An Uncapped Pen

March 6, 2011


Filed under: Family,Uncategorized — cindylv @ 7:52 pm

I was three when Robby was born.  I remember being devastated that he wasn’t a little sister.  When I found out his name was Robert Douglas, I took to my rocking chair with a vengeance.  “Ugly Dugly.  Ugly Dugly,” I repeated to myself until I fell asleep.  Robby and I have had a tumultous relationship over the years.  I don’t think I’ve ever forgiven him for not meeting my expectations.

The baby of our family, christened Thomas Wilson, was mom’s Angel Baby.  The four of us ‘non-angel babies’  resented his nickname.  We tried to convince him his name was “Mot.”  He looked like an angel with his blonde curls, blue eyes, impossibly long eyelashes  and an impressive array of freckles. 

Jimmy, the oldest of my brothers, I called “Bimbo.”  I think I originally called him “Jimbo”, but “Bimbo” sounded funnier.  He was diagnosed with lazy eye and had to wear an eye patch for about a year.   He developed allergies to all things green and had to swallow pills and endure weekly shots until he was in his teens.

Carrie never got a nickname.  She never even got a middle name.  Since she is 18 months older than I am, I don’t know anything about her first few years in our home, but I’m convinced that something made her angry and she’s held onto it ever since.  Come to think of it, it could have been me.

Growing up, I was daddy’s “Pretty Pet.  Now, one of my nephews calls me “Aunt Sweetpea.”  One calls me “Cio Cio ReeRee”.  To my nieces, I am “Auntie Cindy.”  For a few days when he was three, my step-grandson called me, “Grandmop.”  Now I’m Grandma Cindy.


September 23, 2008

Time To Quit Effing Around

Filed under: Family,Writing — cindylv @ 9:15 pm

My e-friend, Lisa Kenney, posted about writing/not writing and said that she needs to quit effing around.  I think that sums up where I am on my novel.  I’ve been mulling over ideas and writing sketches and snippets for two short stories, but my novel lies gathering dust on the corner of the kitchen table.

Since I went down to half-time at work last week, I’ve caught up on my sleep, soaked in the tub, walked the dog (miles and miles), done loads and loads of laundry and dishes, read a few novels, vacuumed, and worked an auction.  I’m well-rested, well-fed, exercised, quite clean and . . . not writing much.

We’re headed to California for a family wedding this weekend.  I’ll spend quality time with my grandson, and probably drink too much wine with my lovely sisters-in-law, avoid my mother-in-law, and wear shoes that HURT!  I don’t plan on writing much (but that’s when I usually do my best work.)  I’ll bring my notebook and my speedy pens and do my best.

Come next week, it’s definitely time to quit effing around!

August 19, 2008

I Wish You Could Meet Her . . .

Filed under: About Me,Family — cindylv @ 8:43 pm

My Sister  —  the other half of me.  

She’s seventeen months older than I am, lives in Connecticut with her husband and two adorable sons (okay–in the interest of honestbloggery, the older one doesn’t care for me very much), and I wish I could see her more often.

Growing up, the only thing I ever wanted was exactly what she had:  dolls, books, clothes, friends.  I think the only thing she ever wanted was to get away from her pesky little sister.  

Over the years, we separated.  She moved to Florida.  I moved to Germany.  She headed north to New York.  I headed west to Arizona.  She moved one state north to Connecticut, I moved one state west to Nevada.  Coincidence?

In the early 80s, we both married unwisely, to “inappropriate” men, according to our father.  Fortunately, we both regained our senses and divorced them.  

In the 90s, we both remarried and made much better decisions the second time around.  I celebrated my 15th anniversary last year.  She’ll be married for 10 years in November.  We both played flute in Wind Ensemble and twirled rifles in the Marching Band.  We both traveled when we were younger.

That’s pretty much the end of the similarities.   She took a job on Wall Street, working with numbers, while I flitted from defense contracting to training to environmental remediation to tech writing back to training.  And I’m not done yet.

She’s a full-time mother, and I work part-time for an architect.

She volunteers at her son’s school and supports fundraising activities for an Autism organization.  I dabble with writing.

She knows what all the buttons on her sewing machine do.  I just guess and keep a seam ripper handy.

She’s a great driver with a well-developed sense of direction.  I just enjoy the scenery as I wander around trying not to kill anyone.

She shops at the bakery for bread, the cheese store for cheese, the butcher for meat and the wine store for wine.  I swing into SuperWalmart on my way home from the office.

