomorrow and I wanted to publicly celebrate how much I love my big stubborn bearded man. He is perfect for me in every way, and the reason I know this? German. Art House. Installations. Maybe one day I’ll expound on that, but just know that’s love, folks. Real, true, unadulterated love …



Remember This



Not The Way My Friday Was Supposed To Go


It has been a day. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen hints about the shittiness of this day as it unfolded in real time, but 140 characters does not allow me to fully convey the depths of frustration, despair, and anguish I’ve endured. Today is Friday. I wanted to write a fun blog post, leading you into the weekend with a smile on your face and a happiness in your heart that can sometimes only happen on a Friday. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, you can read me rant about passive aggressive martyrdom, missing DMVs, button-pushing husbands, bad hair days, alternators meeting their end, and GPS coordinates gone wrong.

But I hate to do that to you. Why add negativity to the world? Bottle that shit up I say, put on a brave face, and move forward. We should be sharing love and positivity and hoping it spreads like wildfire. Yeah, my day didn’t go as planned. And yeah, I may have had a couple of mini meltdowns witnessed (and possibly caused) by Clifford, but the bottom line is, that in the grand scheme of life, things could always be worse, and many someones out there have had much worse days than mine. My day can be cured with a glass bottle of wine and Nutella. Not everyone can say the same.

Try to focus on the things that matter this weekend. The big picture type stuff that gets hidden beneath the pile of our dirty laundry life. Appreciate what you have and be sure to send love to those who matter to you.  Because life is short. 




Aunt Lee

Angel  header

It was my first trip to Atlanta with Clifford. His folks were throwing a party. I don’t recall the occasion. For them it could have been to celebrate a momentous life event or to simply celebrate the friendships they’d cultivated in their years since immigrating to the states. See, when I first met Clifford, his family had only been here for four years. They had no immediate family when they first arrived stateside, so the friendships they built were important to them.  There was one group in particular, however, that went beyond the box of “beloved friends”. Family isn’t always blood, and that’s what they were. They were family.

So when people started arriving and being introduced to Clifford’s female friend, I had already heard a lot about them. The Orffs – they were a package deal so it seemed. Three boys, the folks, Uncle Bob and Aunt Lee. They were  New Yorkers that had somehow found their way down South. I didn’t have to understand it, but as I longed for Northern conversations, I quickly accepted it (says the Hoosier umpteen years later still living well below the Mason-Dixon line). They were loud. They were funny. And they knew how to drink. I liked them immediately.

This is them (basically).

This is them (and Scott).

There was one standout among them, though. She had me at “Darlin”. Aunt Lee became my favorite person on the planet that day. Though married, she was an independent woman. She owned her own business when she didn’t need to work. She was smart, gorgeous, and so full of love – for everyone. It radiated off her in a way I can’t describe, but the moment she walked into a room, the energy changed. There was light. It was a bright light. Her smile was so sincere and her laugh was so contagious. She had everyone’s attention and we were all wrapped around her finger, yet she had no idea. That’s what made her so special.

A little ball of sunshine and some sisterly love.

Sisterly love.

Through the years she would offer me words of wisdom about sisters, spouses and stuff. She had a faith in Clifford and I that warmed my heart. She took me to pick out our wedding bands. She welcomed us to our new home. She suffered losses but became all the stronger for them. She was a selfless and steady rock for others over and over and over again. She never met a stranger and she loved with her whole heart.  Aunt Lee was the type of person everyone should strive to be. I can only hope to one day have an ounce of the compassion and the love this woman expressed and exuded on a daily basis.

We lose people throughout our lives. It’s just what we do. Some we lose because of distance. Some we lose because of pride. Some we lose because we change and grow. And some we lose because it’s simply their time to go.  The latter forces us to evaluate our lives a little more closely. It forces us to reflect on who we are now and compare that to who we once were, all while contemplating who we could be. I met Aunt Lee 17 years ago. My life was changed for the better for having had her in it, no matter how short that time was cut. We could never have enough Aunt Lee in our lives. Take a moment today, tomorrow, soon, to contemplate who you could be. Sieze the day, darlins. She always did.


