Mondays with Jack

 

I still love snail mail

Maybe it’s a by-product of being an AF brat and moving around a lot, but I’ve always loved getting mail. I can remember receiving letters from my grandparents as we transferred from base to base, and once I was old enough, writing letters back to them to tell them what was going on in my life.  One time my Grandpop sent us kids a letter from his home in NJ to our home in GA with bits of string taped to the envelope, noting inside that he had asked his friends, the birds, to bring it to us when they flew south for the winter.  My dad was not very talkative nor demonstrative but he would write us letters when he was on TDY and it made us feel a little closer to him. He was in Maine for the winter one year and I remember him telling us that the snow was above the roof and they had to tunnel out. Who knows if that’s true!  He also said he was passing the time by doing “paint by numbers” pieces for us.  I think my sister and I got pictures of clowns for our bedroom.  🙂  As I got older, I enjoyed exchanging letters with various friends when one or both of us got transferred yet again. Even into adulthood and early parenthood, I still wrote letters to friends and relatives when long distance calls were expensive and we couldn’t just pick up the phone for a chat any time we wanted.

With the introduction of the internet, email, and nationwide cell phone plans, snail mail has certainly lost favor with most of us.  These days all we usually get in the mail is junk or the occasional bill (most are online now, right?), catalog or package.  I used to send cards to everyone I knew for birthdays and special occasions but I have pretty much stopped doing that too.  I still check my box expectantly each day but I don’t really know what I am expecting any more! Once in awhile, a fun surprise arrives, like a few days ago when several of my orders converged and showed up at the same time: a yard sign for Beto O’Rourke, running for Congress against the awful Ted Cruz, some cute pop-up cards I found and decided I needed, two “Chatbooks” (my Instagram photos), and a set of new checks with our correct address on them after two years…yes, I still write the occasional check–call me old!  🙂

Don’t get me wrong; I really like email and Facebook messaging and texting and calling anyone anywhere for cheap.  But I do kinda like a good mail day, too.

 

April Doings

Happy birthday to our son in law David on April 6.  He’s usually behind the camera so it’s hard to find many pictures of him! He’s smart and funny, great at being a dad, a teacher, a photographer, and a human being. We always enjoy our wide ranging conversations and his thoughtful opinions. Even better, he’s a lot of fun! We love you, David!

Beck was in his school talent show last week.  All of the 1st grade boys took part in a song and dance number with a sports theme.  They were super cute and I may be biased but Beck was the best dancer out there and sung his heart out with lots of feeling.  🙂  It was especially cute and funny at the end when all of the boys ran off the stage and Beck stood there looking out at the audience. I don’t think he realized everyone had left. We got a little chuckle out of that.  I didn’t get pix during the show because of the lighting but here are a few that Sarah got later.

And Aidan was busy with his favorite thing: motocross racing.  We weren’t there but Susan sent some pix.  We will get to see him race Memorial Day when we go to visit.

Jack had another soccer game and it was freezing but at least he had fun playing this time!  🙂

Community Garden 10th Anniversary Celebration

I went to the garden around 10 AM to help with set up and it was pretty chilly and windy. We were hoping for warmer weather after the recent cold spell and raininess but it was not a lot better.  Oh no!  Set up took about an hour and a half, then I went home to shower and change before Rich and I went back at 1 PM. Rich made three different herbed lemonades: lemon thyme, rosemary, and mint-ginger.  He also made a few dozen pinwheel pastries for the dessert table.  I worked at the welcome table for the first hour, then Sarah, her friend Megan, and their six kids arrived so I left my post to hang out with them.  Eventually the sun came out and the kids loved the scavenger hunt and the snacks and running through the garden.  Rich’s lemonade was an especially big hit and got many compliments.  We had lots of food, speeches and presentations, and a butterfly release to commemorate 10 years of community gardening.  It was really a nice day and a lovely celebration!

Easter

My son in law Miles’ parents invited us to join them for Easter brunch at the club in their housing development in Cleburne. We had a lovely time with them, Miles’ grandmother, Miles’ brother and sister in law and their two kids, plus Sarah, Miles and our three grandkids.  Rich talked with the chef briefly and told him he was happy to be on the other side of the buffet line after many years of doing the same thing! Brunch was good and we stopped to take some of the requisite “posing in the bluebonnets” photos that are iconic in Texas this time of year.  We went back to the in-laws’ home for a couple of hours to visit and then came back to Dallas. All in all, a nice relaxing day!

