Archives for posts with tag: Love

20170606_163147I am not ashamed to admit it…I love my job.

Sure it can get frustrating constantly dealing with deadlines, and clients who get their ad materials in an hour before press time. Sure it sucks when your sales rep gives you the bare minimum of information when designing an ad that you spend an hour on, only to have the client say “it’s not what they were looking for.

But when it comes down to the proverbial brass tacks, I love my job.

Take today…I am working from home. I already work from home every Wednesday, which is our slowest production day, but this Friday our sales team met their goal, and they have the day off. My publisher, the fair and reasonable gal that she is, told us we could work from home as well. So I sit here in my jammies, mug of tea by my side, writing this rather than driving into town to the office.

This happens frequently. On days where she can our newspaper and magazines are in good shape, she’ll send us home early. This is because she knows that when we are swamped with ad builds, we work weekends and after hours to get proofs out. She acknowledges that, and gives us time off when we are slow.

This is something my other bosses never quite got. Hell, at my last job if I needed to leave early because family was coming in or I had a doctor’s appointment you had to SHOW you made up the time. The fact that I came in 1/2 hour early every day, or sometimes never took a lunch break escaped their notice. They were slave masters when it came to hours.

I also love my job because I respect the product we put out. My newspaper is the heart of Charlottesville…the alternative to your basic newspaper, we cover topics that others won’t touch. This was the cover of our last issue of 2016…12_28_2016 CVILLEWEEKpg01It took BALLS to put this out there for all of Charlottesville to see….to boldly show that we do not agree with what is going on in Washington and around the country. We got a lot of flack for this cover. There are still a few advertisers that refuse to do business with us. But that is why I LOVE our product. They are not afraid to tell it like it is.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 7.42.22 AMThis is another one of my favorite covers from a previous year. Colorful and fun, promoting equality and diversity…and with a drag queen front and center.

My paper sponsors a lot of awesome events in town as well. Not only the Pride Festival, which this cover was promoting, but the Tom Tom Founders Festival, our local baseball team, the Tom Sox, along with a plethora of other community events. They are very invested in our town, and I really dig that.

My company also shows a ton of appreciation for it’s employees. We are fed often…There are always snacks on the table – actually, I’m not sure if this is really a good thing…

My boss is taking my coworkers and I to lunch next week – this after she bought a whole bunch of us lunch just a few weeks back. We frequently have work time-outs where we play games, drink wine and snack for an hour or so at the end of the day. They plan outings for us as well. In a few weeks we will all meet at a TomSox baseball game for a barbecue and drinks.

Yes, there are perks a plenty! Gift cards, free concert tickets and tickets to lots of community events are handed out frequently. During the spring my family got to attend an outdoor barbecue that costs $75 per ticket. I got my daughters free tickets to a Parachute concert a few months back.

Ooops! It’s 9 am! time to log in from home and begin my day. You know what they say…when you love your job you don’t work a day in your life.

 

cutest kitty in the world 5.06.50 PM

I love my cat. He’s a scamp. He sleeps in unconventional positions. He has a wide variety of “meows” that are all expressive and super cute. And he’s never hissed at us or scratched us. Not once.

He has his moments when I want to kill him too…like when he decides to play with everything on my nightstand at 4:30 am, which by the way, he did this morning. Or when he crawls into my Christmas village and steals the little elf to bat around the floor.

But for the most part, he’s a super cat and is showered with much love and attention. He’s not a lap cat, which is a bummer to me, but he will allow me to hold him for a short while, and that’s when I shower him with love.

The other day as I was whispering sweet nothings in his ear and repeatedly kissing his head, I wondered if he realized that this is a good thing. Cause sometimes he just seems annoyed. But other times he purrs and almost seems to lay his head against mine.

Does my kitty know that I love him? When he feels my hot breath against his neck does he know that I’m telling him how much he means to our family and that he’s a good boy? When I kiss his giant melon head does he understand that he’s loved and adored?

I know when he’s showing me affection…like when he head butts me, or licks my forehead. When he rubs up against me and gives me tail hugs. But does he understand my signals?

I sure hope so.

