Monday, December 7, 2009

For Ed

Dear Daddy -

It has been 12 years since we lost you. Twelve years is a long time, and so many things have happened since that sad Sunday morning; for that is a harsh reality of death: life does go on. Thousands of minutes have passed since 6:09am, December 7, 1997, and yet that particular moment is seared in my memory like only a handful of others.

I regret not fully waking up to give you a hug and kiss that Thursday night before you left for the Keys Friday morning. I had been in Tallahassee all week, and you arrived home late after a business dinner. In a half-alert moment, I heard you open the door; but I stayed in bed. I missed you the next morning as you left early for Marathon...no doubt excited for the warm, beautiful weather and the peace of Avenue M. My last memory of you is sitting on the sofa in the living room at Grandmama's watching football with Uncle Tommy Williams, Grandaddy and various other family members. You were laughing, with that twinkle in your eye, and joking with Uncle Tommy -probably about the Georgia Bulldogs.

Later that morning, as Ashley and I waited to board our plane to Marathon, I was actually stunned that the sun had risen, that time continued ticking on the clock, and that people were going about their normal lives...how could they? Didn't they know something awful had happened? That my father had died? I was mad and sad and lost. Completely untethered.

One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, slowly, slowly, life settled into a new normal. Normalcy is bittersweet. Losing you is the single worst thing I've had to endure in my life. How could life possibly ever be normal again? Happily, it is. And I know that you are proud of that.

But the pain is still here, and some days are a lot worse than others. Like last Monday as I watched a woman about my age greeting her father at baggage claim with hugs and smiles. Or today, on the anniversary of your passing, when I'm on my own in Tallahassee, far away from anyone who remembers the significance of today and why I'm so sad.

When Mama called me that morning 12 years ago, all I could do was pray: that God would keep you close to Him, and that He would keep you close to me in my heart. That is how I begin my prayers every day, and I believe God has kept up His end of the bargain. Still, I'm not sure the untethered feeling will ever go away.

During the memorial service someone said "your father wouldn't want you to be sad." I told her that you most definitely would want me to be sad that you were gone, because I missed you. And I still do. I love you, Daddy.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

See What I Mean??

Zane busted out two new words since I updated this joint yesterday:

"hah" - he does a pretty good job of keeping his hat on when we're in the sun.
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"pur" - the boy knows him some accessories.
No wonder it is hard for me to keep up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

WPEBA?

Magic 8-Ball says, "yes."

It's been awhile. As much as I love writing, I find it very hard to keep up with regular posts. There is so much to write about and I'm a Virgo so I want to do it all in order, but I can't keep up with writing about everything that is happening so fast...so I don't know where to start...so I become...paralyzed.

I don't know why I put so much pressure on myself to make these blog entries "perfect:" timely, relevant, smart, witty, whatever. But, I do. And then there's the matter of pictures. All of our thousands of pictures are stored on a hard drive. At home. The trouble is, I don't have much free time for blogging when I am at home. And the truth is, I don't want to make the time for blogging at home. I would rather spend my time playing with PG and Zane.

So my first entry here in two months will be all words. Fittingly, it is about words. Specifically, all the words my 19-month-old genius has mastered.

At his 18-month well-baby visit, our nurse asked if Zane could say at least 15 words. Phil and I confidently answered "yes", and eagerly added that his vocabulary probably extended to about 25 words.

Not long after that appointment, Zane left for the first of his two summer vacations: a week in Alabama visiting the GGs with Pappi, Kyle and Todd. As we put together the operation manual for our Zane, including "Words Zane Can Say", we discovered that he must be a verbal ninja. Or a word nerd. Either way, Zane's vocabulary list included fifty - 50! - words. We are so proud of him because not only can he say these words, he uses and understands them in proper context. It must be the rum.

