It’s That Time of Year

I may be crazy, but I’m already listening to Christmas music. Not 24/7 – that probably won’t happen until mid-November – but at work, I sometimes put my Dean Martin Christmas station on Pandora and I am immediately relaxed.

There’s something about Christmas carols from the 1950s and ’60s that just puts me at ease and makes my heart happy. It could be that I secretly feel like I belong in the 1940s and ’50s, but I’m sure it’s the fact that many of these are the songs I grew up listening to while preparing and waiting for Christmas.

I hear Nat King Cole or Andy Williams and I picture my parents’ house with the Christmas tree up and decorated, the fireplace decorated, and the entire family room full of Christmas decorations, and I instantly feel cozy and at peace. I hear the Lionel train racing around the track, blowing its whistle, and I smell that distinctive smell of the train smoke. I picture my Mom in the kitchen rolling out dough for us to make cut-out cookies with. I feel the content of sitting on the sofa with my family and watching Rudolph or A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I hear “A Marshmallow World” by Dean Martin and I laugh as I picture my aunt, who at her Christmas party a few years ago, did the same hilarious motion each time Dean sang “…get out and roll it along…”.

I hear Frank Sinatra sing “Jingle Bells” or “Mistletoe and Holly” and I picture my Nana’s house at Christmas, and her kitchen (because that’s where we spent the most time with her) and I feel comfort. But at the same time, there is a pang of sadness…I’ll never have a Thanksgiving, December, or Christmas at Nana’s house. And how fitting…just as I type this “The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra starts to play and tears instantly come to my eyes.

Oh, the joy and heartache of Christmas carols!

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All in the Family

Because I’m sure they will be featured in a good number of my posts, I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick introduction to some of my family members. Hopefully they don’t mind!

My parents are John and Diane. My dad is a hairdresser who owns his own salon; it’s connected to our house, which used to be his grandmother’s house. His salon was her grocery store, so everything worked out pretty well and I love that our home has always been in our family. It makes me sad to think of my parents someday selling the house and a stranger living in it.

My mom is a dental hygienist, so it was always kind of fun to go to the dentist because my own mom would clean my teeth! She and I are pretty similar in personality – we’re both on the quiet side and we love to read, and we both feel like we belong at the beach. My mom said it best one year when we were at the beach, sitting in the sand after dinner: “My heart is happy here.”

Family Vacation to the beach...the good old days!

I have one sibling – my twin sister Erin. Obviously, we’re fraternal twins, and I don’t think we look anything alike! We were lucky enough to find a beautiful apartment for a very reasonable rate, and within the past year we moved out for the first time. Our apartment is in a great location, in the historic downtown of our city, and we can walk almost everywhere. I love it! One day Erin said to me, “Do people live in apartments forever?” I wish we could!

Me, Erin

With the Nanas before senior prom

Tailgating before Kenny Chesney...Erin, Daddy, and me

The Joys of Summer

I absolutely love summer. I can deal with fall because it’s cozy and there’s football to get you through the long weeks, spring is always so refreshing, and winter means Christmas (but as soon as Christmas is over, winter should be, too). But the best season has always been summer for me.

I live for the days when I can just wake up and have a leisurely breakfast, go for a walk whenever I feel like, and spend the day at my parents’ lounging by the pool, book in hand. After dinner, why not go for an ice cream? Then come home, maybe read a little more, or maybe put a movie on – there’s no hurry to shower and get to bed!

It’s not just the daily activities that I love so much, it’s the sounds, too. As I sit on my parents’ back porch, I hear a neighbor weed-whacking, someone else hammering, birds chirping, dogs barking, the waterfall in my dad’s pond, and every so often when the breeze blows, the wind chimes in the tree. These are the sounds of my summer and have been all my life. It breaks my heart for many reasons to hear my parents talk (not too seriously yet) about selling the house, and one of those reasons is that summers wouldn’t be the same. I know that no matter what house my parents live in, they’d make it a home and make it something special, but this is the only home I’ve known. Does that make any sense?

Thinking back on summers growing up, I remember many summer days at my grandparents’ house (mom’s parents), spending the day with our Nana in the pool in their backyard. We’d often sleep over, just because we wanted to, and spend at least 10 minutes laughing hysterically for no good reason as she put us to bed. That was after my bedtime snack of Oreos and milk, of course. In the mornings, she’d make us breakfast and we’d put our bathing suits on and start the day out at the pool. Sometimes, I’d stay inside for awhile and play with my mom’s old Barbie and Midge and her Barbie Dream House (I loved it!) while my sister watched old cartoons or movies. When it was lunchtime, Nana would make us grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fourths, with chips and mini pickles, or Jimmy Dean sausage sandwiches. After the “necessary” half hour of digestion, it was back to the pool to play mermaids. This always required much discussion before play could even begin; obviously, it was extremely important to go over your entire appearance as a mermaid and your new mermaid name. ” I’m going to be Leslie and my fin is purple at the top and it turns blue at the bottom, and there are sparkles in it. And my ‘bathing suit top’ is yellow, ok?” Then you had to explain who your prince was and what he looked like! Though usually, our princes were our crushes of the moment – JTT for Erin, Troy Aikman for me (clearly I went for older men). Troy was always somehow trapped belowdecks of some ship anchored near my kingdom, and I could see him through the porthole (aka the pool light), where I promised to help him escape. Oh, the fun of childhood imagination and the joys of summer!