Jonathon's Closet

Monday, October 30, 2006

Still trying to figure it out!

Hey, you know that struggle and contradiction I wrote about on the 19th?

Well, it's why I was a bit absent over the weekend. Ok, so I was totally absent over the weekend. I was a little ... occupied.

No, that doesn't mean that I've miraculously managed to find some wonder-cure for the fear. I wish! But, well, let's just say that uh - well - I'm giving something a chance to go where ever it may lead. If anyone wants details, speak up - because I don't want to put ya'll to sleep with unwanted details and boring stories!

Especially when I could be blogging about the fun(?) I've been having putting together the costume that Jona decided YESTERDAY that he positively has to have for TOMORROW!

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Learning Experience

As they walked into the small (only 6 lanes), poorly maintained and dimly lit pool area, the entire team came to a halt. They appeared rather surprised by their surroundings as they walked to the "away team's" bench area and began to prepare for the meet. When the "home team" appeared on deck, our swimmers looked positively unnerved. Although their opponent looked very casual (no uniforms), our team was clearly outnumbered 3-1! They looked around nervously and began to chatter amongst themselves.

The meet was terribly unorganized. The hosting team leadership was completely unprepared. They even had difficulty locating the roster of events. And 25 minutes after the meet was to have started, they announced that only 1 of their 6 timers was there - and could the timers for our team please come down to the pool deck to fill in! (So much for my chance to simply sit back and watch!)

During warm ups, our swimmers struggled with the starting blocks - they were old, small, and very wobbly. Too small for several of our swimmers to take their normal starting positions! There were no touch pads at the pool ends and the pool was clearly in need of a cleaning. (Usually when I'm on deck, I'm barefoot- it beats wearing wet shoes home! - but NO WAY was I taking my shoes off on THAT deck!)

The opposing teams adults were friendly and pleasant, and it was very obvious that they cared about the kids. The kids were friendly and courteous - although just a little difficult to work with, as many of them didn't speak English well and struggled to find their lanes and events. They had 3 outstanding swimmers who really gave us a run for the money (Jona swam against 2 of them in a 50 free - swam a personal best - and placed 3rd behind these 2 boys!) but we weren't outmatched, merely outnumbered.

Jona spends a lot of time complaining about "how much better life would be" if his Dad were still alive. (He's right, it would be - in SO MANY WAYS) But I suspect that this experience demonstrated to him that things aren't as bad as he seems to think - all in all, he's got it pretty good! We chatted on the way home, and Jona seemed pretty impressed by his own team's facilities - and surprised by the fact that the pool we just left "didn't even have the big screens to announce events, lane assignments, and results". Uh - yeah, kid - all that state-of-the-art technology is expensive!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just Parenting

I think that most parents do the right thing most of the time, simply because they love their children and care about them more than anyone else can.

I also think that sometimes in the midst of day-to-day life struggles, it's easy to become so busy that for a brief time a parent can forget to show a child how important they really are! Express your love. Make your child feel secure. Build their self esteem. Communicate openly and honestly and be confident in your own ability.

I sometimes think that one of the hard lessons learned when you lose a loved one is to never let an opportunity to say "I love you" pass you by! I'm reminding myself of that today, as my teenager is, well, acting like a teenager! So even though I'm totally frustrated with him at the moment, I'll still remind myself to tell him I love him when I hug him goodnight.

I hope you're all having a good day, filled with lots of hugs and "I love yous"!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Give Sorrow Words

"Give sorrow words" William Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth. And many have done just that. Thousands of playwrights, authors, poets, and journalists have used their own words to tell stories that help them thru crisis; they have used words to console them in grief, loss, pain, challenge, or growth; and to celebrate the joy in their lives.

It echoes in the darkness of my mind
Bloodcurdling and shrill; listen and you might hear it
Louder than any sound, it is my pure unadulterated pain
It disturbs my thoughts, interrupts my sleep
Distorts my reality and rips apart my life
Inflicted by fate
Borne of necessity

More devastating than physical death, this is the death of my soul

Written shortly after Don's death in 1999

Monday, October 23, 2006

Oh, MOM ! ! !

This was our last Halloween at the barn in Kansas City (the same year that I was the Bananas In Pajamas).My Mom spent half the day getting her hair to stand on end like that! My Dad shaved his beard that day and after 10 years of being married, it was the first time my Mom had ever seen him without a beard – she laughed so hard that she fell off the bed and broke her tailbone! He said it served her right, but he was just joking!

This is them together – yeah, sometimes my parents were a little CRAZY but they were always a LOT of fun!And their costumes always matched too! One year they dressed as Rhett and Scarlett from "Gone with the Wind" and when I was little I always thought that those costumes were really their wedding pictures!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

It's Time for a Halloween Parade!

Well, it took some hunting, but I found a few Halloween photos!

Ok, so my Mom posted these ... make sure you come back tomorrow, 'cause I've got one of her that you're going to LOVE!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Once your heart has felt the embrace of true love, you’re hooked. You know what it’s like to live in such a wonderful place with a love so warm that there is no need for fire or coal, that eventually you will seek this warmth again.

