Saturday, October 22, 2011

The weight of him...

Almost too big, at 47 inches tall and 49 lbs heavy...but for as long as I can I will hold him, carry him, hug him and despite the protestations of my 47 year old bones I will give him piggy back rides and have ninja fights. Because some day he really will be too big, or not interested in holding hands with his mother. So for now I will bear the weight of him...

Friday, October 21, 2011


Having a bit of a headachy day. Not that surprising. All week I was convinced it was some other day than it was. It was Wednesday morning and I was SURE it was Thursday. By the end of the same day I was arriving at home positive it was Friday. I moved through an entire two days inside of 8 hours.

So my brain has been on some sort of short circuit. The leaves are falling as it is, well, FALL, and that makes my entire system go haywire. I love the foliage, love the crinkle of leaves on the sidewalk, but really hate what it does to my histamine reaction. The Bob hates what it does to my nasal passages at night. APPARENTLY I snore. All I know is I was rudely awakened last night by someone yanking the comforter off the bed so he could take it to sleep in the guest room because sleeping in the same room with me was not possible.

12 more cups of this should help.

The other night I attended a dinner for major donors here at work. There was a re-dedication of a building on campus which was renovated recently and is now home to the admissions office. As part of the dinner, they asked a student to read a history of the house, which was built in 1892. I was sitting with a member of our board and his wife, the wife of our president, and another major donor and spouse. The student is a history major and wants to be a history professor at our school one day. She read aloud this funny, interesting and very well written piece. The thing about this moment in time, the thing that sticks with me the most, is as she finished reading, as people began applauding, the member of the board sitting at my table said one word, "Brilliant." This is a man who in his own right is brilliant, having been a physics instructor at a very large, prestigious institution here in the area, and having created with another brilliant man the concept of enrollment management which most private institutions use today to manage their recruitment and retention efforts, and is the founder and CEO of a very successful business. To have him use that one word to describe what this student had just read, her own words, says something. I have no idea if anyone else noticed, it doesn't matter. I heard it, and it spoke to me. I hope she does manage to achieve her goals and comes back to us to teach. We will be a better institution for it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Silly is in the DNA

Buster Keaton. Charlie Chaplin. The Three Stooges. Bob Hope. Chevy Chase. Steve Martin. Martin Short. Jim Belushi. Lucille Ball. Beavis and Butthead. Kung Fu Panda. Spongebob Squarepants. Charlie Brown and the football.

Throughout the history of mankind, slapstick comedy has often been both the lowest form of comedy and the one that seems to be enjoyed most by the male of the species.

Don't get me wrong. I have been known to laugh myself silly to the point of crying watching Chevy Chase on the old, classic SNL. I teethed on I Love Lucy and the chocolates on the conveyer belt episode. I have an appreciation for physical comedy.

But nothing I have experienced comes close to that which envelopes, overtakes and both energizes and immobilizes my child.

By himself he can be pretty funny. He does silly walks, silly voices, silly dances. And woe unto you who laughs at his shenanigans. You will be subjected to the routine over and over and over and over and over again. Especially right before bath time, when it is likely to be sans clothing. There is nothing quite like silly dances performed by a naked kid in the bathroom.

Add in friends, and well, the sense of the ridiculous becomes acute. Beyond silly. Gasping, wet your pants hilarious. I am not kidding. Cooper wet his pants he was laughing so hard when I took this picture.

This is what almost 5 years old is like. I have absolutely no idea what I am in for with 14 years old.

Friday, October 7, 2011

93 Years Ago...

In 1918 the world was a very different place than the one we live in today.

Ukraine, Lithunania, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbijian, Georgia and Poland all declare independence from the Russian Empire. It was not a good year for the Russian Empire.

World War I is going on and ends November 11.

The Spanish Flu becomes a pandemic and 30 MILLION people die in 6 months.

The Boston Red Sox defeat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. Which would be their last World Series until 2004. Don't ask me about this year's season. Pathetic is really the only word for it.

There were no computers, the internet didn't exist. 10 million Bell System telephones were in service. Today more than 4 billion people use telephones. Television didn't exist in homes yet.

Ted Williams, Rita Hayworth, Nipsey Russell, Art Carney, Billy Graham, Spiro Agnew, Helmut Schmidt, Madeleine L'Engle, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. and Anwar Sedat, to name a few, are born.

And so was this man:

Tony with my brother and I on what I believe was a family reunion on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. If I recall correctly, he was giving me the "Don't give me a reason to yell again" look. We might have been whining. It would not be a surprise.

With the Coop on our first visit after he was born.

Anthony Louis DePasquale. My grandfather. A man who for all of my childhood and much of my adulthood was a larger than life character. He smoked smelly cigars and always had a stylish hat and swagger going on.