She has exquisite taste.  Me?  — um, not so much.

She keeps people at arms’ length.  I love hugs — the more, the better. 

She’s got a great sense of territoriality.  I could learn a lot from her as I frequently have trouble with boundaries.  

She can cook.  I can make reservations.

She’s a great mom.  I have two cats and a dog.

She’s intelligent, well-read, thoughtful and I can’t imagine making a big decision without consulting her.  She has a way of cutting through the fluff, excuses and tangents to the heart of the issue.  She won’t tolerate dissembling.  

She’s generous, helpful, understanding and a good listener.

She’s my sister.  

I love her.  I wish you could meet her.

August 14, 2008

Everyone Should Be So Lucky . . .

Filed under: About Me,Family — cindylv @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , ,

. . . to have a friend like Susan.  She’s intelligent, honest, thoughtful, empathetic, funny, adventurous, easy-going, articulate, interesting, patient, kind, generous—I could go on and on.  If there is a quality one would desire in a friend, I guarantee that Susan’s got it!  

She likes all the good stuff in life:  dogs, cats, wine, books, and garden-fresh tomatoes.  She doesn’t like chewing gum, coffee or pinchy high-heeled shoes.   Inspired by my own 100 Things post from last week, she compiled her own list and sent it to me via email this morning.  

100 Things About Susan 

  1. I tat and knit, but can’t teach either to anyone.
  2. I’m the youngest of three and the only girl.
  3. I drink wine, sometimes too much.
  4. I love to read.
  5. The only hard liquor I like is Vodka.
  6. I color my hair the color I should be naturally.
  7. I just got my first crown, and it wasn’t in a beauty pageant.
  8. I’ve been married for over 20 years to the same person.
  9. I love my two cats, Abby and Pebbles, even though they wake me up at 3 am.
  10. 3 am is a terrible time to be awake.  The boogey man lives there.
  11. I have few early memories, I was always reading.
  12. I don’t like black pepper, or red, or white.
  13. I can eat medium salsa.
  14. I bought a Mazda 3 the day before Christmas and I love it.
  15. I own a 1965 Mustang convertible.
  16. I like to tent camp.
  17. I think, therefore, I don’t always speak.
  18. I have a BS in forensic science from Sacramento state but somehow ended up a glorified trash person.
  19. I love jewelry but never wear more than two rings at a time and one is always my wedding ring.
  20. I’ve fallen in love with the desert.
  21. I have oily skin and still have acne break outs.
  22. I am a San Francisco Giants fan, even this year when we spent way too much for Zito.  I don’t like football much, so I tend to read during games, they re-play all the good plays anyway.
  23. I do the jobs I hate first, that way everything after that is easy.
  24. I played the violin from junior high school through college.
  25. I used to have an MIA bracelet – Major Howard Stevenson 3/29/72 – I left it at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC.
  26. I love my iPod and find it amazing – it seems to have a preference for George Jones.
  27. I make note pads out of scrap paper.
  28. I sometimes love work, but am not terribly ambitious.
  29. I’d rather be busy then bored.
  30. I’d like to lose weight, but haven’t tried really hard in awhile.
  31. I rarely go to movies.
  32. I like the TV series Num3bers, but rarely watch it when it’s on. I tape it.  I have a strange fascination with the reality shows America’s next top model and Project Runway.
  33. I love sushi.
  34. I have lived in California and Nevada, I’m a fourth generation Bay Area Californian.
  35. I have three Canadian cousins.  My brother Mark is 8 hours older than Rita, Bill is 6 weeks older than Eddie and I’m eight days older than Marvin.
  36. I interrupt people too often, but they should talk faster and get to the point quicker.
  37. My family calls me Sue, even though I requested Susan at 12.
  38. I order fish in restaurants.
  39. I like ethnic foods – Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Mexican, etc.
  40. I like to drink water.
  41. I memorized the preamble to the constitution by watching schoolhouse rock when I was little.
  42. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches are the BEST summer dinner.
  43. My birthday this year, 08/08/08, was the opening day of the Olympics in China.
  44. I donate to public radio.
  45. I attend the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
  46. My iPod is only half full.
  47. I am organized at work, not so much at home.
  48. I can herd cats (actually people) at work.
  49. I’m known for editing at work – why use 10 words when 2 will do?
  50. I edit on hardcopies because I can’t do it on the computer.  But I write better on the computer then on paper.
  51. I keep a logbook at work, otherwise I wouldn’t remember what I did.
  52. e-mail is amazing to me and too many people use it so they don’t have to talk to you.
  53. I miss travel.
  54. I don’t like to eat breakfast.
  55. I’d rather stay up late.
  56. I like to stargaze and bird watch.
  57. I like the heat, even the dry heat.
  58. I keep a sweater at work for the summer.
  59. I want to be a tourist when I retire.
  60. I haven’t golfed in over a year.
  61. I think I listen well, but don’t always remember what I heard.  I can tune out people and noise more easily then I used to.  Comes from working in a cubicle.
  62. I take notes during boring meetings to stay awake.
  63. I like to listen to “science Friday” and “wait, wait don’t tell me” podcasts.
  64. I hide my three-hole punch at work.
  65. I like a clean desk.
  66. Clutter makes me itchy, to de-clutter, not to clean.
  67. My blue room is the best place to read, knit, and talk.
  68. I wish I had more shade in my backyard.
  69. I like having every other Friday off.
  70. I’ve memorized parts of Alexander Pope’s essay on criticism.  “ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.”
  71. I like the comic strips:  Dilbert, Zits, For Better or Worse, and Over the Hedge.
  72. I try not to talk just to make noise, and people who do irritate me.
  73. I HATE making mistakes.
  74. I always have a good comeback, not at the time mind you, but hours later.
  75. I sometimes have to get out of bed to write something down so my brain will go to sleep – usually this happens if I’m upset about something.
  76. I’m finding this easier than expected.
  77. I have way too many shoes in my closet.
  78. I like to bake, but rarely eat what I bake.
  79. I like the people I work with and for.
  80. I’m shallow, not Paris Hilton shallow, but shallow.  Let’s face it, I don’t care about a lot of things.
  81. I wear glasses and find them easier than contacts.
  82. I like to get pedicures but for some reason am always watching the clock when I get them done.
  83. I rarely wear make-up, yet I have a drawer full in my bathroom.
  84. I haven’t found my passion, I don’t even know if I’m looking.
  85. I’m afraid of health care costs.
  86. I think daylight savings time is silly.
  87. I wish I spoke two languages and don’t understand people who think everyone should speak English – do they know how hard it is to learn?
  88. I like lavender – soap, plant, scent, and ice cream – yes ice cream, it tastes just like it smells!
  89. I like appetizers.
  90. I used to pretend to be Sherlock Holmes and had a Watson.
  91. I wear my seatbelt – ALWAYS.
  92. I have a good reputation at work for getting things done, so I get the hard jobs.
  93. I don’t like to take naps, they make me groggy.
  94. I have two piercings in each ear and try to always wear earrings.
  95. I coordinate my outfits to my jewelry, not the other way around.
  96. Did you know security people are paranoid?, I do.
  97. I have a personal digital assistant.  I had a better one, but gave it to my brother when it became a prohibited item at work – see number 96.
  98. I would like to retire early but am afraid I’ll outlive my money.
  99. I’m a registered Democrat, but have voted republican (not in the last 8 years though).  I tend to be more liberal than my friends – maybe because I lived in California – but wait, so did my brothers and they are much more conservative than I am.
  100. I used to hate WORD.  Now I just find it irritating.