The Waffle House Epiphany

I’ve noticed how Waffle House is a thing here in Atlanta. Granted it’s from Atlanta, but still, its popularity surprised me when I first made the move (maybe because the one in Savannah had a serial killer vibe and a what seemed like a call girl call center in the parking lot). Clifford told me Waffle House was a high school hang out for him back in the day. A late night place to go for greasy food fast, sobering up any alcohol addled brain that wandered through its double doors. For me, IHOP was the It Spot in college and Hacienda was the place to be in high school. Regardless the exact chain, local eatery or bar, one always seems to unintentionally seek and find their own St. Elmo’s wherever they are.

Waffle House is not exactly St. Elmo’s for Clifford and me. The man just really likes breakfast and apparently waffles. That said, it has become “our place”. Which is weird and slightly sad that “our place” is Waffle House and not like Ruth’s Chris. But hey, 5 bucks a person is different than 50 bucks a person, so Waffle House as “Our Place” it is. Here’s the crux, it’s really about our time together there, to catch up on each other’s week, make fun of things we find ridiculous, and gossip about the people in our lives (sorry people in our lives) because we often have opposite widely ranging schedules. It’s not about the giant chocolate chip waffles being served (although for Clifford I think it might kinda be about the giant chocolate chip waffles being served …).

Regardless, it’s a moment where I get to slow things down, no TV, no Twitter, no emails, and just enjoy my husband’s company for 45 minutes straight. It’s where I get a chance to rediscover the little things. Like how he has one green eye and one brown. How frustrated he gets when people don’t understand the difference between cement and concrete. How his South African A’s are sounding more and more Midwestern these days. How fish is a side dish, not a main meal. His teary eyed soap box about how wrong and repulsive Americans’ love for sweet and meat is as I pour maple syrup on my bacon once again.

I also take stock of the qualities I never noticed before, after all these years, often times adding much clarity to our relationship and reaffirming the love I have for this man. Such as I did on this day a while back.

I rarely order waffles at Waffle House. Clifford will tell you that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I sit down and contemplate a waffle every time, yet seldom actually order one. And every time, this exact conversation is had:

Me: I’m SO hungry. I think I might get a waffle this time.

Cliff: Don’t get a waffle. You don’t really want a waffle. You just think you do.

Me: Not true! I think I really want a waffle today.

Cliff: No. You’ll order the waffle and eat half of the waffle then complain the entire day about how sick you are because of it. Don’t get a waffle.

He’s right. This happens every time. And even though I’m well aware of this, sometimes a Waffle House waffle just needs to be ordered and eaten (even if partially so). I ordered a waffle on that day. This is what hit me.  The way Clifford and I each approach eating our waffles is the way we each approach living our lives.

I order a plain waffle, a clean slate that needs my personal touch to make it truly great. My plate is set before me and without hesitation I begin. I throw as much butter at it as I can, then I pour the syrup. I’m not a huge syrup lover actually, so I go a little light on that, but I do “draw” faces with it as I pour because it makes me smile. Sometimes I even laugh out loud at the funny faces I create. Clifford hates this. Then I start grabbing pieces of the center because it’s the best part! I’m actually tearing at the waffle not really cutting it. It’s aggressive. Next I mix in eating an edge because I still have to save a little bit of the best part for last. I throw in a swig of juice here or there. Halfway through, I haphazardly add more butter and more syrup before randomly, but enthusiastically, tearing off another piece of waffle to pop into my mouth. The waffle is loved, but messy. It’s a messy love. It’s chaos, but it works for me.