The sky wasn't just blue, the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue you have or ever will see. My mother didn't just ice skate well as a little girl, she could have been an Olympic contender. She didn't just play the piano, she could have been a concert pianist performing at Carnegie Hall. The dog my mother and her sisters adopted while he was away on a business trip didn't just dislike him. That dog was a man eating carnivore ready to rip my grandfather's throat out if he so much as looked at him sideways. He breezed into our lives every so often on business trips, teaching us random Italian phrases that we would try to remember for the next visit. He and my grandmother relocated to Oregon when he retired. They traveled in an RV around the country, often going to the Southwest to spend a month in the desert. They would golf, bowl, and he would take classes in things like jewelry making, wood working and stained glass. I called him Gepetto when he turned his garage into a wood working shop and made toys and other wooden doo dads.

He was the son of Italian immigrants and made the most of his opportunities here. He is the father to three lovely daughters, husband to my grandmother Agnes.

Today is his 93rd birthday, and their 72nd wedding anniversary. That is a long time to be alive and a long to time to be married. Life has certainly not passed them by, although they are older, slower and a little more frail than they once were. But that is true of most of us.

Happy Birthday Grandpa. I wish we could be out there to celebrate with you and Grandma. Virtual hugs to you both.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Come Now To the Campus...

Come now to the campus, true sons of Geneva,
In one accord in song your voices raise.
Proclaim loud the glory, those walls old and hory,
The college where I spent such happy days.

This weekend was my 25th college reunion at Geneva College in beautiful Beaver Falls, PA. Home of Joe Namath and the steak salad. TWENTY FIVE YEARS have passed since I was in college, and yet, those were and continue to be some of the best days of my life, and the source of some of my fondest memories.

These ladies. Riley on the left, Jean in the middle, me on the right. One was a roommate at one time, the other was a suitemate. People I laughed with, cried with, yelled at stupid boyfriends for. You know, the stuff friends do.

This is a crappy picture, taken with my phone inside a badly lit theater, but I would know this person in the pitch black dark. She was also a roommate at one time, but more than that, a soul sister. We have not been the best at keeping up with each other over the last 15 years, but during college, we were the best of friends. Her family became a family away from home for me. Her father was a professor at the college, and now in retirement her parents own a B&B at which we stayed this weekend. Her father didn't recognize me at first, since 15 years have passed since last we met, and time has a way of robbing all of us of health and memory, but when I said my name, he said "Oh my goodness, Michele. I look in your eyes and I know exactly who you are."

The McCartney Library on campus is small, but is home to two sets of incredible and impressive stained glass windows. I already loved libraries when I arrived on campus, this one just sealed the deal with these windows.

Then there is the Bagpiper Theater. The first week of the first semester I was on campus, my friend Jean said she was going up to audition for the first play of the semester. It was traditionally a freshman only production, to allow new students the chance at performing without having to compete for parts against the seasoned upperclassman. I had not acted before, officially that is, and was hesitant. But then I said why not. No one really knew me there. I wasn't competing against people from high school that were well known to the theater, I was just little old unknown me. So I went.

From the moment I stood on that stage and heard people laughing in response to my audition, and laughing in the "dear lord in heaven she is funny" way, not the "dear lord in heaven get her off the stage" way, I knew I had found my people and my happy place. For four years I worked on productions in this theater, from acting, to costuming, stage managing and even directing a one act play as part of my theater class final.

It is 100 seats big, so you can see pretty much everyone who is there to watch the show. They are almost as much a part of a production as the actors themselves. It is not an easy theater to work in. You had to find ways to work with the space limitations and the proximity of the audience. But it is worth it.

This present day me, in a mirror in a dressing room that has not changed in 30 years. It looks exactly the same as the day I first walked into it.

This piece of furniture used to live in the lobby of my residence hall, McKee Hall, shown below.

It also used to be Pepto Bismal pink. And under the pink was an odd shade of Wedgewood blue. A travesty had been committed, one that I and my fellow castmates of I Remember Mama decided to rectify, by stripping and refinishing it. We had no idea what we were doing, and yet managed not to completely destroy the burled walnut panels. Yay us! It is now in the Hallway of History.

There are many ways in which I have evolved and changed from the person I was back in 1982 when I first arrived on that campus beside the Beaver Vale. I am different spiritually, emotionally, and certainly physically. I arrived on campus weighing a whopping 105lbs. I remember that because they would not let me give blood. Yeaaaahhhh, that was a long time ago.

BUT! Without a doubt it was a formative, magical, challenging, and educational time. It was exactly what going to college should be. It was a safe place for me to discover who I was, who I wanted to be, and provide a solid basis to launch from into the rest of my life. I found lifelong friendships, both within my fellow students but also within the faculty. I may not always agree with the religious views and philosophy of the Reformed Presbyterian faith, but I am and will be forever grateful for that time and that community. GO TORNADOS!

Turbo, 2011