Broken hearts take a tremendous amount of care and time to heal. And when you finally open your heart again, the risk is less because you know you can make it thru anything that happens and more because you know that you are indeed so fragile that you truly may not survive another loss. Such a nonsensical yet accurate contradiction. It is with this contradiction I struggle today.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

In Rememberance

Raven hair, blowing in the wind
Her daddy’s smile, lighting my world
She dances in the sunshine
She dances, only in my mind

So small, so perfect
Does she have her daddy’s eyes?
Eyes brimming with mischief
Milky brown, only in my mind

Laughter dancing on the summer breeze
In her, so clearly I see him
Alabaster skin, shining in the sun
She lives, only in my mind

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This Week's "Bloopers" - aka The Idiot Awards

“Cocaine”, a new energy drink - What an odd name for a product - it's like calling it 'the illegal drug drink'. Must be trying to market it to stupid kids, 'cause it's the most idiotic thing I've seen in a long time - MORONS!

E L Swim Team – ok, so we won the first 23 out of 26 events. Yeah, they were getting clobbered. But THEY LEFT! I mean, they just walked out – the whole team – without saying a word – and there were still 5 events (relays) left. Oh yeah, good job E L coaches and parents – quite a sportsmanship lesson for your team – DUH!

STUPID Drivers - who are supposed to be adults but act like children. You know, they tailgate and weave in and out of traffic and cut people off. And drive like they “just have to be first”! And of course are too stupid to learn – unless somebody gets killed probably. Even then, these immature jerks will still probably blame someone else! (and adults think that teenagers are bad – well if we are, YOU’re who’s teaching us!)


Friday, October 13, 2006

Why A Graveyard?

“Even with all the deaths you’ve experienced, you celebrate Halloween with a mock graveyard?”

3 folks have now asked this question and it’s a good question too, so here goes:

Yep, we sure do!

When I was a child, I always wanted to live in “that” house. You know the one – every neighborhood has one – where it looks like Halloween just crashed down from the sky and staged a hostile takeover of the entire property! My Mom was not a Halloween person. I can even recall her telling me to “get a marker and draw a face on that stupid pumpkin, the trick-or-treaters will be here any minute”. Yeah, we obviously weren’t “that” house!

When Don and I had just begun dating, we went to a nice Halloween party. We had fun. But that’s all it was – nice. Fun, but a little flat. And I learned that “fun but a little flat” is how his family celebrated Halloween. They carved pumpkins, made costumes, and went trick-or-treating as kids but that was it.

After we married we began throwing Halloween parties that could, well, wake the dead! We had property with an old barn on it and huge fields in which to park cars! The menu and costume planning would begin in August or September, and the creepy invitations would be delivered of course! We would hire a band and hire babysitters for the kids (on-site babysitting, in the loft of the barn!), and spend at least 2 weeks decorating!

We always grew a field of pumpkins and Don would carve about 75-100 of them (he’d have to start in early October to get them all done – we kept them in the spare fridge, in the garage where it was cooler, and also preserved their edges with Vaseline to keep them good!) His fingers were usually stained kind of orangish by Halloween night!

Around the barn was always our “graveyard” – filled with silly tombstones, scary tombstones, tombstones for literary characters, historical figures, and imaginary people. And sometimes our own stones, or those of our party guests! Our graveyard is just plain tradition!

The graveyard is smaller now and no longer accompanied by a rockin' party. This year’s graveyard contains the following tombstones:

Borden – rest in pieces
County Jail Mass Grave – here lie the souls of 10,000 murderers
Dear Aunt Sue – age 102 – only the good die young
Jonathon – Boy Scout – accidentally hung himself while learning knot tying
Here lies Ned – Ned is dead – a great big rock fell on his head
Count Dracula – oops! Bad Blood!
Here lies Les Moore - took a slug from a .44 - No Les, no more.

And about a dozen more! (And for those who wonder – No, my husband’s “grave” isn’t in the front yard this year - although he would’ve loved it!)

So, why a graveyard? Because it's good scary fun for the kids, it's tradition, and it's, well, Halloween!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Life and Love

"Where there is love there is life." – Mahatma Ghandi

On the day of his death she arrived too late for that fateful instant and missed his last breath. The doctors saw him die; so did the nurses. But his wife, the woman who knew him best, wasn’t there at that final moment; the last she could ever have shared with him in this life.

Love and loss are inextricably woven into one in this fabric of life. We don’t have to live too many years to learn that, but the longer we live the more often we are reminded.

If we never love deeply, we will never experience loss ripping us apart inside. (Boy, does that sound tempting, huh?) Then again, if we never love deeply, we won’t live fully, completely, joyfully expanding the boundaries of our hearts. It’s difficult to juggle these two truths – and also very simple. After all, what is a life without love?

What have you accomplished in your life? Have you loved? If the answer is “oh, yes – I have loved with all my heart”, then you have accomplished everything.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome to the Graveyard

As you can see, the house is ready for Halloween ... and on Halloween night we will add the finishing touches - celebratory music and creepy lights!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Only 25 Days Til Halloween!

Halloween: The American Tradition

At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults were the most common way to celebrate. These parties focused on games, foods of the season, and costumes. By the 1920s, Halloween had become a community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Due to the high numbers of young children during the 1950s baby boom, Halloween evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young, and parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home. During this time, the practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for the entire community to share the Halloween celebration.

In a few days (after the electrician’s visit and I once again have power at home) I’ll be posting a few favorite Halloween photographs! I love Halloween!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Electrical Issues Update

I've been told that the main breaker is bad, along with at least 4 (probably more by now) of the little "sub-breakers". After they fix these problems, they will be able to determine if there are any other issues.

Even less of the house has power now - apparently as each "sub-breaker" goes bad, it takes another area of the house with it! Yep, you guessed it - power in my office is now gone! I'm only logging on from work right now - and that certainly limits my computer time!

So today we sit waiting for parts - can't wait til Friday when the repair work is scheduled. Ahhh... the joys of a 62 year old house with the original wiring!