Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Secret to Life

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Yesterday I was texting with my friend.   Once, a long time ago, he was my boss--the guy who counted on me to get some things done for him at the office so he could focus on being successful at what he did to make a living.  My days were spent making spreadsheets, answering the phone and occasionally getting rice pudding for our afternoon snack. His were spent making tons of money.  But that was a long time ago--luckily now we can just be friends.  It was the afternoon in France and practically still nighttime in California.  He couldn't sleep.

"I'm having coffee with Laurene Jobs today," he wrote.

My friend is going to make a career move, and maybe it will involve Laurene Jobs, or other people seemingly blessed with wealth and standing.  Slightly awestruck, but not jealous, I countered with,

"Can you ask her if she paid off Phillipe Starck the $3.5 million they still owe him for designing her yacht?"

And there it is, the secret to life.

Once we were in Phoenix at my sister-in-law's house.  She also has four children, and let's just say hers are slightly more rambunctious than mine.  One day she put some frozen chicken out on the patio to thaw.  It was a logical choice--why bother wasting hot water or microwave energy when the warmth of the desert sun would do the job quickly and for free?

Later that day, she went to get the chicken to prepare it for dinner.  Mysteriously, it was gone. She asked everyone if they knew where the chicken had gone.   She asked her eldest son.  She asked her eldest daughter.  She asked her youngest daughter.  And in desperation, she even asked her youngest son, who was just a toddler at the time.  Nobody had seen the chicken.

The next day, the phone rang.  It was the neighbor calling.

A cheerful voice said, "Do you know why there are chicken breasts all over my backyard?"

And there it is, the secret to life.

Just before Christmas, my friend got her heel stuck in the mud while she was going up some steps outside in the dark. When she heard a "crack!", it wasn't her high heel.  It was her foot.  It swelled, it bruised, and then it sat in a cast for weeks and weeks to try and heal.  A couple of weeks into the treatment,  I went to her house to check on her.  She was sitting on the kitchen floor, a dustpan in one hand, and little broom in the other.  I asked her what she was doing.

"I'm cleaning up," she replied.

And there it is, the secret to life.

My friend started to perk up by the end of our conversation, and I was happy to have shared a few minutes of our day together.  I had an observation.

"Life goes by really fast and nobody really knows what they're doing-especially me!" I typed out.

"Felt by all except wild egomaniacs and the truly clueless," he countered.

And there it is, the secret to life. 

(Take a deep breath, and enjoy it.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Two-Thousand and . . . FIFTEEN!?

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At Jessie's wedding in California
April 2014

When I was in fifth grade, I went home in December for Christmas break.  After two glorious weeks of sledding, drinking swiss-miss with mini-marshmallows and watching back to back Christmas specials, the 10 year-olds in our class dragged our moon boots back into Mrs. Hershey's classroom.  But it was tough to get back into the swing of things.

It seemed that no amount of izod shirts, neon jelly bracelets or walkmans could make up for having to go to school.

I remember writing my name in the top right corner of my lined paper, along with the date.  But I couldn't seem to get it right.  1984....crossed out with Mrs. Hershey's red pen.  Many times.  I just couldn't remember that it was 1985.

That was thirty years ago.  Mrs. Hershey's khaki pants with little blue embroidered whales all over them have gone in and out of fashion.  Jared Sanford is just as cute now as he was when he was 10.  Sean White married a beautiful girl, and unless I'm mistaken, Krista Hungerford stopped wearing her collar up.

One assignment that year was to imagine life in the year 2000.  I didn't think that it was possible that we would live to see the year TWO THOUSAND!  So here I am, alive and well in 2015.  I have a computer that I carry around in my pocket, I live on a completely different continent and it is quite possible that my life is already half over.

And so we arrive at today.  So many good and bad things happened in 2014 that I didn't document.  I let this blog disappear as I learned to deal with things...turning inward instead of out.  It's my bad habit--trying to deal with things alone (or celebrate) rather than reaching out. But this year is different.  I can feel it in the winter air - and as Paddy, the Bootcamp trainer, said when he weighed me and took my fat percentage after 3 weeks of complete culinary debauchery--"Stasha, it's your year!" ;)

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Turning 40 was weird.  

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I stood in line for 1-1/2 hours so the kids could tour the gardens AND see the inside of Versailles

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Sam can just barely fit in the elevator in Dave's apartment in Paris.  But we prefer the stairs.

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We, um, "found" this jar at the empty house up the street

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We miss Abby, (pictured here on her first day of school in August) but she is rocking life in AZ.  She is getting amazing grades, got her first job, and lost 25 pounds!  

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Sophie can wear my boots.  

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She also broke her tooth when she took an iPad to the face at summer camp.

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And there was that time on New Years Eve when I met Phillipe Starck.  We kissed cheeks.

So, voila, 2014 in a few snapshots and ....  Bienvenue 2015 . . . I can't wait to see what you got!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Learning to Lean on Each Other

On Sunday my phone lit up with one of my favorite names: Julia Bootcamp.  Her name is Julia, and I met her at Bootcamp a few seasons ago.  I never knew that you could still meet a friend like her at 39. Cheerful, cheeky, the best hostess ever:  Julia just knows how to make you feel good.

If too many days go by, I send her a text: "I miss you.  I need some Julia!"

So naturally I answered with great delight, "Hello!"

Her cheerful voice was filled with something I had never heard from my friend.

"Roberto's been knocked off his bike.  I've gotten a call from the gendarmerie to come down and see them.  I don't know what to do--should I take the girls?"

Now, in this moment, my biggest downfall perhaps became my greatest strength.  I'm a worrier, and I often fear the worst.  Julia has two daughters the same ages as ours.

"Take the girls," I said.

And that was it.  The minutes ticked by and eventually a text.

"The worst has happened.  Pls don't call".

The rest of this story is one that happened in quiet and rending moments.  In deep places you fear to go, but are pulled in without warning, and without hesitation when it means going there to help someone.

I can't tell you that story, because in that place you take an oath to take someone else's pain and keep it somewhere safe, away from the world to see.

 My words are hidden somewhere and I don't think they are coming out this time, so while my friend is leaning on me through these unjust days that no wife should live, I will lean on someone else's words to make sense of this senseless moment.

Roberto and Julia Migliaccio


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