Category Archives: Memories

2020's Theme: Letting Go

Just a few minutes ago, while I was waiting for the Instant Pot to do its magic on eight eggs and hard boil them, I noticed that the side of our new kitchen drawers have the manufacturer’s name on them (Medallion) and that made me remember our old kitchen cabinets. When we moved into this house, a friend who helped us move was impressed with the brand of the cabinets (Quaker Maid) and told us that we had some quality kitchen cabinets. Several years later I mentioned that to the uncle of Clare’s friend who we’d hired to paint some rooms in our house. He made some disparaging comment about the brand which implied that they were not all that great. That comment has stuck with me through the years and when I remember it my stomach tightens and I am pretty sure my blood pressure rises.

I thought about how that made me feel, this first day of a new year and new decade and realized that I needed to let it go. To somehow make that comment not bother me any more. It is really silly that it bothered me so much and even sillier that it still does. I mean, this guy was living with his brother and doing side jobs to make a living. His actual home was a double-wide trailer (in Lake Tahoe, but still). Maybe saying that made him feel better about himself. His brother was not much better with the side comments, so maybe it was a family thing. When I spent a week in their double-wide in Tahoe and was asked to share in a rather expensive restaurant bill (which I was happy to do) instead of just paying for the kids and me he remarked that, after all, I was staying in his home, rent free for a few days.

Anyway, I think that this year I will dedicate to letting things go. Memories like the above, things I don’t need/use/wear, and hopefully a few inches around my waist too.

I am not making resolutions, I am not making a list of things I want to learn, I am not going to try to read a book a week and I am not doing a no-buy challenge. I am just going to let some things go.

The end of wrestling (original draft March 2011)

Wrestling ended officially last weekend with the annual Wrestling banquet and honors ceremony for the team. For us it was the final banquet, and very bittersweet.

Wrestling is over for Andrew. He has no plans on wresting in college and, as far as I know, there are no wrestling “pick up” matches in which former wrestlers can participate if they get the urge to wrestle — unlike many other sports such as basketball, baseball and football.

I don’t have a lot of regrets, but one I do have is not being interested in Andrew’s sporting life earlier. I rarely went to any of his soccer or rugby matches or basketball games when he was young, and while I probably went to more wrestling events because they were inside, didn’t go to most of them up through middle school. I understood none of the rules of any of the sports he liked and was not interested enough to try to learn. I’ll never get those days back for a re-do.

Once he got into high school and was chosen the varsity wrestling team as a freshman, I began to take an interest. I volunteered to redesign and manage the team website and attended most of the meets and tournaments throughout his high school career. I learned the rules, screamed directions to the wrestlers with the best of them, and cursed out the referees poor calls like a pro. I developed an appreciation for all of the sensory assaults experiences one encounters at a wrestling tournament: the shrill whistles, loud buzzers and screaming fans; the scent of hundreds of sweating adolescent bodies mingled with the odor of bleach used to sanitize the mats; the backache from sitting for hours on hard, backless bleachers; the sight of constant movement on the gym floor under unforgiving gymnasium lighting; the taste of whatever was sold in the concession stands.

I am so proud of my son and what he accomplished these four years as a wrestler. I believe that much of what he’s become as a young man (a delightful, smart, charming, kind, thoughtful, strong young man) is due to his experience on the wrestling team. I wrote about his coach a few years ago — but it was even more than that. It was his team. His teammates. His opponents. It was the whole experience that helped shape him.

The facts that he took first place in the county and region and fourth place at States are admirable as is his inclusion on the local newspaper’s  “first” team, but even without these honors, I would have been proud of him. They’re just added value — icing on the cake.

Here’s to the end of wrestling — the end of an era for us. We’ve got a lot of memories and a whole lot of photos.

Here’s my favorite. He’s hugging his coach after his very last wrestling match of his high school career. He lost, but took 4th.

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Peonies

As much as I love the deeply fragrant smell of lilacs in the spring, I think I prefer the lighter, less heady smell of peonies.

Peonies from my garden

Peonies smell like warm, late-spring afternoons on Heine Avenue where several plants grew on the south-facing side of the house. That smell is wafting through my dining room right now bringing me memories of my childhood at 240 Heine.

The smell foretold the end of the school year and the long, carefree warm months of summer just around the corner. Soon there’d be fireflies. Soon we’d be barefoot all day.

I only have one peony plant that produces flowers. Usually I only get two or maybe three flowers, but this year I got five — likely because the neighbor cut down a tree that was casting shade where the peonies grew. I hope to plant more of these, perhaps in front of something that we’ll plant for privacy instead of the weeds that grow there now.