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Falling for the Weekend

It is Fall here in the south. The weather is turning cooler, with the highs in the low 80’s and high 70’s. At night the air is crisp and cool, promising the cold of the winter to come. In a word, it is delicious. I love this time of year. The air-conditioning gets turned off and the windows or up at night, as the cooler temperatures makes sleeping under a warm blanket a wonderful experience…until you try to get out of bed the next morning. Car rides have the windows down and the radio up, as the cool fall air mixes with  the warm sun to make the perfect recipe for road trip.

The fall festivals have already started, and the leaves are beginning to turn colors. The air is light and fresh, as  are the spirits of those around. Yes, it is fall, yummy, cool, promising, busy and fun. This weekend was a great taste of what is to come.

Family is a big part of my life. My youngest nephew came up with his girlfriend to explore and go to see a concert. Leaving us boring adults behind, they went shopping, eating, concert going and had much fun just being together. But I suspect we boring old people had much more fun.

Friday night were “crack tots” and beer with friends. Crack tots, true to their name, are highly addictive. You cannot just have one of these delicious tots dipped in equally addictive cheese sauce.  Thank goodness they have no calories either (at least that is what I tell myself as I devour them). Later that night my nephew and his girlfriend arrived, and there was much laughter and love.

Saturday was crazy busy, as once again the two lovebirds went out looking for cool things to do in Atlanta. Breakfast was cooked, more laughter and lots of activity around the Burch household. Then it was time for the adults to play, as we planned a fun time downtown. A friend of mine has a brother who bought a favorite bar, so we went down for the celebration. And we celebrated a lot. There were hugs of friend that I had not seen for a=years, laughter, catching up, eating and drinking. There was great live music, an old bank vault filled with everything Elvis, dancing and lots of Johnny Cash. There were pictures and smiles, and of course, several times I nearly tripped.

Sunday brought about sleeping late, brunching and lots of laughter and love

And I have to say that I am falling in love…with this season, and these weekends, and my family, and this time, these moments, in life. I am falling for Fall. And it is wonderfully delicious!

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Of Storms

I sit on the back porch, looking out over the water as the wind and thunder whip around in all directions. Lighting flashes brilliantly and the smell of the rain comes in with sound of its drops in the trees.

The power is out, but it’s no loss. And one would think with as much rain as here has been lately I would be sick of it. But there is seething wonderful about when it rains in the country, out on the water. It is beautiful- the sights, sounds and smells of a storm rolling in. Something wild, untame and primal.

Life is that way sometimes too. We ride out the storm, go through the waves, roll wih the current and hope we don’t have to swim upstream too often. We take frequent breaks to rest when we do.

I wish I could write something deep and wise at this moment. Wish I could impart some deeply philosophical gem of thought. But the truth is things have been a bit introverted lately. I have been tending to my own.

And now it is time to enjoy the storm, now that I am no longer in the middle of it. Now it is time to sit on the safety of my porch; covered, dry and protected, on awe of the storms raw power. No wonder we may feel overwhelmed when we are in its path.

And I pour a glass of wine, breath in the soft wet air, and smile.

In Between

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.– Katharine Hepburn

In between the blogs, the words typed and thoughts discovered, have been many events, smiles, laughter, fingernail painting, hopes, dreams, wishes and secrets. Indeed, life has been full, overflowing even. Jobs and contracts, handwritten notes and typed reports. I have flown, walked, driven, screamed, caught flowers, played jokes, broken rules, taken risks and won poker games. I have even felt a young man’s teeth on my thigh, as he slid a garter on my leg, then took the garter off, then put the garter back on, all with his teeth, at  my best friends wedding, all caught on tape.

There has been moving out, moving in and moving on. Many dinners, countless dirty dishes, some desserts and more glasses of wine. Family, friends, new chances, things gained, moments lost, seconds taken and actions pondered. I have cried in joy, frustration, fear and from missing someone. From missing you and your voice, and your touch.