Clifford orders a chocolate chip waffle. His plate is set before him and he immediately sets it aside. He will eat and drink everything else – the eggs, the bacon the smothered and covered hashbrowns, his two cups of coffee, anything and everything else placed before him is consumed but his waffle. Once he’s ready for it, he slides everything away and places his waffle neatly front and center. It is time for the waffle to have as much attention as the rest of his meal. Clifford smoothly and evenly spreads a touch of butter across the entire thing. He then carefully pours the syrup over his waffle in a clockwise motion creating a spiral from the crisp outer edges to the softer center. He does this twice. Then he picks up his knife and fork and begins methodically dissecting his waffle into precisely four equal parts. He then rotates his plate, picking one fourth and systematically dissects it into fourths as well. Finally he puts one perfectly cut (with a SUPER dull butter knife mind you) piece of waffle into his mouth. After one larger fourth has been eaten, he rotates his plate, moving onto the next and proceeds to dissect it into smaller fourths the same way he did with the first and so on and so on until his plate is clean. He never adds extra butter or syrup having anticipated just the right amount needed for his enjoyment, factoring in the waffle element absorption rate and level of sweetness to satisfaction ratio. It’s meticulous, but it works for him.

Watching him do this the other day, looking back and forth between our two plates, is when I had my epiphany. We are the way we eat. There’s no wrong, an approach is an approach, but the way Clifford and I eat is why we work so well together. We balance one another. When you’re someone who dives in head first, you need someone who carefully takes the steps instead to make sure you haven’t cracked your head on the bottom of the pool.

At least on that day, I couldn’t think of a clearer illustration.






A 45 Year Anniversary

I’m a few weeks late, but since yesterday was Valentine’s, might as well post it now… a HUGE shout out to my mom and dad.

Happy 45th Wedding Anniversary!!!

wedding anniversary

Dazzling Diana and Dapper Dave – I’d say here’s to 45 more, but let’s be honest, the folks aren’t exactly Duncan MacLeod. BUT, here is to many many more beautiful and wonderful memories and anniversaries to come!

Without your union, I wouldn’t be here today.

And glad I happened. The goats are glad, too.

And boy I’m glad I happened. The goats are glad, too.

I seriously can’t thank you enough for everything through the years. Words are not enough. Pretty sure I have four other siblings that feel the same way. Love you both SO MUCH! Happy Anniversary!



The Music Challenge #14: The Wedding Weekend

Still celebrating the approach of 10 crazy years of marriage with the man I love. There was so much good music that weekend. Again, I went the cheap but smart route having little sis play DJ. As I mentioned before, some of these may be totally cliché, but it doesn’t make them less awesome or less appropriate for someone’s big day.

Adding to The Music Challenge …

Before every wedding there’s always a rehearsal dinner. For ours, we invited anyone that was in town back to the lodge for a lovely brai. People were mingling on every floor. I was with the younger adult crowd laughing and sharing on the lower level with the pool table and bar. THIS moment was one of the BEST moments of the entire weekend. My great friend, and wedding stylist extraordinaire, serenaded us with an acapella version of this little ditty. It was AMAZING.  Well, probably because HE is amazing. He blew everyone away. And I felt like it was this sweet little gift only he could give me for my wedding weekend.

90. Tim Curry, Sweet Transvestite (1975)

My brother made the wedding party announcements as we arrived back to the lodge. He introduced each bridesmaid and groomsman; then it was our turn. One of the few requests I gave my DJ. Clifford and I were going to walk into this one as a married couple so help me. Because, you know, it’s Billy Bloody Idol.

91. Billy Idol, White Wedding (1982)

My little sister had compiled a fantastic mix of genres. My sisters, Chelle, my Stylist Extraordinaire and myself sang and danced all night long. We were on the top floor literally shaking the house at times, but there was no stopping us. We crooned, we belted, we bopped and we boogied until the wee hours of the morning. Here are just a few that made my wedding reception the most incredible party it could have possibly been.

