Things that matter. Pass ‘em on.
Oh Florida, you welcoming, gracious, sweaty, hot bitch. What a great hang you were! Every time we get together I’m reminded why so many fun-loving people flock to you for vacation. Your beaches, climate and crazy summer weather patterns are so conducive to eating, binge-drinking and naps. You…
Of course this Jersey girl has to blog about James Gandolfini’s passing. What else is on my mind today?
What is on my mind:
• The opening credits of “The Sopranos,” rolling through neighborhoods all-too familiar to me. Pizza Land. The cemetery.
• Episode viewings — especially the finale — being a big deal for my group of friends.
• The show’s finale, filmed in a booth at one of my hometown staples, Holsten’s Confectionery. A small-town candy/ice cream shop that sells my mother’s favorite candy and employed many friends throughout the years.
Know what Holsten’s is up to today, one day after the news broke? It’s busy serving customers and news teams, and has been crowded since Wednesday night.
When a television show like “The Sopranos” chooses a specific location instead of always filming on a set, people get excited. We’re all viewers in some way — trying to catch a glimpse of a famous actor, or searching for something familiar in the background when we see it on the big screen.
The impact is great. You can see it at Holsten’s today, which is keeping a table reserved for Tony Soprano.
When a source won’t leave me alone after the story’s run
This is slowly becoming my favorite tumblr.
- Please stop telling me I look tired.
- No, I don’t get much time to myself.
- Because he’s home all day with the kids. I’m his “relief” when I get home.
- I can’t go to lunch, I have to run errands.
- I spend money on them.
- No, he doesn’t go to preschool.
- Yes, we socialize him.
- Yes, we knew it would be hard having another baby.
- Because it’s worth it.
The moment I bought my house, I knew exactly what kind of vibe I wanted it to have.
That last part is mainly for my little family. I often wonder if the boys will look back fondly on this tiny house. Will they have memories of me cooking meals (okay, their father cooking meals), of the glow of the Christmas tree in the dining room, of all the good smells and sounds from a family get-together?
Like many of us, I have tons of memories from my own family’s home. But, I also spent lots of time in my grandparents’ homes.
Today, social media showed me something I never wanted to see. The home where my father’s family grew up and where family members lived for years after my grandparents died, was on fire.
Nobody was seriously injured, thank goodness.
The images are stuck inside my eyes.
Grandma cutting carrots at the table.
My cousins playing hockey with me in the backyard.
Football playing on TV on Thanksgiving Day.
My sister & cousin’s graduation party in the backyard.
Some may say it was just a house. Wood. Windows. Paint.
But I always saw more. If I lived closer, I imagine I’d drive by it sometimes and take a peek. I still do that with other family homes.
The people have been gone for years, but I always thought the places would stay.
The day the memories are gone may be even sadder.
In 2012, I reunited with an old friend. It had been nearly 13 years since we last spoke or had any kind of contact.
We were friends in the ’90s, and let romance get in the way. Sure it opened our eyes to other things, but it cast an unfortunate shadow on the reason we were brought together as friends.
Age, wisdom, parenthood and humor have shown us the reasons why we’re friends again. We get each other. We reassure, even from 1,000 miles away. Social media made that happen, and I’ve reconnected and waxed nostalgic with other friends, too.
But where this story gets better is how this friendship has made me ever more nostalgic for my “former” self - or so I thought I had to classify it for a while. “That’s who I was,” I’d think. “Those are the things I liked. That’s the music I liked back then.”
It’s taken me until now, 2013, to realize I am all those things still, and I can like that ’90s music and listen to it freely. I can wear a flannel and remember why it’s comfortable - because it is. Not because it was in the ’90s. I can order myself some new Doc Martens and “live in the past.” Only it’s not the past. It’s me.
We saw one major concert together for our first date: The Who’s “Quadrophenia.” This week on the BBC America channel, they played a documentary about that album and what it meant. That’s the first time I learned what it was about. One person, many personalities.
All those versions of myself are gone.
I can see the real me.
The weekend started off idyllic. Beyond my wildest mom-of-kids-3-and-under dreams.
After stopping by a friend’s art show downtown … let me just stop there. When you have a toddler and an infant, “stopping by” is kind of a big deal. Am I right? We had to maneuver the stroller up a few flights, all the while making sure my 3-year-old didn’t push the bright, shiny, red alarm button in the elevator.
So we saw some fantastic art and eventually made our way down to see the park’s Christmas lights, all prepped and ready for Santa the next day. I suggested we stop for gelato after since that’s always a favorite downtown activity.
My son sat there looking dapper in his hat, eating gelato very neatly and conversing with us about our flavors, his flavors, the lights, and a horse-drawn carriage nearby — just conversing about anything. He blabs. A lot.
The baby had a bottle while people around us pointed and smiled at his royal cuteness. I watched couples walking hand-in-hand, and wondered if they had babysitters at home or were they on a first date? Second date? Headed to dinner at 7 p.m. or heading home?
I listened to their shuffling feet and caught the eyes of women looking at me and the baby. Were they jealous? Relieved?
Trying to remember what life was like before having kids is tough for me. Sure I remember the dating scene, nights out at the bar, movie dates that didn’t cost at least $30 extra to pay for a few hours of babysitting.
But I had a taste of it this weekend. After the Friday night outing, we were able to see an all-day concert on Saturday, just my husband and I, thanks to the aforementioned babysitters. What bliss.
Sunday began well — again, idyllic — the stuff I thought Sunday mornings would be made of in this new life. Coffee, cartoons, babies laughing.
Then we went to take our Christmas photos on the beach, and real life smacked me in the face and on my ass. An unwilling toddler and a sunset deadline all made for one stressful photo shoot. I’m sure the photographer got great stuff — she always does. But for me, it just didn’t seem to go well and I lost control of the bliss.
As we drove home, I turned the radio to Christmas music and there was my favorite, James Taylor, singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” My 3-year-old looked out the window and jabbered about seeing Christmas lights while the baby slept, and my husband graciously put his hand on my knee, knowing I needed the calm and beauty of that moment.