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The other day I was thinking about college, and an old boyfriend popped into my head. It was odd because I hadn’t thought about him in years and years, and yet our few dates were super memorable. I thought to myself, this is worth blogging about! So I began to Google him, hoping I could find an image or some bit of info I could include as an epilogue of sorts, i.e. “Paul is now married with 45 children living in Spokane, Washington.”

Well, I found out information, but it certainly was a bummer. Turns out Paul died back in 2007 from Lupus.

It makes me wonder if I’ve already begun to get to “that age” where old flames and friends begin to head to the great beyond. Paul isn’t the first ex-boyfriend of mine to die too young. Back in the 90s while scanning the obits section of my college alumni newsletter I was horrified to see a name I recognized, and recognized well.

It was the name of this guy Andy that I had a crush on for all of my Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years, when we dated on and off. We dated seriously after college for a few months, and parted on not so great terms during the summer of 1988. And now there I was with my stomach pooled around my feet staring at his death notice.

They were both so young. Especially Andy. We were around the same age and I was only in my 30’s at the time I read that he had died. I wondered what the cause had been – sickness or perhaps an accident? I wouldn’t find out until years later that he’d died of AIDS. That made me doubly sad.

Typical of Tracy, I feel the need to share my memories of these two fellows – my version of a memorial to the short time they were a part of my life. For now I feel that I have to start with Andy.

I met Andy my freshman year at the University of Delaware. He was short, and stylish and very, very cute. He had brown curly hair, a great smile, and originated from Long Island – perhaps our shared accents helped us to hit it off. He always had girls buzzing around him, leaving him messages on his dorm room memo board, and walking with him on campus, so I had a lot of competition.

We never did much but “hang out” that first year; ate at the cafeteria a few times, and I helped him type a paper once where I made so many mistakes I used about a gallon of White Out. I was just glad to spend any time with him. If we ran into each other at a party, he would usually talk to me for a good while. I knew he liked me, but wasn’t sure if he was interested in dating me, so I played it cool on the surface.  But I’ll tell you – I adored him.

Sophomore year was when we first dated. I’d been seeing this guy Rick who I liked, but wasn’t really nuts over when I ran into Andy. We talked for a while over a few beers, and he admitted that he liked me. Would I be interested in taking our relationship to a higher level? Would I! Where do I sign? This was a dream come true.

Unfortunately, I was scheduled to take a semester abroad in Vienna in just a few months. I’d be away for too long a time to think that the relationship could last. Regardless, we dated semi-casually that fall. It was a good thing that it was semi-casual…Andy wasn’t the best boyfriend. He was always busy, and rarely called – I didn’t see him too often at all.  But when he showed up at my door, I’d turn to jelly. Man, there was something about him…

Before I left for Vienna he gave me a little ring to remember him by. It was nothing…just a plain metal wire, really…but I loved it. He promised to write me and I did the same. We murmured “I love you’s,” and I left for Christmas break knowing I wouldn’t see him again until the following fall. I wrote him at least a dozen letters while I was in Vienna, and didn’t receive even one in return. Not even a postcard. And the ring? It broke. I took it as an omen that Andy was probably not my boyfriend any longer.

Enter junior year. It was the first week of school and I was out shooting photos for my intro to Photography class. There was some sort of “welcome back” festival going on, and the quad was crammed with people and events. That’s where I saw him. I was thrilled to run into him so early in the semester. This was the days before cell phones and facebook, and it wasn’t always easy to find old friends at the beginning of a new school year.

I happily ran up to him and gave him a hug. It was then that I saw the girl. He introduced her as “his girlfriend Dana” and I cheerily greeted her, chatted nonchalantly about my summer, and made small talk about our upcoming year. I was trying very hard to act cool; to act as if I could care less that he had a girlfriend. I teased him about not writing me once while I was abroad – that was more to show off in front of his plain Jane girlfriend. I even took a picture of them; Andy and Dana with his dog Rita between him – I could crop Dana out later.

When I got back to my dorm I took the broken ring out of my jewelry box and threw it over the balcony. It soared down three floors and landed somewhere on the grassy slope below. It was my “see ya sucka” moment – the moment I had washed my hands of Andy once and for all.

Yeah, right.

A few days later he called me. He begged my forgiveness, he was breaking up with Dana, blah, blah, blah. I should’ve laughed in his face! I had proudly cleansed myself of him!