92. Fred Astaire, Just The Way You Look Tonight (1959)

93. Sister Sledge, We Are Family (1979)

94. The Cure, It’s Friday I’m In Love (1992)

95. The Temptations, My Girl (1965)

96.  Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’ (1981)

97. The Chiffons, One Fine Day (1963)

98. Blue Swede, Hooked On A Feeling (1974)

99. The Reflections, (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet (1964)

100. Billy Joel, Uptown Girl (1983)

101. The Tokens, The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1961)

102. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, You’re The One That I Want (1978)

103. Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World (1969)

104. Ben E. King, Stand By Me (1962)




The Music Challenge #13: A Love Story

As with any great love story, music helps share the narrative. Clifford and I are not a great love story, but we still have songs to tell our tale. As I mentioned last week, I’m taking this month to celebrate our upcoming 10th Anniversary, and that includes the music along with it. Which kinda maybe sorta helps me a bit with The Music Challenge (not like I’ve fallen behind schedule there at all or anything).

There are a lot of songs I could list while reminiscing our time together over the years. Many involving our 1500 break ups, but this month is all about the love.

So here we go, adding to the Music Challenge, and sharing our love story at the same time …

The beginning…

When I first met Clifford, I questioned his taste in music. He wasn’t that fresh off the boat, but he was still going through this European phase where he was totally loving Techno. If there are two kinds of music I really can’t handle, it’s Country and probably Techno. Maybe it’s not even called Techno anymore, I don’t know, but it’s that wholly unoriginal and insane electronic noise with a repetitiveness that persists to the point of grating on my every last nerve.  It seriously all sounds the same. And because it all sounds the same, I could basically pick any Techno song ever made and insert it here. But because he still has their CDs downstairs, I will give you the Chemical Brothers as a reminder that I probably shouldn’t have dated Clifford to begin with.

84. Chemical Brothers, Brothers Gonna Work It Out (1998)

Our first song…

We would drive out to Tybee Island at like 3 in the morning during our college years. First as friends, then as more than friends. I am the last person to say they overplay songs on the radio. To me, the ones people whine about being overplayed are the popular ones that I love. Why hear them less when you can hear them more? Shawn Mullins’s Lullaby played probably every 15 minutes back then. I can say, quite sincerely, it was overplayed. But it also played every time we were together.  Ipso facto it became our song — temporarily, of course. Now I hear it and I want to scratch out my eyes but with something very dull to make the pain lengthy and excruciating because that’s what I deserve for ever having picked this song as “our song” (though really it was Clifford who picked it – a story for another day).  Anyway, here it is, our first song …

85. Shawn Mullins, Lullaby (1998)

Our actual song? ….. Typical? Yeah. Expected? Of course. True? You betcha. And probably one of my favorite songs of all time. Reminds me of the man I adore every time I hear it.

86. Ozzie Nelson, Dream a Little Dream (1931)

Now, moving forward, please keep in mind, that deep down, for all my bravado, I am a total cheeseball at heart. I’m a tourist. I’m stereotypical. I like tacky, over-the-top and yet completely expected things. So some of these songs are going to be cliché. Probably most of them, and overly so. I’m okay with that because I basically consider myself one big walking talking cliché. Not a lot of nuance to my actions and overall approach to life, but again, I’m ok with that.

The ceremony…

I had promised myself from the moment I was introduced to this song on our good old Commodore 128 that I would walk down the aisle to it. And I did.

87. Pachelbel Canon in D (a wicked long time ago)

We had hired a violinist as our music maker for the wedding. I found out shortly before that the violinist had to cancel and was replaced with a flutist? Clifford didn’t notice. I didn’t really either. In fact, when I brought it up the other day because I’d forgotten the ordeal he said, ”Are you kidding me? We spent actual money on a *expletive* flutist for our wedding? SERIOUSLY???!” The only thing I cared about other than nailing Canon in D for my entrance, was playing this song as we made our exit as a newly married couple. Let’s just say it’s not the same being played on a flute (okay, maybe a violin wouldn’t have been much better, but a flute?) …

88. Natalie Cole, This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) (1975)

Let’s skip to the wedding reception now shall we? I essentially hired my little sister to be our DJ for our big to-do. Her fee was gratis. She had a ridiculous song library, and this was really back before iTunes was anything to note. It was more like the Nabster or Limewire days… you know, when music was free– in an illegal kind of way. Because Cliff and I are cheap and were totally broke, and she really does have good taste in music, and our rehearsal dinner and reception venues had a built-in sound system, girl basically burned a bunch of CDs and let them spin.  She did a pretty killer job and took the few requests I had and added them in. No Country or Techno music was allowed, of course.

