Casey's and Sloane's Blog
I am easing back into wanting to go the grocery store. As in, on one of my days off, when there isn’t a time crunch or a huge list to be purchased, I will enter the store. Alone or with my husband, I am easing back into what was a huge part of my life for so many years.
I have written before about myself and grocery stores. My last two trips to the store have been with my husband and almost a month apart. Both very different experiences. One got me a “talking to,” and the other, after following preset parameters from the “talking to,” got me a good dose of the stink eye.
There. I said it. I miss snow. In addition, I have missed the sun for many days in a row this past week. But that’s another subject and slotted for another session.
In pinpointing what I miss most about snow, I landed on one constant: the quiet beauty it brings. The snow muffles the sounds of my neighborhood, and I am unable to hear cars moving slowly at the bottom of my hill. A favorite. When I walk my dog, the sounds that are closest to my ears – and which are usually drowned out by the environment – become sweet retreats for my mind.The brush of my arms against my quilted coat and the dog’s paws lifting off the pavement are two of my favorites.
In addition, the Midwest is not at its loveliest in winter. But our sloping hills, stark trees, and structured landscapes become magical with even the slightest snowfall. Quiet beauty. This region needs snow to brighten the brown that overtakes the ground. Not being a scientist, I can only imagine this region needs the snow for a myriad of reasons, water tables and pest control being just two.
I do. I miss snow. Writing those three words, I can only imagine what the polar bears would write if they had a blog….
p.s. This photo is of my niece almost three years ago. Time has flown, but she clearly embraces in this photo how I feel about snow.
Almost thirty-five years after leaving junior high school, my French teacher walked into our business this past weekend and told my sister the saddest news of our year. A dear friend – an acquaintance, a confidante, a secret keeper – had died. And not recently, but six months ago. Unbeknownst to us all, and a shock.
John Creighton started cutting my hair when I was ten years old. I probably sat on a phone book in his chair at the swanky Salon Klaus on The Plaza. He cut the hair on the heads of my parents first, and what propelled me to follow suit is unknown. School photos? Unruly cowlick? He cut my hair until my fifty-first year. No one else did. Not ever in all those years. Not even when I moved whole states away. Continue reading
Today is World AIDS Day. It is a bit of a high holy day for me. I take serious time to think about what my commitment to the AIDS battle is on a local level and how HIV/AIDS ravages communities and the world. It is, by sheer numbers, a global pandemic.
It isn’t hard for us to find reasons to be thankful. We are truly blessed. Yet some days it is harder than others. Sometimes the din of daily challenges drowns out the good in our lives. There are days when we are just trying to get to the end of the day without stumbling and landing flat on our faces.
This year we have had many challenges and many blessings. The most notable challenge has been having both our father and our mother fighting cancer. They are vibrant, strong, and engaged parents. They both have big personalities. They both are very strong-willed and opinionated. They are both loving and actively involved in our lives and our children’s lives.
You can imagine how scary it is to have them both facing life-threatening diagnoses. It has been humbling and all-consuming at times. Our parents have always set their expectations for us very high. They have led by example. They insist that we suit up, show up, and engage in our careers, our family lives, and our community. They have very different personal motivations and beliefs, but they share the same core value of being accountable and present. There is no “wall-flowering” allowed in the Simmons family.
STUFF celebrated its 20th birthday last week. Since our store’s birthday also falls on the anniversary of our younger sister’s death, we do not make a big deal about it. However, we do enjoy the feelings of success and pride in having built this amazing business that shares so much with so many. We mention this because this year we were given the opportunity to expand our footprint in Brookside and move our store to a larger space up the street. It was exciting and inspiring. It was a dream come true. It was also a stressful and overwhelming decision about our future in business. In the end, we decided to stay put. We are happy with our choice and know the dream will continue to grow and thrive.
I can remember it well:The day I couldn’t take one more minute in my minivan with Disney songs on the CD player. Being the driver did not mean I chose the music every time. Many were the days when I pushed my young man too far and crammed him into the car seat one too many times. To appease him and soothe his crankiness, I played Disney music. He loved it with his every fiber.
When we purchased the CDs, my husband and I chose well, knowing we would be surrounded by these pieces for a while. They were recorded well and sung by professionals. Sure, Mickey performed some songs, as did Donald Duck. OK. But great orchestrations and orchestras moved it along, All fine and good.
Until your beautiful child wants to hear “There’s A Hole In My Bucket” performed by Goofy for the ten-thousandth time in a row in one day. I was beginning to hate Goofy.
Let’s start with the simple truth: Both of our parents have cancer. At the same time, in their separate homes. One is in chemotherapy for a cancer that has been battled four times. One is in a remission that will not last. Heck, it’s not really remission. It’s just a wonderful string of days that lasts until the cancer pronounces itself and the chemical treatments resume.
But what they are both doing beautifully is living with cancer. Truly living. And the gift they have given us is that they have let both of us in for the private appointments, the fears, the sickness, the good, and the bad. The days that seem numbered, and the days that never end.
This past week has been crazy busy. And crazy.
I looked down in my closet today and saw the whole week – and every event I attended and every hour I worked – in one pile. Shoes right where I had left them the minute I took them off.
“I…can’t…talk…about…this…right…now.” My words were choppy as I tried to catch my breath with my voice wobbling into sobs.
In my marriage, we divide and conquer. We share a great deal of the responsibilities of owning a home that’s over a hundred year old. In fairness, my husband takes on more of the burden in the fourth quarter, my busiest. I, however, rule the other nine months.
Coordination of the trimming of our three large, old trees fell to him. He called the arborists, set the appointments, kept the appointments, and booked the work.
I am buying myself a new piece of jewelry today. I know many of you know I am being completely serious. But, for people who don’t know me as well, let me explain.