"MAH muh..."
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"PAH puh..."
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"moo!" - he is my child after all; I love the moon. I taught him the sign, too.
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"BALLLLLLLLLLL..."
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"BOHHHH!" - he waves and says "Hiiiiii!" at every passing boat, too
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"ow-sigh"
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"ee-sigh"
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"wuh ssat" - he is a curious explorer
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Waffle - "wa-wvu"
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Juice - "juse" with a slight lisp on the finish
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"moke" - the kid loves his milk
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"peas" with a slight lisp on the finish - he always asks nicely.
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"ah-ku" - and says thank you.
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"ah kow" - we love you, too, little man.
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"NIGH nigh..."
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"moh" - the kid is very clear about what he likes, and when he wants more, he wants more! He makes the sign with this one, too.
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"ah duh" - but when he's done, he adamantly repeats himself and makes the sign
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Gigi - for my Grandmama
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Daddy - for my Grandaddy
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"kole" - he loves school
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"haiii" - and he does his little Forrest Gump wave
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"bye-bye" -also with a little flourish of a wave
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"UH oh..."
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"oh NOOOO" - and both hands go to his head to emphasize the point
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"too too" - when he toots
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"sit" - pretty clear, except he leaves off the hard T at the end and adds a slight lisp
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No - this one, of course, is very clear...
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My/mine - this one is very clear, too. sigh.
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"cowl" - Big Cousin
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"tah" - Middle Cousin
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Pappi
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"chuck" - whenever he sees PG's car
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"sack" - the kid knows where his snacks are, too, by goodness.
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"eye"
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"noe"
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"mow"
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"fee" - if he is sitting down, laying on the changing table, or riding in his car seat, he will lift his leg to show us his feet when we ask him.
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"book" - very clear, without the hard K at the end
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"shu shuze" - he is so cute about putting on his shoes; he will bring his shoes to one of us, then turn around, back up, and sit in our lap for us to put them on him. Zane also knows how to put away his shoes!
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"cwocks" - I don't care how comfortable Crocs are, people who wear them look like dumbasses. Everyone except little kids. Little kids look adorable in them.
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"pooo" - the kid would jump right into the pool if we'd let him!
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"Boo"
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"diss"
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"dat"
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"wah diss?/wah dat?"
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"Go"
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"Go bye bye"
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"I sit"
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"yeaaahHHH" - this one cracks up PG and me. He escalates the second syllable.
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"uh huh..."
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"ur pur" - he pats the side of his bum when we are changing his diaper
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"arm"
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"knee"
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"toes"
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"rerver" - this is Zane's newest trick: as we approach the bridge every morning and afternoon, he gets very excited and says "rerver! rerver!" while pointing at the river.
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"ehr pan" - whenever he even hears an airplane
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"wock" - when he wants to be rocked
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"where it go?"
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"up"
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"dow"
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"amen"
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"poon" - he is doing pretty well with his table manners
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"bib"
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"burr" - his beloved Lookout from Build-A-Bear
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"waahhh...tu...go...fye...go..." - 1, 2, 3 go!
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"ur gur" - Yo Baby, the most expensive yogurt on earth.
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"beebee" - belly
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"boobie" - he is his father's child, after all...
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"crock ur" - sometimes I think we should have named him "Polly"
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"coo KEEE" - "no, Ms. Busybody Buttinsky, I don't mind that my son is a hot mess eating his chocolate chip cookie while riding in the grocery cart. He is happy, and I can buy some wipes."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

WWJD?

I'm on Facebook. A lot. Everyone else is, too, so I don't really have a problem. Okay, maybe I have a small problem...whatever, back to my story.

I'm "friends" with NPR, which is my other addiction. I have no patience for bad radio, so NPR it is (except when Zane and I are jammin' to the new Z-100). Wow, I am scatter-brained today. Must be the Diet Coke.

Okay, so, really, back to my story.

Today NPR updated its Facebook page with a story link about the release of the entire first season of Designing Women on DVD.

Like most women living below the Mason-Dixon line, I love Designing Women. My sister and I have seen every episode and still watch re-runs in syndication. There are certain lines and dialogue that never fail to crack us up.

In honor of the DVD release, NPR Pop Culture blogger Linda Holmes created "The Designing Women Game: Write Your Own Julia Rant." Finally! An opportunity to channel the queen of the calm, cool, collected tirade; an opportunity to understand - just once - what Julia would do.

The template is based on the Mad Libs model and contemplates the question, "What would Julia say about ABC's newest installment of the Bachelorette?"

Here's what I (as Julia) have to say:

"I would rather spend two hours sharing jalapeno poppers with Charles Manson than watch a woman who apparently purchased her intellect at the Dollar Store for $3.73 chase twenty-five men with biceps made of copper and heads packed with Trix.

