Wednesday, February 29, 2012

40 Diamonds for 40: Krazy EsKapades with Krippy

Once upon a time, in a far away college setting, one with its very own castle, there were a group of girls, let's call them: Poopeh, Kari, Amy, Tati, Krippy, Len(y), Janey, and Nettie. They had various classes, activities, trials and tribulations together, sometimes for three years, sometimes for four. Despite exams and tests, papers and parties, classes and coachings, boyfriends and breakups, tantrums and tears, Flik and fate, we made it through to graduation .... and beyond.

This is the story of Krippy and Nettie. From the first day of classes and comps, to weddings and wanderings, Manhattan to Maine, playing hookey or playing hockey, we're still somehow these silly girls -- just trapped in older, greyer, more jaded versions of ourselves.

Love you Krippy! Lots and Lots!

l-r: Some of the gang on the Quad, Poopeh and Krippy outside the library, Tati, Amy and Krippy in my room, right before I moved off-campus for spring semester senior year
The Adventures of the Unholy Trio (Jane, Nettie, Krippy)
2/3rds of the Trio on the Quad in two shots.
Stress makes us do silly things.

Krippy wonders why did I let me near her with a camera?

Dear Auntie Nettie,

When I got your request for a post for your “40 Diamonds for 40” celebration, I immediately said YES. Of course life with four kids means that things take me longer to get to these days and so I’m a little belated in getting this post to you. I used to be so prompt with things, so I hope you forgive me yet again for my lateness.

Next to my roommate and neighbors in Spellman Hall, you were my first friend in college. I distinctly remember you yanking my seat closer to yours that first class with Dr. P. and we both looked (rather horrifiedly) at each other, wondering what we got ourselves into. That was September 1990. I’m not sure either of us knew that day that in February 2012 we’d still be friends. We were both trying to figure out if we were going to survive English I (Beowulf, Canterbury Tales and others tried to take us down, but we did survive).

It turned out that besides our given choice for college major, we had another common interest~music. We spent many, many days on stage over the course of our four years in that small college in Westchester County, acting like idiots with Jane (who can forget our "tribute" to Martinu and some rather ridiculous dances we created when we were supposed to be rehearsing). The Trio Non Sacra was born out of our love for each other and music and I truly miss those days. It’s hard to believe we last played together in 1994, the night before graduation, for our entire graduating class. Sometimes I think of those days and truly cannot believe it’s been that long, because it feels like yesterday.

[Krippy and Doug at graduation '94; Krippy on the beach before her wedding; Wedding morning; most of the wedding party; first dance]

Life since 1994 has seen you staying in NY and me moving to Boston, then back home to Maine. 1998 brought you back twice, once for my bridal shower in the absolute pouring rain (somewhere I have a picture of you and Amy trying to load the truck in my parents’ driveway and you look like drowned rats; be glad I couldn’t find it) and then again when you were my beautiful maid of honor (not horror as you insisted on saying) on September 26, 1998. Can you believe it’s been almost 14 years since that day? Time has flown.

[I also made it up to Maine for Krippy's baby shower for her oldest, Megan, and then about six months later to meet Ms. Meggie. See below.]

Our visits to each other have stretched out, becoming longer than I think we’d both like. We have our own lives now, not as connected as they once were by English classes and notebooks in the library where we wrote silly notes about lollypops and Gonzo and ghosts in the stacks. We’ve both walked away a bit from the music we once loved, although you get to experience it through the students at the Big J and I get to relive moments through my Meg. We do both still love our books; the real deal, not e-readers, but books with dust and history. Our love of libraries runs deep to this day, even though neither of us works in one now. We stay connected with our blogs a bit and through those 140 characters on Twitter and you send me wonderful postcards with tropical places we could visit, someday. I should figure out my Skype login so we can chat face-to-face; that would be so much better than squeezing in love through 140 characters. Remember when we used to send real letters, long ones that spilled the details of our lives on real paper with real stamps? I think somewhere in boxes in my basement I still have yours.

We’ve been friends for almost 22 years. We seen our 20s and 30s come and go with births, deaths, emails, real mail, cell phones, packages in the mail, long silences. I don’t believe those silences has ever been anything other than busy lives getting the best of us. I’m pretty sure you told me 2012 is the year of travel, so we WILL see each other this year. I won’t allow my crazy life (oh and it’s crazy for certain) to get in the way of that, since our last visit in 2009 was too short and too long ago. We can celebrate our 40th birthdays together. You’ll be required to bring that silly sheet of paper I signed a hundred years ago that talks about how we should just be happy with who we are and how we look (was that it? Was I ranting about plastic surgery that day?) and I’ll sign it again. Because you and I have always loved each other for who we are, two girls from quiet lives who met that fateful day in English I. I cannot imagine my life without you in it.

