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Miss Minnie

There's always something going on in my neighborhood

There’s always something going on in my neighborhood

Those who are regular readers know that I have Karina staying with me unexpectedly this month.  With Karina comes her dog, Minnie.  There is a difference between “babysitting” for a weekend and having the dog come to live with you.  I’m learning a lot.

One of the things I find interesting is how much I struggle with Mom vs Grandma.  When I talk to Minnie about Karina, it’s Mom.  When I talk to Minnie about me I stumble.  I’ve still got Orion and I don’t have grandchildren (beyond the dog).   I think I’m ready to be a grandma. (I’m not sure I’m ready for Karina to be a mom, and with Orion all bets are off.)  But I clearly don’t think of myself that way.  I wonder how many other people struggle with the words during that transition?



The other part of that is “Whose the Boss?”.  Karina is gone, a lot.  I’m home, in my house.  On their own, Minnie would spend that time in her kennel.  Here, since I’m moving about, that’s just not fair.  So I have Minnie for much of the day, but she’s not my “responsibility”.  That might be fine if she was a plant.

As it is, Minnie and I are constantly interacting.  She wants to go out, her food bowl is empty, it’s hot and she needs water.  She wants to play, she wants to cuddle, she wants to jump into my lap and jump out and jump back in.  When I’m in the kitchen, or doing anything else, she’s under-foot.  Even when she’s quiet, her presence napping on the couch while I type makes the atmosphere different than when she’s not around.



This weekend Karina spent some time in her room binging on The Lord of the Rings movies.  Minnie, of course was with her.  It occurred to me more than once to look up and wonder about where the dog was, and what she was getting into.  I think I’ll miss them both when they go.

This morning I took Minnie for a walk.  She’d spent a lot of the time in the kennel this weekend.  She was really hyper and needed some exercise. It’s not my job to take the dog for a walk.  I spent a lot of time not doing anything productive this weekend.  I needed some exercise enough to notice that I hadn’t been getting any.  The fact of the matter is that the walk was for me, but I wouldn’t have taken it without the dog.

quiet is nice

quiet is nice

It’s probably good to be doing this transition with a puppy rather than a baby.  The “stepping on toes” doesn’t hurt quite as much this way.  If Minnie was a baby, Karina would want to know when, what and how much she was eating (and what was coming out the other end.)  Do I really have to tell her that I sneak Minnie bacon at breakfast?



Can you see it says 50? My sister asked for “tie-dye frosting” What a brat!

I don’t know why the 50th birthday is such a big deal, but it is.  There is something about a woman turning 50 that gives permission.  After 50, what other people might think doesn’t matter so much anymore.  After 50 somehow there is an authority of age that didn’t exist before.  Maybe it’s recognizing mortality (I don’t think so) but hitting 50 is like getting permission to be whoever you want to be.  I know I couldn’t have written my book, Manifest Divinity, until after I was 50.

Eventually Karina came through on my 50th, and she’ll never let me forget it!

I was very clear from my 49th birthday on what I wanted and expected for my 50th birthday.  My poor daughter still complains about how horrible I was when it came and went without any dramatic recognition.  Sure I got to go out to dinner with the kids, but it was just us.  She told me I wouldn’t really have enjoyed a birthday party anyway.   3 weeks (and a lot of sighing) afterwards the surprise party she’d planned finally came together.  I was defiantly surprised!

Along with Thanksgiving, last week was my sister’s 50th birthday.  She too had announced a year ago this was a big deal and she intended to celebrate in a big way.  As we got closer to the date her life seemed to collapse in on her.  She’s spent the last month with concerns about her S.O.’s health.  It took him out of the planning loop and of course she put off everything too, making sure he was going to be okay.

“Cousins” two of my sisters grandchildren

Her original intention was to have a party with her friends the weekend before Thanksgiving.  That would have been fine, but her kids were coming up for Thanksgiving and couldn’t get away twice.  My sister is a Grandma, and that’s a big part about what being 50 means to her.  Without the kids there was no point in the party.  It got canceled and she started referring to her “fxxxing fiftieth birthday party”.

When the family got together for Thanksgiving it was announced that we’d all go over to her house for lunch and the “fxxxing fiftieth birthday party” on Saturday.  She’d let her friends know they could come over and her S.O. would make a big batch of pho  (Vietnamese soup.)  There was some grumbling about crab legs, which is what she really wanted.  “Everyone else gets crab legs and I get turkey dinner.”  “There is apparently a rule that there can’t be crab legs for just one.”  In spite of that things were looking up.

My sister’s newest grandchild.

Saturday morning came and we got a phone call.  The water pump had died.  There was no water, there was no party.  Pretty much this was the end of the world.  I knew that feeling!  I felt the same way when my 50th birthday came and went.  Mom said, “Come over, we’ll have the party here.”  There was some reference to pulling shrimp out of the freezer.  I may have mentioned at one time or another that my mother keeps several freezers full of ‘just in case’.  She probably did have enough shrimp to feed whoever showed up.

Everyone arrived before my sister and her S.O..  Mom organized us to shout “SURPRISE” and sing Happy Birthday as my sister came in the door.  It set the tone for the day.  The ‘boys’ (the S.O., the son and the family friend) drove the 1/2 hour to Brainerd and back because at this point we all agreed my sister deserved her crab legs.  My niece baked the cake, my Mom pulled out the shrimp the boys took several phone calls about “a few more things to pick up while you’re down there.”  The wine was opened and the women sat around the table being crones.

SURPRISE!!! (The cake mix and frosting were her birthday present from my Mom, their annual tradition)

When the ‘boys’ got back they not only managed to get everything on the list and then some.  They brought enough king crab legs and lobster tails to feed the crowd.  Not only that but the shrimp still came out of the freezer and my Mom made her infamous cocktail sauce.  The tears came again, this time because everything really did turn out perfect.

50 is a big deal.  It’s definitely worth acknowledging in style.  Happy Birthday Sis!

Happy Birthday, Sis!

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