Broadway Bound (well, in October!)

I’ve been a huge Bruce Springsteen fan since he appeared on the scene all those years ago.  I lived in Texas when he hit the airwaves but I’ve always considered myself a “Jersey girl” because both of my parents are from NJ and that was the place we headed between military assignments or on vacations when I was a kid.  My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins made it seem like home even though I only lived there a few years off and on throughout my life.  And if you’re a self-described Jersey girl, you have to love Springsteen.  Okay, I know there are a few people who DON’T, but I don’t want to know them. LOL

I’ve attended many of his concerts over the years and he and the band never disappoint.  My kids grew up on his music and know his songs almost as well as I do.  We are the embodiment of that meme that goes around periodically:  You know you’re from New Jersey if….at least three people in your family still love Springsteen…and one of them is your mom.  🙂  Our family includes way more than three fans.  Including MY mom.

Anyhooooo, last year it was announced that Bruce would be playing a limited Broadway run, just him with his guitar and piano, talking about his life and playing his songs.  Because he was playing at a small theater and only for a certain number of dates, people could register as “verified fans” and *hope* for a code to get the opportunity (not the guarantee) to buy a ticket.  Sarah and I signed up as verified fans and when the first sale date came around, we were on standby, never to get a code.  Another date came and went and we had the same experience.  So disappointing!  Then he extended his run and we had another chance–no luck!  I think this happened several times over the past few months.  Of course we could buy tickets from scalpers for thousands of dollars but we’re not in that category of spenders!  Imagine our surprise when he extended his run once again, this time through December, and we were given one more chance.  AND OMG, Sarah got a code!  We were beside ourselves! On top of that, she was lucky enough to be assigned the first hour of the day of sale so we thought our odds might actually be pretty good!  I went over to her house 30 minutes before the sign in time and we messed around on the website to make sure we knew what we were doing. Well, apparently we didn’t, because when the time rolled around, we couldn’t get on!  We were nearly in panic mode as we tried several different options and followed instructions to the “T,” to no avail.  Finally Sarah said she was going to go directly to Ticketmaster and try from there–lo and behold, it worked!  We were already 10  minutes into our assigned time and worried we wouldn’t be able to find anything.  We had researched dates and best seats so we knew what we wanted; we went right to October 16 and found two seats in the 4th row. We debated looking further but were afraid we’d lose our good seats and not be able to duplicate them on a different date.  Let’s do it! We clicked on those seats and WOWIE, we are going to see Springsteen on Broadway!  We couldn’t be more thrilled!  And thanks to my very generous daughter who bought my ticket as a gift.  Now that’s a great kid!  🙂

We also found really cheap plane tickets from Dallas to LaGuardia so we are doubly excited.  We’re going to spend a week on the trip and also pop in on my mom and NJ relatives while we are there.

Grainy photo or not, those women are happy!

March Catch-Up

Yes, it’s April, but I haven’t finished March!

Garden update:

 

Hung out with Jack a few more times and went to his first soccer game. Three year olds are a mess on the soccer field.  No clue!  He loved it till he hated it and sat out most of the second half.  🙂

 

March for our Lives, Dallas! I recently joined the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and we were asked to be route monitors at the march while the students took charge.  It was fun and we had a great turnout.  I am inspired by these young people ready to make a change!

 

March birthdays:

First, my daughter Bonnie on the 30th. She’s smart and hilarious and a juggler of multiple responsibilities, a great mom and a friend to many, involved in her community, and concerned for those less fortunate. We always have good talks about lots of issues and topics and she makes me laugh with her funny stories about kids and life. I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like but we never fail to have a lot of fun when we’re together.  We love her much!

 

Then grandson Aidan on the 31st. This kid turned 15! I really cannot believe it! We’ve had so much fun watching him grow up from a smiling, happy baby boy to a smart, kindhearted, talented, funny, awesome young man. He’s great at motocross and basketball and putting things together and beating us at games. His younger cousins adore him and he’s always so kind to them when they see each other. We love it when he comes to visit us and even more when we take road trips together. I always beg him to say that he will still want to hang out with us even when he’s got teenager things to do. Pitiful, I know! We love you, Aidan! Happy birthday!

 

Random: Ajax, thrift store gems, neighborhood walk, Rich spending hours in the Asian store and then making it all worthwhile with a beautiful salad for dinner.