Happy 40th birthday my dear Auntie Nettie. I love you.

"Why can't people just accept the fact they're going to grow older and stop doing things to try and prevent it." c. 1992. HA. What little we knew.

Visit to ye o'alma mater and ye o' Caramoor mid-2000s.

Monday, February 27, 2012

40 Diamonds for 40: Letters from Lisa

I have been most fortunate in my career to have shared office space with people that I really enjoy. I have spent, and currently spend, FAR too much at work, so being able to have a good working environment, and enjoy the people you share space with, both personally and professionally, is a true blessing.

Lisa is one of our little trio tucked into a room off the main suite at the Big J, where she has to deal with many varied writing assignments, from speeches, proclamations, to curriculum review analysis, to onerous accreditation studies. She's a published author, an Ivy League PhD, but doesn't make you feel insecure about your lack of similar credentials. Another fellow baker, she offsets her cookie addiction with regular gym visits during lunch. Although I've deserted her lately, I know she's hopeful I'll rejoin her on the 22nd floor, as we work off our considerable stress on rowing machines, reclining stationery bikes, and/or elliptical machines. Out of an unspoken agreement, there is no photographic evidence of our gym trips, so my photo of Lisa is borrowed from her staff portrait in the School newspaper. Outside the office she has an adventuresome spirit, going zip lining on family vacations. Forget bungee jumping, or jumping out of airlines, perhaps I can try zip lining. Lisa did it, so so can I! Thanks for participating Lisa.

Sharing an office with Auntie Nettie has truly been a unique pleasure, as I’ve been able to witness her “in action” on a daily basis. One of the things I most admire about her is that she not only knows the name of seemingly everyone in the building – from the custodians to the “IT guys,” from the security guards to the work study students that come and go – but she also really knows something about each of them, and what makes them special. One of the many things she knows about me is my addiction to peanut butter cookies, particularly the Aramark ones that are served at so many school functions. Since I’m not in the office every day, many is the time I’ve arrived at my desk in the morning to find a few cookies wrapped up in a napkin like a special gift from a fairy godmother. And it’s not only cookies, but books, useful coupons, a beautiful ammonite or handmade Christmas ornament – all offerings that speak to her wonderful generosity of spirit, and that make coming to work more enjoyable.

Not that she’s a saint (well actually, I guess she technically IS a saint, of the latter-day variety) – she can gossip with the best of them, and believe you me, if someone provokes her ire, she won’t keep it to herself. This is just part and parcel of her charm, of course – her humor, her irreverence, her spunk are all part of the package, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. So as she celebrates her big “four-o,” I send her my fondest best wishes for all that awaits her – I hope the next decade is filled with much happiness and fun.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Auntie Nettie's Attic Merchandise 2012 - February

February is a short month, which is all to the good - except for when you are trying to see people, do things, and would like to also spend time at home crafting.

This month, somehow, I managed to:
~survive my birthday -- and yes, survive is the correct adjective. It's a big birthday, as you'll have been reading, and why I don't mind the tributes that are being posted on the blog, having to be up, functional, and at work, while trying to get through it like it was just another day was tricky. Luckily most of my family and friends know how I get, so we had our phone and Skype time prior to the day. My colleagues at work were also clued in/warned, and so, thankfully, kept the fuss to a bare minimum;
~ have lots of meals with friends, i.e.:
-brunch with Poopeh,
-lunch with Christine and Tammy,
-lunch with Jane,
-lunch with Susan, and
-lunch with Ed and Arsi;
as well as:
~get my taxes done,
~work late FAR too many days;
~catch up on television programs, including Downton Abbey;
~and to attend a recital or two.

Oh, and I got sick. AGAIN. Darn stress.

One of the things I did NOT get done this month was to take advantage of the Lion Brand Yarn specials. During the week of your birthday, if you head down to their Studio space on 15th Street in NYC and show proof, you get 20% of your entire purchase. Now, I really need to stock up on some stuff, like gender specific baby blanket materials, but the universe conspired against me, with work appointments, conference calls, and 10-12 hour work days. I suppose it's just as well. (Right? It saved me money, didn't it?)

One of the resolutions I made LAST year was not to buy any more yarn until I used up the stash I already had lurking around, hiding in closets, stuffed between books on the shelves, and between furniture. Aside from a few slip-ups, I've been holding firm to that resolution. I've prodigiously been turning out blankets from the stash I had, as well as scarves, and hats. I have so much inventory for the shop! SO MUCH.

