Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Love(s)*

*Based on a true story...sort of.

Yoga has failed me tonight. For the first time in a long while, I cannot relax enough to sleep and no amount of downward dog or child pose seems to set my mind at ease. Now, at an ungodly hour, I am wide awake, stoking the fire in the stove, sipping tea and typing.

So, feeling nostalgic and contemplative, (and not wanting to subject anyone to the mundane anxiety of my overly stressed brain) I've decided to walk down the lane of past loves, with all of its steep climbs and switchbacks, thinking about the lessons learned and the roads not yet taken.


As Catie Curtis puts so succinctly in her song Sweet Life:"I remember my first heartache, learning all the different ways a heart could break...".  

The moment I saw Ricky, I fell in love. He took this in stride, as I was just one of many in a sea of admirers. Along with a gaggle of other 5 year old girls, I would chase Ricky on the playground until he was trapped under the dome-shaped jungle gym and had to be rescued by the other less attractive, though very courageous, kindergarten boys.

As we got older, things got more serious. On my seventh birthday, Ricky gave me my first kiss, right after I blew the candles out on my cake. But it wasn't meant to last. At age 9, in spite of having no idea that I existed, Ricky broke my heart when he fell for a willowy blond.

Lesson: Be wary of a boy that gets chased by a lot of girls. And willowy blondes. 



At 12 years old, I was flat chested and awkward. Paul, the preacher's son, had brown feathered hair and made me laugh.

Although I was terribly shy, I managed to express my interest via a note given to my sister, which she gave to her best friend Stephanie, who then passed the note to another Sunday school friend Patricia, who passed it to her brother Guy, who was Paul's best friend and who promptly stuffed the note into his shoe when an unexpected game of kickball was called after that morning's sermon.

Fortunately, Guy found the note a few days later and managed to get it to Paul, who, it turns out, returned my interest. Paul held my hand while we sat on a bench under the porch light at his parents' home. Three days later I let him give me my second kiss. One day later, he left me for a tall, busty blond who could kick a home run barefoot and run all the bases in a tight tank top.

Lesson: Don't forget to stuff socks in both cups and don't let the blondes out of your sight. They are tricky.

FIRST BOYFRIEND (for real this time)


I was a sophomore in a new high school. Older, gorgeous Mike was a popular senior who sang like a bird and had an arrogant charm that won him many admirers.

Mike showed me how to climb the chain-link fence without getting my fingers caught and we ditched class to kiss under the pepper tree on the corner. He told me I would be prettier if I put on make-up and cut my hair short. So I lined my eyes with kohl and cut my hair into short, spiky tufts, dying the ends orange. Turns out, that wasn't what he had in mind.

A month later, he left me for a tall, busty brunette with perfectly feathered, shoulder-length hair.

Lesson:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Also, sometimes leaving things open to interpretation can give unexpected results. For example, I looked awesome with short, spiky, orange hair.



When I was sixteen, my lab partner, asked if he could walk with me the 20 minutes between our school and my house. An hour later, sitting on the curb outside my rose filled yard, we sipped a soda and munched on licorice. Laughing over shared stories, I noticed the color of Chad's eyes for the first time and I was smitten.Turns out, he liked me too and our adventure lasted into our 2nd year of college.

To this very day, a pack of Red Vines and a Pepsi brings me right back to that hot concrete curb, the heavy perfume of my mother's tea roses, belly aching laughter and his bright blue eyes.

Lesson: Don't let past hurts keep you from grabbing at love. Life is an adventure that should be embraced with open arms and experienced with gusto.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Apologies to Oscar Wilde

Here is the To Do list I had for today:
  1. Wake up early (before the kids) for a run
  2. Wash, dry, sort, fold and put away five loads of laundry
  3. Stack wood on the porch
  4. Clean the basement of webs
  5. Pick up the house
  6. Put in the storm doors and prep the storm windows
  7. Rake the perennial beds and put away the garden hoses
Here's what I actually did:
  1. Woke up late and practiced yoga with the girls. The boy participated too, but his version incorporated the military stances of imaginary aliens and then pretending to kung-fu fight us girls while we stood in tree pose. What can I say? He's imaginative.
  2. Washed, dried and sorted TWO loads of laundry. Forget folding and putting them away...totally overrated. The brown chair does a great job of corralling loose articles of clothing.
  3. Eyeballed the wood to be stacked. Eyeballed the porch where said wood was to be stacked. Became distracted by something else entirely.
  4. I have a basement?
  5. Began to straighten up house until the boy fell to the ground in utter despair after I "wrecked" a Lego spaceship by plopping it his Lego box. The girls fared no better when I ruined their "Beauty Spa" by grabbing an oddly placed bowl in the living room and dumping the green-colored contents into the toilet. I fixed the Lego ship and made up a new batch of "Beauty Spa". That was the end of picking up the house as I figured I better stop while I was ahead. Fixed a cup of tea and read a magazine instead.
  6. Storm windows and doors are in the basement. See #4 above.
  7. Spent the afternoon on a glorious walk around a lake-like pond. Enjoyed the crunch of leaves, the quiet of the water, the chatter of children and the conversation of a friend. Watched the sun set in a jaw-dropping show. Decided the garden, and everything else on the list, could wait one more day.
"It is always with the best intentions that the worst work is done." - Oscar Wilde