The garage is full, closet packed, trunk empty, attic organized, grill bought, freezer stacked and shelves lovingly cleared. I have seen my best and longest friends married, seen one loose a friend, one get divorced. A close friend get a promotion, one loose a job, one pack to move and start over and one going back home.

Oh yes, in between the writing, there has been so much, of everything, to tide me over. And so many times, I feel as if I am about to pop if I don’t run and write it all down, saving, recording each moment, expressing each detail. But  that would require my absence in the moment, and I am too busy living, soaking it all in. All the while, my heart is full, Peace is at  my door and happiness through the clouds calls my name. And I answer.

So more to come, so much more, in between living life.

All in the Family

My house has been taken over by my family. And cats.  It’s like a whirlwind/tornado when my family comes to visit. It’s not like in the movies, where you open the doors and there are calm, sweet hugs and kisses. There are hugs and kisses yes, but then there is the unloading. The unloading of the van is like a race, it must be fun fast and furious, before anyone sits down or catches up. While this may not seem like anything substantial, it is quite the event because my parents pack for just in case – of a nuclear war, of a famine, of a mass communication outage or power failure.

There will be many coolers worth of food (they feel bad for making me cook and provide sustenance, so they bring a lot of their own). Meats, breads, cheeses, wine, filtered water, fruits, vegetables and a whole smorgasbord of home made, home cooked yummy goodness. Even fresh canned treasures from their own garden. There is more food than can possibly be imagined, and my mother immediately starts organize the treasure on the cupboard, refrigerator and freezer with such precision, talent and concentration, one can only stand back in awe and watch the master at work.

Next will be all of Dad’s electronics. My father is a professional engineer, and truly believes that having every gadget known to man-kind is a must. And so he travels with the Garmin, his laptop and several things I have no clue as to their purpose, but they have a lot of chords. And parts. And little lights. And sometimes they make noise. I try not to go near where ever his treasure of electronics are, as I am a clumsy disaster waiting to happen, especially after a few glasses of wine.

All the bedding is next. Blankets, sheets and more pillows than anyone should be legally allowed to own. There is no shortage of pillows at my house, however, they like their own and want to make sure they are comfortable sleeping. Don’t you hate it when you sleep at someone else’s house, and it’s not YOUR pillow? And you can’t get comfortable. And it smells different. And then you wake up the next day with a sore neck? Smart people travel with their own pillows.

My wonderful parents also always bring lots of things for me . And the house, or garden, the laundry, the garage, or just because you might find a way to use it, stuff. It’s like Christmas, but better because you didn’t have to spend any money on gifts. Or wondering what to get people who already have everything. (Monogrammed golf shirt? Dad doesn’t play golf. That new fangled, gotta have it, only available for a limited time, can’t find in stores, so call now and get free steak knives too, kitchen gadget? Mom already has it.  A nose hair trimmer? Now, that’s just tacky).

After all of this, two very small, almost dainty, overnight bags are unloaded, containing toiletries on clothes. NO matter how long they are gone, a weekend or a month, somehow everything they will use, wear or need fits in those little bags. I swear they have no bottom, like going to see David Copperfield and he pulls a 10 foot pole out of a two-inch hat? Yes, just like that. It really is amazing to see everything they fit into those bags.

After everything is unloaded, organized and put in the proper place, everyone sits down and starts to catch up. Coffee is poured (unless it’s after 5, then it’s wine). There is laughter and smiles, teasing and oh so much love. we talk, tell of our latest adventures, whether in the garden or across the world and have good family time. Yes, it’s good to have family come visit.

Gardenening by the Light of the Moon, and Wine

They were in thee little pots, green and leafy, some of them already loaded down with blooms. And they needed to be planted. My sister has quite a green thumb, a gene I did not inherit. Everything I seem to try to grow ends up brown and withering, each leaf falling slowly one by one. Painful to see really.

Down here in the south it gets quite hot during they day, even now in the early spring. It is mid April and already the temperature has hit 80. So my sister and I, and her green thumb, went out to plant by the moonlight. We got the little pots of plants, our garden tools, two wine glasses and two bottles of wine. And we, two sisters, planted a garden by the moonlight.