But when Andy was concerned I had a very hard time saying no. He was just so cute…I was really quite defenseless. Hours later we were “back together” and I was on my hands and knees searching for the ring in the grass below my dorm.

Can you believe I actually found it?

Nothing much had changed, though. Andy was still a bad boyfriend, rarely calling and only having time for me when it suited him. So I grew a spine and just forgot about him. There was no big break up or final moment. He just never called and I stopped caring.

Now fast forward to Christmas 4 years later. I had sent Andy a Christmas card…I had sent cards to a bunch of old friends from college that year. To my surprise, he called. We chatted on the phone for hours. He was living in Delaware and working as a high school teacher in Elkton, MD but was coming home to Long Island that weekend…could we meet? That old Andy electric current zinged right through me again, and I readily agreed.

We had a blast. We caught up on the past four years and laughed about our doomed college romance. He admitted that he was a pretty shitty boyfriend back in the day, and I joked that I followed him around like a puppy. He made me promise to come down to Delaware to see him the next weekend which I did.

I still remember that trip. There was traffic on the Turnpike, and I was more than an hour late getting to him. We met at a club, and I can remember walking in full of apologies, and he just grabbed me and kissed me. Oh, he was so handsome. We cuddled and danced (to Anita Baker’s Sweet Love) I remember thinking that maybe it was worth going through all the college bullshit to get to this right now. He’d grown up, and now he was mine.

We dated for a few months, and there were some really great times. We did a walk-a-thon over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with his school. We played in the snow with his dog. But slowly, the old Andy began to creep back into the picture. I’d drive down to Delaware and he’d forget that he had things to do over the weekend, and I’d spend my time either sitting in his apartment alone, or coming along on some expedition that I had little interest in, and where he had little time for me.

Then during the 4th of July he was supposed to stop by my house on his way up to Long Island. I waited and waited for hours, and he just never showed. He never called either. I finally gave up and went to a barbecue at my sisters. Later that night I got in touch with him. He said that he got a late start and didn’t have the time to stop. What killed me is that he drove right past my street….and didn’t even bother to stop.

I told him to fuck off. I was done wasting my time with him. This time I really did write him off. I hung up the phone and I never spoke to him again.

And there was his name on the obits page in the Delaware Messenger.

It was tough. I’d spent a lot of years having Andy in my life, and it was sorrowful thing to know he was gone. He was a lousy boyfriend, but I think everyone has someone like Andy in their life at some point. Someone, who for reasons known only to nature and God, you are unequivocally attracted to. A person to whom you cannot help being drawn to, like a moth to a flame.

1950s-dateWho’s ready for another Typical Tracy flashback? Like Jimmy Durante said, “I gotta million of ’em!”

Everyone remembers their first date. Mine was with a boy named Michael. He had dark curly hair and a brilliant smile, and close to the end of our 7th grade year he asked me to go to the Madonna carnival in Fort Lee. Fort Lee was the town right next to ours, made somewhat famous by Roseanne Roseannadanna continuously reading letters from Richard Feder (of Fort Lee, New Jersey).

7th grade was turning out to be a great year, and the last few weeks of school were packed with activities. I was scheduled to sing “Close To You” by the Carpenters in the school talent show, and field day was just a few days away where I was hoping to medal in a race or two. And now my first date.

The day was a beauty, and I met Mike and a bunch of other friends at the carnival. We did the usual stuff you did at these rinky dink fairs – ate cotton candy, tried to get the ping pong ball in the gold fish bowl, and went on rides.

That, my friends, was my downfall. There was one ride that everyone was going on that spun you around a lot – and for the life of me I can’t remember the name. In any case, I was game to give it a try. What could go wrong?

The ride started out great. I was snuggled next to Mike as we spun around and around, up and down, and still around and around. I suddenly became very aware of the blur of the grass, and the crowds, and the buildings, and doubly aware of my stomach full of cotton candy. While I prayed for the ride to stop, my body decided that no prayers were going to save me on this day.

The next thing I knew there was vomit all over the leg of my jeans – and oh yes, it was mine. Typical.

