Happy birthday and happy anniversary to my best friend. I love you!



Today is the 15th anniversary of my employment with the Company I work for.

Tomorrow Chris will be 40.

Monday is our 13th wedding anniversary.

Phoebe will be 6 in two weeks.

We are leaving for Chicago in 20 days.

I'll see my parents, sister, niece and nephew in 33 days.

Some of these things make me happy; some stress me out; some are bittersweet. I'll let you guess which ones are which.


My Other Grandfather

My other grandfather wasn’t at all curmudgeonly and I don’t think I ever saw him get mad. My grandmother recently told me a story, though, about the maddest she’d ever seen him.

One day Granddad came home from work and found me sitting on their front porch. I often walked there after school, and evidently on this day, their front door was locked. (Unusual – I grew up in a town where no one locked anything. I didn’t have a key until I went to college.) He opened the door and let me in, and I got a snack and my mom came to get me and we went home, and nothing was said about it. When my grandma came home, however, he let fly. “Don’t you ever lock that door and leave my granddaughter sitting on the porch, in the cold, again!” he said. He was mad. My grandma said she just couldn’t have felt worse about it.

I got a little teary when she told this story. Granddad wasn’t a grouch, but he was never overtly affectionate, either, and to hear this demonstration of how much he cared – well, it meant a lot to me.

On the other hand – I don’t remember this at all. I have no memory of being locked out of their house, of him coming to my rescue. (Although as my mom said when I told her about it – if it had happened, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me a bit, as long as I had a library book with me.) I even suspect that it may have happened to one of my siblings instead of me.

In the end it doesn’t matter. The moral of the story, the core of the memory, is that my granddad loved me – loved us. The details are unimportant.


Pajama People

My Grandad John is an interesting mix of curmudgeonly (he tends to grunt rather than speak) and sentimental (he wore sunglasses to our weddings to hide his tears); I think he tended to be a softie when it came to his grandchildren. Nevertheless, all of us – my siblings and cousins – have our own story of The Time Grandad Yelled At Me. (My brother probably has more than one, actually, since, as the boy, he was required to work on the farm with Grandad and therefore was more often in his proximity.) My sisters’ stories have to do with vehicle mishaps, I believe – either getting stuck in the mud or locking keys within. For me, it was pajamas.

One Christmas, when I was 10 or 11, my parents went on a trip and left us all with our grandparents. (I think I was in 6th grade, in fact, because I’d gotten my first Walkman for Christmas. My other grandparents took me and Jana to see Yentl, which I despised, and then shopping at the mall, and I bought my very first cassette tape. Not the Yentl soundtrack, for I did not care whether Papa could hear her, but Air Supply. I wore out that tape.)

Anyway – while at Grandma and Grandad’s house, we spent the day doing a lot of nothing – playing games, reading, golfing. One day during this idyll Grandad came home for lunch, looked me up and down, and said: “Krista, why are you still in your pajamas? What’s the matter with you? Be a person, go put some clothes on.”

I was crushed – crushed! – by this criticism. I slunk off to the bedroom to change, fuming in the way only an 11-year-old girl can fume. Who cared if I was still in my pajamas? What did it matter that I hadn’t gotten dressed yet, even though it was close to noon? It’s not like we were going anywhere or doing anything important. And hadn’t I helped Grandma clear the table after breakfast and gather up laundry to wash, all in my pajamas? Wearing pajamas had nothing to do with being a person! Grandad was so mean!

Silly to have gotten so upset over it, of course, but I was, and it stuck with me. Not, perhaps, in the way that Grandad would have liked. To this day I have a reluctance to change out of my pajamas unless absolutely necessary; nor do I suggest to my children that they should change out of their pajamas unless we’re leaving the house. (Why muck up another outfit, for one thing?) Phoebe, being a fashionista, will usually change first thing in the morning (and then at various points throughout the day), but Mallory is content to stay pajama-ed until we go out for dinner. On weekends, if I do change, it’s usually into something pajama-esque. (Once Chris watched me change out of my pink pajama top and grey knit pajama pants into a pink sweatshirt and grey yoga pants and said: “And the point of that was…?”)

All this I do for comfort, of course, and out of pure laziness. But I do it with a little flash of defiance, too. I’m a pajama person, and I’m proud of it.



I told my mom what a good time I had with my little sister last weekend*. She said that it was one of her main goals as a parent, to raise me and my siblings to want to spend time together as adults. Mission accomplished!

The first thing Mallory said tonight when I told her that she'd been invited to a friend's house for a sleepover tomorrow night was: "Is Phoebe invited too?" So I'm thinking my two girls are off to a good start as well.

*Weekend before last, I guess. I hate how long it's been since I last blogged. Will try to do better.


The graduate

Phoebe graduated from Kindergarten yesterday. I'm not totally convinced that such rituals are completely necessary, but it was very cute.

They sang songs, and now I'm going to make Aimee cry by telling you about them. They sang the "Days of the Week" song to the tune of "The Addams Family":

Days of the week (snap, snap) x 3
There's Sunday and there's Monday
There's Tuesday and there's Wednesday
There's Thursday and there's Friday
and then there's Saturday
Days of the week (snap, snap) x 3

They sang "Kindergarten" to the tune of "Love and Marriage":

Kindergarten, Kindergarten
Now we're almost through with Kindergarten
Our teachers wish we could stay
But now we're moving up to first grade!

And because it's a Catholic school, they sang about Jesus, with a song that I find both corny and clever. See if you can guess the tune (hint: look at the first word of each line):

Don't you know that Jesus died?
Raised again in three short days
Me, the one for whom He died
Far, my sins He took away.
So, I love Him evermore
Love, I've never known before
T, the shape of Calvary
Don't you know he died for me

As their teacher called them forward for their diplomas, she announced what each child wanted to be when they grew up (boys: mostly race car drivers; girls: mostly veterinarians). When she got to Phoebe (about a minute after the memory card on our video camera filled up), she said: "No doubt inspired by the positive role models in her own life, Phoebe K___ is our future mommy." A collective "Awww" went through the room.

Here's Phoebe with her teacher, whom I wish I could clone so Phoebe could have her every year. She was awesome. In fact, Phoebe's last bit of homework was to write two sentences about what she liked best about kindergarten, and she wrote: "I love Mrs S___ and Mrs G___ (the teacher's aide)."

Phoebe can now read and count by twos AND by fives. She can count money and knows about time zones (and is always asking me, "Mommy, what time is it in England?"). She's a smart cookie and now she's done with Kindergarten. Sniff.