Our first dance…

Could there be any other song for that moment? It should be law.

89. Etta James, At Last (1961)

That was the first and only time I have ever danced with my husband. He stepped on my feet every second of the song, but all I really remember is his big doofy grin. It was amazing.

More songs will be mentioned over the next few weeks as I share details of our special event, but  I’ll leave you with these for now. Enjoy them as much as I enjoy them (except the Chemical Brothers, of course).




Throw-Back-Monday: The Proposal

With a milestone anniversary just around the bend, I thought I would dedicate these next few throw-backs to the year I was wed and all of the planning and prep (or lack thereof) that came along with it.

I’m starting with The Proposal.

Today is ten years to the day that Clifford proposed. We were married approximately 31 days later on October 1st in 2005. Sounds like a quick engagement, right? Let me backtrack just a bit. Ten years ago today was the day Clifford officially proposed (because he had to). The notion of marrying me and throwing it out there as the world’s most grand and romantic gesture a gal can receive actually happened in January of that year.

Clifford was visiting me in Savannah just after the New Year. He’d finished his Masters and had found a job up in the Atlanta area, near where his family lived. Clearly, I was still living and working four hours away. Being the sappy son of gun that he is *cough*, I remember the moment as plain as yesterday – although I shouldn’t use that phrase. I can hardly remember what I had for lunch let alone what happened yesterday. But I digress …

I was sitting in my apartment on 49th Street. I was working on something on the couch with the TV on in the background. Cliff was wandering around and casually passed behind me saying, “I guess you can go ahead and plan a wedding if you want.”

Totally taken aback and not really believing what I was hearing, because this was the guy that was NEVER getting married, I looked up at him and laughed.

He looked confused, “What?”

I said, “Very funny.”

He said, ”Just go ahead and plan it … or whatever.”

Me:  “Are you being serious right now?”

Him: ”Yes. Why not? Might as well.”

It took me a moment to process what was happening. We had discussed how we wouldn’t do an engagement ring if this ever happened with us so we could save money (though we did browse a store once a couple years before with me talking about my likes and dislikes while Clifford aimlessly stared at the ceiling with a pained and somewhat constipated look upon his face), so the fact he was quasi-proposing without a ring wasn’t what was confusing me. It was the fact he was quasi-proposing at all.

I looked up at him from the couch and said, “Ok.”

He said, “Ok. So when were you thinking?”

Me, “I don’t know. I love fall. How about October? Does that work?”

Cliff, “Sure. Whatever. Just make it happen and I’ll be there.”

So I was engaged! Kinda …

I ended up picking October 1st. So, less than 10 months to plan a wedding. It could be done. Especially after I realized that I wasn’t as into the party planning as I thought I would be. I’ll focus on all of that in other posts, but just know for today’s throw-back that the next several months were spent organizing the wedding here and there.

It was July and he had just told his parents. Why he waited almost six months to share the joyous news with them, I have no idea, regardless, things were coming together. We’d secured the venue, a preacher, yadda yadda yadda, and that’s when I realized I’d never been asked. Clifford never actually asked me to marry him. In the words of some SNL skit – What’s up with that?

I pointed this out to my supposed fiancé. He shrugged. Don’t shrug at me. I told him he needed to actually ask me to marry him. I told him that if he didn’t ask me by August 31st, I was going to call the whole thing off and I didn’t care. He and I would both cut off our noses to spite our faces. We are those people. We are argumentative. We are button pushers. We are the killer of dreams. And we do this to constantly one-up each other in an unspoken yet understood war of Winning At Everything that has been raging between us for years.  That’s how we roll. That’s also why we are stuck with each other – no one else would put up with that shit.

