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Monday, November 26, 2012

"No Presents! I MEAN It!"

Charlie received a birthday call from one of his sisters.  As I half-heartedly listened from the other room, I heard him say how he'd told all of us that he didn't want any presents.  That's not a new thing.  Much to the kids dismay, he tells all of us that every year.  Not just for his birthday, but for Christmas too.  The kids hate that.  They say he's so hard to buy for.  The truth of the matter is that he's not difficult to buy for at all.  He loves and appreciates everything.  I've never met anyone that's as easy to please.  The difference is he places very little value in material things.

My husband is the LEAST materialistic person I have ever known.  He doesn't covet the latest electronic devices.  We always have to explain to him what the draw is to iPhones, iPads, social media of any kind, and on top of that, he thinks that the computer is just a way he can play slot machines without going to the casino and spending real money.  He's one of the last people I know who has a really old cell phone that does nothing but receive and send phone calls.  No data plan, no picture mail, no camera, barely text.  In fact, he hates cell phones and wishes he didn't have one at all.  He wishes NO ONE had a cell phone.  He doesn't spend frivolously, mostly because we don't have "expendable" income.  He works hard to support us and he doesn't complain.  EVER.  He gives sacrificially and prefers that if money is spent, it's spent on the kids.  He doesn't really go out much; he prefers quiet evenings at home.  He says he's a guy with pretty simple wants.  He uses the word "wants" on purpose because he'll tell you that all he needs is knowing his family is happy and that there's a big difference between wants and needs.

Charlie's idea of a great night is sitting with friends, having a pint of his favorite hefeweizen, and talking about everything under the sun, moon, and stars.  His idea of a perfect present from his kids is when they call him on the phone, or sit with him after work or school, and share something wonderful about their day.  He tells them all the time that the joy in his life is hearing about their lives, their plans, their dreams, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that they love him enough to tell him about those things.  When Averie calls, he will stop anything he's doing to talk to her.  When Caris wants to share a school project or plan, he is her rapt audience.  When Bry will sit with him over a pint or two and talk about anything, his shoulders straighten because his chest swells with pride.  These are the things that matter to him.  They cannot be bought, plugged in, charged up.  They don't glow, chirp, download, or play music.  There is no software, except the heart that beats in his chest.  He tears up when we're alone and he talks about his kids, me, our lives, and says how lucky he feels.

I have known people who say; "Oh don't bother to get me a gift."  They don't often mean it.  But Charlie means it.  He wants to share joy.  Truly.  With no pretense, with no agenda, without any measure whatsoever of the desire to be the center of attention, or show off a "thing" received.  He just cares that the people around him are happy, healthy, and full of joy.  "Because," he says, "nothing can make me as happy as knowing that maybe, just maybe, I had just a small part in putting some of that joy in their world and it made a difference."

Happy Birthday, Baby.  If anyone's lucky, it's the kids who call you their father and the wife who calls you her best friend.  YOU are our gift every single day.   

Friday, November 16, 2012

Full Circle Through the Lens of a Nikon Camera...and then some.

I have been one of those people who has had the very great fortune, over the past decade of being part of the Blogosphere, to meet and know people who I have been blessed to call FRIENDS.  You go through life, you meet people, and sometimes, if you're lucky, you connect in some ethereal way.  It's kinda funny, but the people that I have had that ethereal connection with are the people that don't actually breathe the same air as I do.  In fact, they live miles and miles and miles away.  We don't see each other every day.  We don't talk to each other every day.  And yet, I feel so much closer to them than some of the people that in fact, DO share the same air space as I do. 

Don't get me wrong.  I have the near and dear, the people who have common DNA with me, the ones whom I love with my entire being.  But, through my blog, and through common websites, I have met and yes, actually LOVE people that I consider more dear to my soul, and in fact, I consider the family that I have been blessed enough to fall into.  The people that have loved me just for me.  The people whom I can be simply Pua with.  Who actually know me better, sometimes, than I know myself.  Many are the ones that I have not yet met, but whom I have sought out in my travels, or have sought me out.  How lucky am I that people think enough of me that they actually want to meet me face to face?  Yeah, I'm damn lucky, and I know it.

I don't know how it happened, or why it happened.  I only know that I am thought of in a way that sometimes I feel unworthy of.  But, I know I return their love and affection tenfold.  Whether in daily thought, or heartfelt warmth.  I call those hugs from afar.  I send them out, and more often than not, they come back to me in quite unexpected ways.

A few months ago, my friend Scott had come to LA for a visit, and his friends Seth and Lisa had a little welcome gathering at their home.  They invited us to attend.  Last summer, Scott had come and Averie and I were able to have brunch with Scott where we also met Zach and Levi and Seth.  This time, we met Seth's lovely wife Lisa and Jay, who came with Scott this trip, as well.  It was such a beautiful evening and I felt such warmth and love, AND I was so proud to be able to introduce my whole family to everyone.  It was a beautiful evening.  Our friendship circle grew.

This week, Lisa wrote to me and told me she had heard that I no longer had a camera.  'Tis true.  I don't have a smartphone with camera capabilities.  I had to give that up when I became unemployed.  Then, my own digital camera stopped working.  So, I've had no camera for about two months.  I miss it.  I feel like memories are passing me by and I only have my feeble mind to hold them.  Lisa said that her new phone has an amazind camera and she no longer needed the digital camera she had and wondered if I'd like it.  Seriously?  Out of the blue, comes this angel who thought of ME.  The camera arrived today.  I cried.  You can ask Charlie.  I cried.

So many people, over the years, have asked me how I can put my trust "out there" on the internet.  "You know what?," I tell them, "I have more faith and trust in the people I have met on the internet than many people I know in my 3D world."  That's a damn fact.  I have NEVER been hurt, maligned, betrayed, mistreated, or thought of as anything but special by the FRIENDS I have met online, and the people that they have deemed me worthy enough to introduce me to.  They have been kind, generous and loving to me, to my husband, and most importantly to my kids than I can tell you.  Actually, I HAVE told you.  Over these many years that I have been blogging, I have told you of the countless ways that I feel loved and blessed by the people I call my friends.  Not internet acquaintances, not blog meet ups, simply and wonderfully FRIENDS.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


I have a VERY funny daughter.  But you already know that.

That is why when I saw this posted on the NBC website, I thought of her.  If Averie were ever to marry, I envision that this is the kind of "Save The Date" card she'd send.  Actually, she'd probably never send a "Save The Date" card. It's just not her style.  She's one of those "against-the-grain" type of girls.  Do the unexpected.  Always keep them wondering. In fact, she probably thinks that Liz Lemon would never send a "Save The Date" card.  But if they (Averie and Liz, not together of course) did, Averie definitely knows that the very first line is the exact reaction I would have.

It's IS kinda a big whoop.