The other unfortunate side effect? Stuffed animals are breeding like, well ... rabbits up in here. Not only that, they are trying to find ways to escape the Attic to find new homes. Help me out, please. Make an offer in the comments, or DM, or e-mail me for prices and availability, or head over to the shop where I've got the bunnies, birdies, and bears listed. I'd even trade. A bunny for a skein of certain types of yarn .... *

ANA 2012-13: Purple Bunny
(mystery acrylic yarn, batting, and buttons)
(as of 4/2012 no longer available, gifted)
ANA 2012-14: Rose Bunny
(mystery acrylic yarn, batting, and button)
ANA 2012-15: Maroon Bunny
(mystery acrylic yarn, batting, and buttons)

(as of 2014, no longer available, gifted)
ANA 2012-16: Pink Bunny
(part of a skein of Caron Simply Soft yarn, batting, and button)
(as of 05/2012, no longer available)
ANA 2012-17: Halloween Hare
(part of skeins of Caron Simply Soft and Lion Brand Micro Spun yarns, batting, and button)

(as of 12/13 no longer available, Toys for Tots)
ANA 2012-18: Orange Bunny
(part of skein of Lion Brand Micro Spun, batting, and buttons)
(as of 4/2012, no longer available, gifted)
ANA 2012-19: Out-of-this-world Roving Rabbit
(part of skein of Caron Simply Soft, ball of mystery acrylic novelty yarn, batting, and buttons)
(as of 8/2012, no longer available, to be a Toy Society toy)
ANA 2012-20: Mint Green bunny
(part of skein of Red Heart Baby Sport Pompadour yarn, batting, and button)

(as of 2014, no longer available, gifted)
Still in Progress:

2012 UFO 1: A bird? A bunny? Parts of 2 birds? I don't know yet. I'll have to see.
2010: Multi-fiber, multi-colored blanket aka the bane of my existence
Hi. I'm Auntie Nettie, and not only am I a workaholic, a biblioholic, a chocoholic,
I'm a yarnoholic.Yes. The shop is open. Please help me out. Shop and clear things out of my studio.

Friday, February 24, 2012

40 Diamonds for 40: Journeys with Mrs. Jenn

One of the perils of allowing photos to be part of this 40 Diamonds project was knowing that I was opening Pandora's box. It's one thing when it's family, it's a whole other thing when you have friendships going back more than 30 years.

One of the longest enduring friendships I have dates from middle school, one of my 27 Jennifers -- Ms. Jenny, once Jen, and now Jenn, MRS. Jenn. After all this time, we have been mistaken for sisters, which is almost true at this point. If you look on my phone, she's id'd as: Jenn, Practically Sister.

Our path to a pair of "besties" has ebbed and flowed. I first met one of our core group, Shannon, in third grade and we survived elementary school together -- paired as "advanced" students and we were off doing our own thing in a reading group of two, perusing materials from the middle school curriculum. Then we traveled up the hill to middle school, where we met Jenny. Jenny became Jen and then Jenn, and she, Shannon, and I had various classes and activities that overlapped, and for a time, it was really Jenn and Shannon that were the closest.

These are some of the earliest surviving shots of the trio circa middle school. (The 1980s were not kind in so many fashion areas!)

Our middle school trio expanded to a quartet in high school with the addition of Rachel. We ate together, lockered near each other, had overlapping classes and interests, had sleepovers, traveled to NYC on school trips and Trips by Mary (tm), watched Anne of Green Gables and swooned over Gilbert Blythe together, and even all played "hookey" all at the same time (thanks Mom!).

High School: Senior Photos and Yearbook Candids o' Nettie and Jenny

I perfected my guerrilla photography techniques in the halls of the high school. From banquets, to ambushes by the lockers, Jenn was in the action -- with Rachel (l) and Shannon (c and r).

Don't let Ms. Prim and Proper fool you. She'll flip you off when the flash hits too. The '80s were the perm years, for both of us, but by senior year the layers were growing out - to 'fro status.

Graduation led all of us in different directions, first to college, then to different states and coasts, and different life and career paths. Even with social media, e-mail, and cell phones, we've lost track of people. From two, to three and four, now we're back down to two. Whenever I head back to New England, a trip is not complete without visiting Jenn, in whatever home she's residing. Even though one childhood homestead is gone, I know I always have a place at the White House Inn B&B with Jenn and her family.

Speaking of trips: No mention of Jenn could be complete without mentioning all the trips to the Cape, starting with a graduation trip with Shannon, my mom and grandma -- leading to duo trips with just me and Jenn. From whale watching trips, to exploring P-town, to old piers, and winding our way up and down Route 6A to Mashpee and back, the Cape is where we need to go to retreat -- preferably sometime soon, after a 40th trip to Newport.

Thanks Mrs. Jenny from the W-Block!
Happy Birthday to Auntie Nettie! The big 4-0!

So folks, here is my "Nettie story"...