The next thing I remember is sitting/laying on the concrete behind one of the gaming stalls – I was hoping it was the one with the darts and balloons. Maybe someone would miss and put me out of my misery. Mike was worried sick, and sat holding my hand. One of our friends kept shoving a pretzel in my face telling me that eating bread would settle my stomach. I remember slapping it out of his hands and watching it roll down the midway.

Before long Fort Lee’s finest got involved. I guess seeing a girl close to passed out behind the dart tent with vomitty jeans was a tad suspicious. After a few basic questions they had the paramedics check me out and before I could say Jack Robinson they had me loaded on a gurney and I was being shoved into the back of the ambulance. I saw Mike’s face before the doors closed; I think he was close to crying.

This wasn’t go well.

I was taken to the emergency room and was relieved to see my parents after a short while. I was already feeling better between the IV and the air conditioned hospital, and was eager to get out and go home. The doctor had other plans. His examination showed that my appendix was enlarged and needed to come out. Wha? Huh? AN OPERATION???

They took it out that very night. I was in the hospital for a few days, and Mike and his parents came to visit me. I was sort of glad that there had been something really wrong with me, because it gave me a decent excuse for my having puked all over myself. And I give him credit for coming at all. Lots of guys would’ve been like “nice knowin’ ya” after an episode like that.

I missed all my stuff at school too…the talent show, field day, all of it. But worst of all, I missed out on my first date. I never got to experience the rest of the day – hanging out as it got dark, feeling Mike slip his hand into mine, perhaps a first kiss.

After that school was pretty much over. Mike and his family went somewhere on vacation and by the time school started the next year we had both moved on to other things. We stayed friends though. We even went to a Springsteen concert together our junior year in high school, but just as friends. It’s funny – whenever I ran into his parents in town, they were always super nice to me; as if they kind of felt sorry that my date with their son was ruined, even though it was years ago.

Yes, my first date was certainly memorable. And I still have the scar to prove it.

Sally

Back when I was a wee little Slovak learning my ABC’s and 123’s I had my first series of crushes. My initial crush was in the 1st grade, and my tiny 6 year old heart went pitter-patter for my (now) brother-in-law. Yes, my husband’s brother Bruce, who was in the same grade as me, was my first true love. It’s still chuckle-worthy today.

I don’t remember having the hots for anyone in second grade, but third grade was a busy year for my heart. It began with a crush on Arthur – cute as a button with freckles. He was the mayor’s son and smart as a whip. Maybe that’s why I was attracted to him. I still couldn’t tell time and was feeling rather duncey. Maybe hanging out with the smart boy would rub off on me. My adoration of Arthur tickled my mother to death – she was friends with his mom and I’m sure they found it all quite amusing.

And then I had the dream. Even though I was only 8 or so, I still remember it to this day. Arthur and I were on a picnic in a grassy field along the side of a cliff. Suddenly, he turned horribly mean and began pelting me with apples. I don’t know where the abundant cache of apples came from, but none-the-less I was in some serious peril.

Out of nowhere came our classmate, Billy Fink. He hoisted me into his arms, and swung us on a vine down to the bottom of the cliff where we found shelter from the onslaught of flying apples.

And that was it. Arthur was out and Billy was in. Oh, so very in.

The remainder of my third grade year was spent totally devoted to Billy. I remember sharing my feelings for him with my older sister, Wendy. She suggested writing him a letter, and she supplied me with the grooviest stationery…a long rectangle with the word “LOVE” printed on it. You wrote your message inside the “O.” I went back to my room and clumsily expressed my love to Billy in my best penmanship inside that “O.” I looked up his address in the phone book, stamped the letter and mailed it, certain that once he knew my true feelings, we would begin planning our future together.

A few days later (God, I can’t believe I still remember this) I was at the sink in my classroom rinsing out some paint brushes and Billy approached me. The third grade version of “holy shit” ran through my head, and I kept my eyes front and center. I wanted to look at him – hell, to gaze at him – but instead I washed my brushes in a frenzy and kept my eyes on the stack of brown paper towels beside the sink.

He stood right next to me and whispered, “cut the notes!”

Hmmm. That wasn’t quite the response I had dreamed of.

What else was a girl to do? I turned to him, with wide, innocent doe eyes and said “What notes?” He just walked away. I had to act all confused and guiltless, but inside I was crushed. My Billy, with his brown wavy hair, and straight, white teeth, wanted nothing to do with me.