May 6, 2008

Mother’s Day

Filed under: Family — cindylv @ 9:34 pm
Tags: , ,

Mary Eugenia Cairns, nee: Pedersen.  She died on 16 April 1995.  Easter Sunday.  “What a glorious day to die,” said Father Lawrence Jenko at her funeral.

We all knew something was wrong, my sister, my brothers and I.  We argued about it.  “You do something.”  “Make her go to the doctor.”  “She’s eating Advil like they’re M&Ms.”  We pretended not to notice.

The doctor told us she had five lesions in her brain. For about six weeks, from the time they told us until she died, we held our breath.  Near the end, my brothers brought her home from the hospital.  A hospice angel came out to the house to help.  Robby and Tommy stayed with her, literally in the bed with her, until the end.  She had colon cancer.

The funeral was held on a Wednesday.  It was the 18th.  While waiting for my sister to finish dressing, I turned on the television.  I stood and watched for a few minutes.  A building in Oklahoma City was on fire.  I couldn’t feel anything.  I was too busy pretending.  For the last thirteen years, I’ve been pretending she’s in Chicago with my brothers.

I’m a great pretender.  It’s my best thing, actually.

This past Sunday, I shopped for a Mother’s Day card for my lovely stepdaughter Samantha.   After looking at a hundred cards,  I felt a crack.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma.

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