I met Auntie Nettie when we were in 6th grade in Mrs. Moore's reading class at Kramer Middle School. Who knew then that so many years later we would still be friends, and actually I am happy to report--Best Friends. We’ve survived middle school, high school and college and are now enjoying the "Real World," as they call it.

To an outsider looking at us, we do have very different lives: I am married and living in the suburbs with my family and Auntie Nettie is single and living in/near the City; however, we have a past that ties us together, a present that keeps us in weekly contact and a future that may include us rocking together on a front porch when we are in our eighties!

We’ve been through good and bad, happy and sad and I consider myself lucky to have a friend like Auntie Nettie. While we have spent many happy times together exploring the Cape, watching USA network shows and discussing our Ranger vs. Morelli theories, I also know that if I am having a bad day, week or even month that Auntie Nettie always has an ear to listen to my troubles and a shoulder to cry on.

One of my happiest days was when she stood up for me as my Maid of Honor at my 2002 wedding. (Of course, she called in Maid of Horror! That is Auntie Nettie for you!) Hopefully she will attach the pictures as proof!

So Happy Birthday Nettie, and here's to 40 more for us! Meet you on the porch!



(Only for Jenn -- bridal shower photos and bridal shots)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Diamonds for 40: Christina's Contribution

Just a few short years after Jed took the plunge, J decided to add to my bounty of sisters-in-laws. J, as you might have learned from what you've read here, is quite a character, so the young woman who decided to spend eternity with him had to be equally as unique an individual.

From what I recall of that time: J had been back from his mission for a bit, had escaped to the West with all possible haste, and had reentered the college scene, where he got to enjoying his goofy popularity with the ladies in his apartment complex. We knew something was up, especially when Grumpa Max, Grandmary and I visited for Christmas 2000, and he began to be a bit more squirrelly than usual when the subject of his female friends came up. Though he totally tried to duck the subject about a particular "someone," he got really defensive and adamant that we NOT visit a particular Payless Shoe store and ask about any or all blondes. (Ha, don't you think that immediately what Mom and I did, but she wasn't working that day.)

That was my first inclining that something was up. I returned to New York. Life raced by, and then the calls started coming in a few months later. The engagement was on, and the wedding was set for July 2011. Luckily, despite our weird clan, the odd relatives in the extended branches of the family tree, the tux shop burning down the day before the wedding, the rain showers the day of the reception, people in and out of the ceremony and bridal parties, geese goosing the groom, and then years of odd senses of humor, Christina still hasn't run screaming for the hills. Fortunately too, she's not looked too askance at genetic legacies showing up in her children, the wanderlust of her mate, and the permanent arrival to town of her in-laws.

While I haven't lived locally to J and Christina at any point in their married life, I'm so glad that we have had chances to spend quality time together throughout the years -- most recently on our River Trip 2010. I'm so fortunate that Christina tolerates me, despite my issues with the camera, and let me love on her, and her children.

Love you Christina. Have you found a good pedicure place in Moscow yet? Cuz we need spa time ASAP! Miss you lots.

I remember when I first met Auntie Nettie—over the phone of all things. I was getting ready to marry her youngest brother, J. I was nervous because I was 19 and thought that a) she would be so much more mature than me and b) that I would just sound stupid. The phone was kinda just handed to me, but we had good conversation. I came to realize that she was nice and friendly and there was nothing to worry about.

We met in person a few days before my wedding. If the phone call hadn't clarified to me that she wasn't all mature and serious, then spending a little time with her did. She was (and is) a goofy fun person to be around and easy to get along with.

Auntie Nettie is very sharing and caring. She is always sending fun little things—ranging from a article in a newspaper or magazine to stickers to nice gifts—that made her think of J and me. You never know when something fun or interesting (like handmade beards) will arrive in the mail from Auntie Nettie!

One thing about Auntie Nettie is that she is illusive when it comes to getting her picture taken. In most pictures that I have of her, she is behind something or someone either covering her face, flipping you the bird, turning her head, running away, or taking a picture of you back. Here are a couple of examples:

We have gone to some fun places together: Las Vegas (who can forget the Liberace Museum?), Christmas visit to Connecticut, Boston, Butterfly Exhibit, Zion National Park, The Shakespearean Festival—we even got her down whitewater on the Salmon River. I just wish I could find pictures to go along with all of these! Some of these photos are on film (film!) and are buried in the garage somewhere. Others, I wasn't the one with the camera, Auntie Nettie was. It is always fun to go out and explore with Auntie Nettie or to go get a pedicure or a bite to eat. It has been fun getting to know her more and more through her blog. I look forward to hearing what other insights I get from everyone else—and even Auntie Nettie herself.

Happy Diamond Birthday!