I wasn’t the only girl who was infatuated with Mr. Fink. My friend Beth loved him too, and luckily she lived just a few blocks from his house. Many a day I would accompany her home and after a snack, we would wander down to his house and hang out across the street waiting for him to appear. I remember him coming out only once – I think his mom needed him to take out the trash otherwise he would’ve avoided us like the plague.

He ran out in his jacket, the kind with the hood that zippered up the top. His was un-zippered and it hung on his back in two pie-shaped segments. He growled at us and charged and like any self-respecting third grade girls we ran screaming back to Beth’s house. But we had made contact, and was thrilling.

My love for Billy carried into fourth grade, where thankfully for me, he was still in my class. However, that love was in no way reciprocated, especially after I stabbed him with a pencil.

Yeah, you read that right.

I can’t remember what he said to me that made me do it. We were sitting beside each other for a project, and I guess he said something sort of nasty to me, and feeling both love for him and fury that he flat out hated me, I plunged my #2 Ticonderoga into his thigh.

He began screaming and had to go to the nurse and I got chewed out by my teacher which included lectures about lead poisoning and respect for others and personal space. Once home, mom gave me another dose of discipline. Ugh, I was mortified. I could imagine his mom tending to his wound and wondering what kind of monster this girl Tracy was.

Billy had very little to do with me (duh!) until he moved away towards the end of that year. After his last day of school he was being good naturedly rough-housed by a bunch of boys, wishing him well. I marched straight up to him, punched him in the arm, and walked away. See ya, sucker.

Later on in high school I told Arthur about my 3rd grade crush I had on him, and the Billy Fink apple dream. We laughed about it – I think he even wrote something about it in my yearbook. I wish I could have had that sort of closure with Billy – where I apologize, and we laugh about it years later.

I can’t help but think that somewhere out there is a 49 year old man with a small, circular scar on his thigh whose memory of me is of a pencil wielding whacko.

Typical.

Today is my oldest daughter’s first official Valentine’s Day. She has been dating her boyfriend since May of last year, and he is going to take her out to dinner tonight, with the aid of his parents, who need to drive them to a local restaurant. Valentine’s is fun at that age. It’s a single rose and a teddy bear and some candy and kisses.

I consider myself to be officially done with this particular holiday. I can’t eat candy, and flowers are a waste of money right now, unless they are going into my garden. I don’t like the idea of having to fight the crowds at any of the local restaurants. I don’t even want to spend the $3.95 Hallmark requires to tell someone I love them. I just don’t want to buy into the hype. I think I’ll pass on this one and let the kids have it.

I remember valentine’s day as a child. The classroom window would have the requisite pink cardboard cupid cutouts taped to it, and each child would have a brown paper bag taped to their desk which served as their mailbox for all their Valentines. An hour before school was over, we’d have a little party, and deliver our valentines to everyone’s mailbox.

I can recall being in 3rd grade, and realizing that I had misspelled my classmate John’s name on the Valentine envelope. I had written “Jonh” and was quite embarrassed over my blunder. To make matters worse, I inadvertently delivered “Jonh’s” valentine in my friend Janice’s mailbox and vice-versa. It all seems stupid now, but I can remember that mistake all these years later. I fell like a true dunder-head for the rest of the week, and I guess it stuck with me.

I can also remember being in college and not having a boyfriend during this season. That always sucked, especially since dorm hallways were filled with girls squealing over the roses or candies or balloons they got. Even sadder was the thought that although you knew you were date-less, you still hoped that some secret admirer would send you a rose or a card. That somewhere out in the world there was a person that actually found you appealing and was waiting all year for this one opportunity to secretly declare their love for you.

And when no knock came to your door, there was always the dining hall for dinner with your single friends.

As for me this very Valentine’s Day, I’ll be spending it with my youngest girl and Stonewall Jackson. She has a project due on Friday, and we plan on finishing it tonight. It’ll be nice though, just the two of us. Hubby is working which is fine because now there is no pressure to a) go out, which we can’t afford right now, or b) cook something fancy at home, which we can’t afford right now. Kidlet #2 and I will be happy to make some tacos and settle in to watch a little television.

Sounds like heaven to me.