Because when future generations look upon what we have left for them, which may by then be little more than greenhouse gases and millions of non-biodegradable blackberries, I fear they will conclude that they would have welcomed bread and circuses if only they had realized the alternative was Chili Fritos and The Real Housewives of New York.

And let me tell you a little something about romance: Handing out roses like you are a mascot throwing Sour Patch Kids to the assembled hooligans at the NBA Finals is not my idea of romance. Romance is a man who knows the difference between John Adams and Jon Bon Jovi and who is capable of putting on a brassiere without scratching his head as if he is connecting a Tivo without the instruction manual.

So do not ask yourself why I do not particularly enjoy a television show where the assembled male candidates represent romantic prospects inferior to the workers on the night shift at the Applebee’s in Orlando. Ask yourself whether, after a lifetime playing with a cultural Tonka Truck and dancing on the grave of Captain Ahab, you will ever...recover...your dignity."

And THAT, Marjorie, just so you will KNOW, and so your GRANDCHILDREN will SOMEDAY know, was the NIGHT. The LIGHTS. Went OUT. In GEORGIA.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ziggy Pop

It's time to lighten the mood in this joint. It is Friday, after all, and who wants to ride ickiness into the weekend? Not me. So, here are two brand-spankin'-new photos of my boys. It's too bad they really don't like each other very much.

PG - 43 years, Zane - 17 months

Nice try, but no. We are not cutting Zane's hair. EVER.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

paigeewaigee is...

still trying to make sense of it all; but promised to write a blog entry about the incident.

As posted to my Facebook profile last Thursday, via Twitter, I "learned a very hard lesson today: never, ever trust anyone. That includes "friends."

When I joined Facebook last Spring (as a way to see photos of a dear friend's new baby boy), I determined to use the service for pure social reasons: reconnecting with old friends from high school; staying in touch with friends who are geographically distant; keeping up with the local social scene; sharing photos and quick updates with family near and far; etc.,.

I work in a field that all but requires socializing with colleagues. Politics is built on a foundation of personal relationships and connections, and the line between "colleague" and "friend" is faint and distorted. Still, as my "friend" list expanded to include friends who are also work colleagues, I adjusted my privacy settings to allow only limited access to people who work within the legislative process - with very few exceptions.

Further, I blocked all Members who requested "friendship" through Facebook. While I socialize with many of my fellow aides and many lobbyist peers, "socializing" with Members - especially via a social networking website - is dangerous territory. In fifteen years of work in politics, I have learned "Members are not your friends." Period.

So, now, back to last Thursday. I posted (via Twitter) a status update that was critical of an Office in the Florida House, for good reason. Said Office is designed to provide clear, concise, accurate information about pending (or enacted) legislation to Member offices (and the public, the media, whoever...). Quickly.

However, when I called Said Office, identified myself as the aide to Representative So-and-So (information they should know, by the way...just sayin'...) to request information for responding to a constituent inquiry, I got the exact opposite of the service Said Office is supposed to provide. This is a pattern. Said Office is, as I stated in my status update, useless.

The five-word status update (posted during a break using my personal crackberry) did not name any names and did not include any detail. Ahem.

Somehow, despite the fact that my legislative "friends" are prohibited from seeing any status updates and links on my profile, that update made its way to the Honcho of Said Office who approached my boss...on the floor of the House...and raised hell. My boss directed me to remove the post, which I did.

This incident left me disturbed, upset, confused, mad, indignant and scared...on many levels:

  1. That someone I consider a friend, not a "friend" or just a colleague, would throw me under the bus. I do not know who I can trust anymore.
  2. That the Honcho would be so thin-skinned about something I (a minion) said, especially since the comment wasn't even about the Honcho. Politics is brutal and surely my comment is not the worst criticism ever received - either directly or indirectly. Maybe the Honcho is in the wrong biz?
  3. That the Honcho took up the cause of gossip (in the manner of true statesmanship) and immediately sorted to "defensive" and beating down the subversive instead of going to the root of the problem.
  4. That freedom of expression is a guaranteed right in our democracy and I did not waive that right when I started my career in legislative politics. I'm afraid that personal censure is now part of the lexicon of politics in Florida. Don't dare to criticize the powers-that-be.

Should I have been so reckless in trusting privacy settings on the internet? Probably not. But, I learned that I should not be reckless in trusting my friends.