She told me where to put the plants so that they would grow in the garden. She told me how to plant them, how deep, how to water them, and what to plant them with and next to. We dug in the dirt, talked, laughed, dug, sang, drank and planted. Two girls out in the moonlight. If our neighbors happened to see us, they would have laughed and thought we were crazy. But we had so much fun, and the result is a beautiful garden, great memories and the making of a…home.

Wine glass in the pots

Wine glass in the pots

Planted wine glass in the garden

Planted wine glass in the garden

A Wedding

She and I met when we were in junior high school and fast became best friends. Shortly after 8th grade, her family was stationed in Germany, but we wrote faithfully to each other during those 3.5 years. We sent pictures, cards and shared almost every aspect of our lives. She event spent a few summers with my family and dated one of my other best friends I grew up with.

Senior year she was stationed back on our little town and we were beyond happy. best friends reunited for senior year of high school. And we got into so much trouble. There wasn’t a single adventure or mishap I had we lived in the same town that she was not a part of. From getting kicked out of the city library, to getting booked by the mobile bookmobile, to helping my high school sweat heart knock on my window one night, to rolling each others house, we were tied at the hip. Then there was the bet at prom night, and asking our dates to the prom. And then Spook Bridge, and breaking into her ex’s apartment to gain all of her CD’s back.

She has shared more embarrassing moments with me than I even care to admit. There have been fights along the way, tears, secrets,  hopes shared, dreams planned, a night were we almost drowned in a torrential rainstorm, a lost shoe and a suspicious tree, a dead strange smelling plant, workout tapes, miles run, laughter till our sides hurt, a tom of M&M eaten, shopping adventures, heartbreaks, celebrations, graduations, motivations and always love.

And then we both lived in the northeast; I in New York, she a few hours away in New Jersey. And we were constantly making trips to each others house. And venturing into the city. Seeing her parents (who were practically my parents too)or my then boyfriend, having adventures all over again. Long walks and talks with wine, misadventures, trips and smiles to last a lifetime. Jobs, boyfriends, careers, apartments, all come and gone. But our friendship has stayed for 28 years, and counting.

And here we are, so many years later. Still the same girls at heart, still keeping in touch, still hoping and routing for each other. And there is a wedding. She has fallen in love with a wonderful man (and if he ever hurts her I will break his legs). I just bought the plane tickets tonight. Another friend of 28 years and I are flying up. And I think about how lucky we are, how some friendships last forever, and how we girls would still do anything for each other.

And I celebrate her happiness, am excited for her new life with him and look forward to hearing all about it for years to come.

What Real Means

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?””Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.”Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”  “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

“What is real?” asked the Rabbit.  One of my favorite questions of one of my favorite stories.  And a very good question.  In this day and age of bigger is better, plastic rules and superficial is best…does Real exist?  Yes, At least I think so. To me to be real means our experiences have made us deep enough people to understand what is truly important in life.

The problem, I think, is that by the time we are real, we have lived, been loved, unloved, hurt and roughed up to the point where we are a bit shabby.  We’re not new and shiny any more.  Sometimes we feel that we have lost our worth – after all, how could anyone love a worn out little rabbit? And someone may have to look past all the roughness to see what Real really means.

I think it means that you have a real heart, you have been through enough to know, through experience, what is right, wrong and in between.  Living through those experiences teaches us compassion, empathy, how to love and so much more.  It makes us a better, deeper person.

What about the shabby parts?  Well, I guess that depends on your definition of shabby.  To me it’s nothing on the outside.  It’s a heart that is so closed it can no longer let love and light in.  Maybe we all get a little shabby…but just like the Skin Horse said, you can only be ugly to those who do not understand.

So, the key is to find someone who can see through our shabbyness, our weary-ness to see the beauty of our Realness.  Someone that can loves us anyway.  But being shabby and a little worn is ok. I have often said that it is our scars and flaws that make us our most human, most beautiful…and most Real.