So, weeks went by. Never a word from this man. I had finally moved from Savannah to Atlanta. I was bunking with my sister-in-law before the wedding while Clifford was rooming with some old friends from high school. Before I knew it, August 31st had arrived. Clifford calls.

Clifford: So…want to maybe go get dinner tonight or something?

Me (knowing full well it was the 31st): Okaaaay. What did you have in mind?

Clifford: I was thinking maybe Aspens (a fancy shmancy restaurant patroned by people like us only for special occasions or, you know, never)

Me: That sounds good. I’ve never been.

Clifford: I know. We’ll go at 8.

So we went to Aspens. It was lovely. Of course I knew what he was up to the entire time. Leave it to Clifford  to leave things till the very last minute because I’m telling you, that deadline was firm. I was as serious as a heart attack when I tossed him that closing date.

We’d made it through almost the entire dinner and he still hadn’t asked me to marry him. You have got to be kidding me. Then he started looking around like people were watching us and without making any eye contact whatsoever, he grabbed my hands in his beneath the table. Finally he looked at me and said he had something to ask me. Here it was. I WAS ABOUT TO GET MY PROPOSAL!!!

His hands kept fidgeting and he had the biggest grin I think I’ve ever seen him wear as he slowly shoved something in my hand and said, “So …I was thinking … maybe … would you want to marry me?”

And though I totally saw this coming all day, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile and say yes. Typical Clifford. Then he shoved my hands away as he said, “Ok. So I did it. Happy now?” Also typical Clifford.

Then he asked, ”Aren’t you going to look at your hands?”

I had actually forgotten he’d put something in them because there was this totally sweet, completely sincere moment being had that like never happens between us. I looked down and it was a box. I opened it and inside was the most beautiful engagement ring I could have possibly asked for. He. Nailed. It. Everything I’d said and pointed to in that jewelry store like two years before, had been heard. It was exactly what I wanted. I knew he had to have sacrificed big time to get it. I teared up. This I did not see coming.  Love that man.

LibandCliff proposal1

Our engagement photos … I know what you’re thinking – they are so happy and beautiful. Oh, young love … blah blah blah

LibandCliff proposal 2

The truth is, we were totally pissed at each other that day. We’d been yelling at one another so loudly they had to have heard us in China, and we continued to do so right up until Jelena (my college buddy, dubs partner and photographer extraordinaire) showed up to take the shots. Fake it till you make it, right? I laugh so hard every time I look at these because clearly pictures can be deceiving. 

To be continued …


Throw-Back-Monday: Going Home

I had to go home a little over a week ago. I don’t know when I’ll stop calling it home. I haven’t lived there for nearly 17 years, but for some reason, I still call it home. Maybe because I don’t feel like Atlanta is my final calling and more like a temporary stopover to wherever my home will one day be (which will never be in rural Northern Indiana, I assure you). I don’t know. The thing is, every time I go “home” to that small little town twenty minutes from Michigan, a tiny part of me wishes I wasn’t there. I like remembering how things were, and things have changed so much over the years. Old haunts and locales I thought I’d never forget are sometimes unrecognizable to me now. But then there are the few things that never change – like idiots driving 54 in a 55 on US6 (I curse each and every one of you. Every. Time.) OR Ruth’s and Joe’s house.

I wasn’t “home” for the happiest of situations.  I was home because Joe had passed away. Ruth and Joe are Chelle’s parents. Those of you who read my blog regularly know Chelle’s my best friend in this world.

That's us. Two besties playing it bad ass. That's how we roll.

That’s us. Two besties playing it bad ass at Ruth’s and Joe’s. That’s how we rolled. Still do.

Ruth and Joe were like second parents to me. They were ridiculously supportive in my formative years and beyond. They welcomed me and all of Chelle’s friends into their home asking us to make it our own.  And we did.

