Last Tuesday was my birthday. My husband wanted to take me to Paris. It is not our time to go away. Being asked by the person with whom I’d most like to share Paris is an amazing enough gift. Then last week, too, I had other unexpected gifts. Out of respect for my family—my home team and the treasures of my heart—that shall remain among us.
On Sunday, in honor of my mother-in-law’s 95th birthday, my in-laws, husband, and I hosted a party at her favorite, longtime pub, not Cheers, but it’s a place where “everybody knows her name.” And her favorite drinks. Her attitude, sass, and utter refusal to complain turn me on. So do those Vodka drinks.
I considered listing my turn ons and turn offs, but I figure:
why deal with turn offs on my birthday?
why make lists?
Instead, I’ll free associate here about my loves ‘n stuff.
Other turn ons include: our new shower, my longtime friends who’ve been there for the laughter and the load, a good day of writing, writing, revising, revising some more, discipline, stick-to-it-ness, teaching, my students, my students’ writing and revisions, being in the moment, tenacity, grit, my daily routine, work, hard work, swimming after a day of hard work, having a pool or lane to myself, soul, playing the piano, getting through two lines of “Rhapsody in Blue” and a page of “Clair de Lune,” my blog readers, my blog readers’ comments, authenticity, self-made people, getting and giving flowers for no reason, getting on a triple wordscore with all seven letters, Jonathan calling at 6:00 pm to say, “Where should we meet for dinner?”Japonica, our other neighborhood restaurants particularly the one at which the owner calls Jonathan “Mr. Nancy,” Jonathan’s brisket, his miso marinated cod, my meatloaf, my meatloaf cold the next day, a Ballanchine ballet with Tchaikovsky music, NOT having to play piano for the relatives, solitude, reading in a comfortable chair, reading anywhere, Mark Twain, the works of the Russians, Charlie Chaplin, the other greats who make me cry and laugh, dancing, dancing in our living room, people who are not full of shit, people who are not full of themselves, editors who say “yes,” space to share my truths on my blog site and in newspapers and magazines, space, and last but first, most and always: togetherness with Jonathan and our kids.
My parents, warm, funny, and perceptive people, gave me a hellluva lot that I did not acknowledge when they were alive and while I was growing up. None had to do with money or material stuff. The enormity of their legacy is a story for another time, but three pieces of their advice echo through my mind: FAMILY IS EVERYTHING (from my father) DON’T KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES. THEY ARE CLUELESS, (Dad, too) and MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES (from my mother). I follow my heart not the herd, Dad. My family means the world to me. More than they’ll ever know. And yes, I’m making hay, Mom. TONS.