Good Times, Bad Times…

“…you know I’ve had my share…”

Zeppelin, and a nice cover by Godsmack;) Anyway, this post will be about good times, no bad times. I just like that song.

I thought I’d write about some memories (good only:)

I remember the little turtle I had. His name was Sam. Sam ate little bits of ground beef that I fed him out of my hand. He lived in a little plastic terrarium. I can remember the smell of the artificially colored gravel that we put in the bottom.

I remember the little pet hamster I had that I wanted to take for a walk on a leash. My mom let me (why?!), and of course my little hamster ran away. Not a really good memory, but I remember how happy I was to have a hamster.

I remember visiting my grandma’s house around the corner from our house. Later, my parents would buy that house from them when they moved one town over. But when my grandparents lived there, they had these cool blackout shades left over from World War II. I have memories of taking naps in the living room and my grandma would pull those shades down and there were little teeny pinholes in the shades, and the sun would shine through them like stars in a night sky.

I remember fishing with my dad. He used to take my sister and me fishing, but eventually he ended up just taking  me. He said my sister was too impatient and jumpy, whereas I could sit there for hours just staring at my bobber waiting for a bite. Plus, I’d bait my own hooks and take my own fish off the hook. I was a lot less girly than my sister.

I remember camping when I was 11. I mean, I remember camping most of the summers of my life, but when I was 11…that year was special. That’s when I realized that as much of a tomboy as I was, I liked boys:) I met Jeff. He was younger than me (I was 11…he was 10-1/2…woooo!). I was riding my bike down at the lake, and the boys had set up this jump that went down the hill, then shot them out into the lake. The problem was, most of the boys were afraid to try it. So I did. And when I flew off that ramp and shot out into the lake, I think their jaws dropped. Jeff came up to me after that, all blue eyes and sandy blond hair, and said, “Wow…I’ve never seen a GIRL dare to do something like that. You’re the coolest girl I’ve ever met.” We spent the rest of our time at the campground together, riding our bikes, catching frogs, fishing. Haha!

I remember, a year after my dad had his first heart attack, and a few years before he died, hiking up Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire–my dad, my brother, my uncle (Dad’s youngest brother), and me. Dad told us, “Don’t pack anything needless, you don’t want to carry things if you don’t have to.” So we were smart about what we put into our packs. Near the top, my brother and uncle wanted to climb the rocks to the summit. My dad and I stayed behind because we were both afraid of heights. Once my uncle and brother were out of sight, my dad reached down into the bottom of his pack, held up a can of root beer, and said, “Wanna split this?” I still remember the view sitting there next to my dad, passing that can back and forth, what seemed like the entire state of New Hampshire spread out below us like a quilt. I didn’t tell anyone about that until years later. I sometimes wish I hadn’t because it was one of the few memories of just me and my dad.

I remember taking my brother, 11 years younger than me, to his first concert when he was 14. I took him to see Metallica. One thing he and I always shared was our taste in music. My dad used to tell me, “You corrupted my son, getting him into that damn heavy metal shit.” Haha! But the way that kid’s face lit up when Metallica hit the stage. It was priceless!

I remember being at a rock concert with my then-boyfriend (now husband), back when he was a drummer in a band and looked like he’d just jumped out of the pages of Kerrang or Metal Edge magazine. I remember thinking, What on Earth is this guy doing with ME? as I looked around at all the slutty metal chicks whose eyes were all on him–then I turned to look at him and his eyes were on me–not on any one of them.

I remember that same guy suddenly pulling his car over to the side of the road once, jumping out and running into the middle of the median on the highway, then running back with a handful of daisies.

I remember my first niece, sitting in her car seat in the back of my car, bobbing her head to Patsy Cline’s Crazy and singing, “Crazy! Craaaazzyyy!”

Good times:) I can never get enough.

Little Things

marshI love my nieces and nephew, my sister’s four kids. They range in age from 19 (20 next month!) to 10. The oldest is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and the youngest is in, I think, the fifth grade.

My nephew is, of course, a video game aficionado, as are most boys these days (he’s the 10-year-old), and even my nieces love electronic devices. So usually there’s a video game or an electronic handheld or an iPod or something among their birthday or Christmas gifts. But the most fun gifts are often the ones you can enjoy with other people, so I have made it a point to always buy board games. At Christmas, I try to buy at least one per kid, then I tag those for all of the kids so there’s no fighting. We always end up playing several games after all the gifts are opened.

Several years ago, after Thanksgiving dinner (which is always at my house), I sat down with the kids afterwards and we played a few board games. One of the kids said, “This is fun…we should do this more often.”

tp

So I started a family tradition called Spieltag. Spieltag is German for “game day.” Sorta. Technically, I think it should be tag des spiel (“day of play”), but spieltag has a nicer ring. For the record, it’s pronounced shpeel-tahg. We are not German, but I wanted a catchy name for the event, and so Spieltag it is!

We usually do Spieltag at my sister’s house, but occasionally we’ll hold it at my house (usually in the summer when the dogs can enjoy the sun outside while the house is full of kids). We have food, soda, juice, things to nibble on. It’s one of the best traditions we’ve started.

With the number of games the kids have now, there’s no shortage of things to play. The more fun games are the ones that end up making us laugh–games like Would You Rather…? or Cranium, or games that make you do silly tricks like standing on one foot, singing a song, and balancing something on your nose. Then there are the trivia games. For those, they usually all team up against me. Two or three teams of two or three kids against me (yes, teams of two or three kids…because my sister’s kids invite their friends over on game day), and I usually win (in the four or five years we’ve been doing this, I think they’ve beat me once;)

smIn today’s world, with so many people connected with the outside world electronically, with most of our “friends” keeping in touch via Facebook or text messaging, it’s nice to be able to sit down at a table and surround yourself with the laughter of your loved ones. Life is too short and too precious to let it all pass you by. I look around the table at my nieces and nephew, and sometimes I get a flash of memory–my oldest niece at 1 1/2 singing Patsy Kline’s Crazy in the backseat of my car, my middle niece looking like a princess in her ballerina dance costume, my youngest niece smiling at age 4 with a face full of chocolate and a huge smile, my newborn nephew with his little black Chuck Taylors that my brother bought him–and I’m so thankful that I got to experience all those things and that I get to watch these kids grow from babies into the beautiful young people they’re becoming.

Why am I writing about this today? Well, my brain’s been in a little bit of a funk lately. I think it has to do with the bombings in Boston last week. Not that I’m obsessing over them (I’m not), but the whole thing just seems to have drained me. It was too close to home, and it reminded me of how fleeting our time can be in this world. We go about our daily lives, worrying about things that we think are the big things, when it can all be taken away in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. And it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Cherish the little things in life, for one day you
will realize that they were the big things.

happinessYour job and your bills are important, your home and your car, your health insurance, your taxes–all of those things are important. But there are more important things than those, things that may seem pointless or silly–like standing on one foot, singing a silly song, and balancing something on your nose–those are the things that you’ll be remembered for, those are the things that are “little” that are actually quite a big deal.

Cherish the little things…and try to realize NOW that they are the big things.