The house is down a long gravel lane set back from a country road (for those of you not from these parts – everything is off of a country road). The moment I pulled in, this time in my Acadia in lieu of the old high school Ford Taurus Sedan, I still peeled down the drive like I always did leaving a cloud of white dust in my wake. I remember every time he saw me do it, Joe would say, “There’s Lib. Driving like a bat out of hell.” And yet he still trusted his daughter’s life in my hands as we’d take off for our next big adventure to parts unknown. Ok. They were always known; we were teenagers. So maybe to like the Friday night football game?


I stayed at their house for one night while I was up there. Just walking through the front door brought so many memories rushing back . Maybe some of the furniture had changed, but the feelings the house evoked hadn’t changed at all. I was left alone in it for a little bit, locking things up before the viewing that day.  I took the opportunity to wander around, not knowing when I’d be there again, and smiling as certain moments from events past sprang to mind (For the record, Ruth, I was totally not creeping in your house—  just wandering and reminiscing, NOT CREEPING. I promise!).

Apparently some furniture had stayed the same. I found one of the old couches we used at every get-together. I was surprised we hadn’t completely destroyed it all those years ago.

Just one of many times we used the famous couch for goofy photo ops.

One of many goofy photo ops on Famous Couch


Case in point.

Just another case in point.

It was still sitting upstairs in the loft. That’s where we would always be – upstairs in the loft. We’d play euchre. We’d watch movies. We’d enjoyed games like Truth or Dare.

A little Twister.

A little Twister here and there.

We had slumber parties.

Chelle does have pants on. I swear ...???

Chelle does have pants on. I swear …???

Superbowl parties. Dinner parties.

Typical bunch of misfits having dinner at the house.

Typical bunch of misfits having dinner at the house.

We did makeup and hair…

After my brief stroll down memory lane (in a not creepy way remember), I had stepped outside to let the dogs do their business (one was Chelle’s and one was Ruth’s and Joe’s) . I was promised neither one would run away. Apparently that rule only applies when squirrels aren’t in the picture as I watched, completely mortified, as Ruth’s and Joe’s little sweetheart tore off for one of the speedy rodents across the property towards the open field.  So there I was, running over the lawn in sharp high heels, screaming at the top of my lungs in 25 degree temps, trying to stop him when suddenly all of the nights we spent playing capture the flag hit me, too. We’d don black clothes and divvy up into two teams. We’d run covert ops through the woods and over the grassy knolls with only the moonlight to guide our way… For those still worried about the dog, Barkley did make it back to the house while I was lost in my mind – crisis averted. Thank God!

I remembered bonfires and swimming parties. I remembered teepeeing those woods more than once  and hauling ass with Darewood down that damn gravel drive (we’d park by the country road so we wouldn’t be seen – it’d always seem like a smart idea before we tossed the tissue in the trees, but it became the dumbest idea ever as we sprinted back like half a mile in the middle of the night as if our lives depended on it).

I remembered Chelle’s engagement celebration. I remembered sitting on the back porch sharing a glass of wine with Ruth and Joe.

As much as things feel a bit foreign when I’m back now, Ruth’s and Joe’s house made me feel like I was home again. That feeling wasn’t because of the house they’d built, but because of the love they provided to anyone and everyone who stepped foot inside. I am so lucky and thankful for the Blackburn clan who unconditionally adopted me into their family so many years ago. I would do anything for those people as I know they’d do anything for me. I can never thank them enough.

The Blackburn Clan

The Blackburn Clan

I didn’t mean for this post to get so sappy and sentimental as basically every story I have relating to Ruth’s and Joe’s is actually rather crazy, comical, or fun. I was just a bit surprised that day because though I was brought there under sad circumstances, I found my heart wasn’t filled with sadness at all. It was filled with the purest  joy and love as I wandered around reliving those amazing moments we shared. And that’s the way life should be.

For Joe …