Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 Goodman Cousin Reunion

I had rented a cute little house for 2 nights on Lake Cherokee, and Jim and Marley went with me; the weather was balmy and dry, the streets were strewn with color-splashed autumn leaves, and the Kia was packed with food and gold & burgundy decorations, pretty darn perfect so far, huh? Almost. I was taking Maxalt for the migraine that started on Thursday, and it's a toss-up which is worse, the pain or the meds because they make me so spaced I shouldn't operate heavy machinery, and I kept praying, just let it go away long enough for me to get through the reunion!

I woke up Saturday morning so sick, I thought about swinging by the Omaha Center, dropping off my decorations, registry, food, etc., and heading home but decided to make an appearance and leave early, very early...........but I got involved with setting up the long tables, 10 for dining and 5 for pot luck dishes, and sometime around noon I realized that I felt pretty good. I learned later that my sister Nan and my mom had held hands and prayed for the migraine to leave. I don't know how you feel about prayer, but I've always believed.

I have a big family. My grandparents had 9 children, most of whom had 3 children, but one child had 9 children, and one of those had 9 children. Add that to the fact that most of us cousins now have grandchildren and even great grandchildren, and you've got yourself a gathering! While our parents were all alive and healthy, they kept us connected, but we've dropped the connection, and we talked about how we should get together, but it hasn't happened until now. I get teary-eyed when I think about how my happy family poured into the room, smiles all 'round, hugs and laughter and picking up as if we'd never skipped a beat!

Everyone thanked Linda and me for finally making this happen and most asked that we make it a yearly event. I love the stories everyone has, memories of yesterday and would love to gather them and put them in a little book. I collect pretty picture frames, and I put old family photos in them and arranged them among the centerpieces. Some brought family scrapbooks, a recipe book, and a couple of digital frames with slide shows. There was a table for photos of the cousins we've lost. Danny provided live music.

We pushed folks outdoors for a group photo, which was about like herding earthworms; I'm supposed to PhotoShop myself into the group, but I haven't found one with me in it yet. I count about 50 in this group photo, but our headcount was closer to 100, so that leaves lots of Goodman descendants milling about in the woods. I've only posted a few pics here. You can go nuts trying not to leave out anyone, so if someone's not here, I've got you somewhere in my computer.

My son came to the Reunion! I hadn't expected him; if nobody else had come, it would have been a fun day, just him and me chatting. Sorry, but you moms know exactly what I mean. I snapped pics here and there with my little pocket camera and realized afterwards that I should have taken the Canon Rebel out of the car and handed it to my Dave, who's a very good photographer. Oh well. A few folks who could have come, didn't; you know who you are, and you also know we still love you. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I felt good, just hope I didn't call you Judy if your name is Fred or connect you with the wrong siblings. Hey, I'm 62, and I was on drugs.

Tres has expressed interest in planning the 2011 reunion, along with cousin Debbie. If they do, ours will be like their open act. Knowing those two, I fully expect to have high wire acts, a full sized carousel, and Amy Grant as entertainment..........P.S. Several cousins mentioned that it was high time Marley did a blog post. Coming soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Growing Pains

(Click on the paintings to enlarge them)

Gee, thanks Mom, for finally letting me post. I mean, I'm almost grown, and I've posted like 3 or 4 times, hello? I'll be one year old on Sunday, not much chance of getting a birthday cake, though. We never get good stuff like chips or cookies; I've never even tasted a Twinkie! Maybe she'll give me a pork chop with a candle stuck in it, woohoo.

I'm sure Mom told you about my getting "fixed" (she has no sense of privacy).........well, nothing actually got fixed, just a scary day at the vet's, some missing parts, and a few days of feeling really, really bad and having to wear a stupid onesy, embarrassing! But I bounced back, and I don't get fussed at anymore for forgetting where to tinkle.

I still play, hunt and potty in the backyard several times a day..............I can't bark in the house, without someone saying "Hush, Marley", but I get to bark out there...........between 9 am and 9 pm..........can you believe she has a barking schedule? Seriously..... Mom and Dad's communication skills are coming along. I'm supposed to ring the bell they hung on the backdoor when I want to go out, but it scares me, so I just sit there and look cute till somebody notices me. And when I want something to eat or a toy I can't find, all I have to do is sit and look up at mom and make a little growling, moaning sound in my throat, and she'll get up and get it for me every time.

Dad has been gone to camp since Wednesday, and he's coming home today! Mom plays with me, but she doesn't let me bite, so what's the point? Dad scuffles and rolls on the floor with me, and things get pretty wild. I miss him so much! Moms are better for loving than Dads, and I scramble up and bend my head back so that my neck is hugging hers. I also hug Aunt Tres, and she gets to laughing so hard she can barely breathe. She's a really good dog person.

Ashley is coming on Saturday to train me to do something.......I already know just about everything, so I'm not sure what they want me to do now, maybe play the banjo or something. Peoples never seem to be happy with the way a guy is. I'll let you know how that goes. Poor Ashley, she's probably bringin' doggie treats. Mom is always bringing home healthy treats for me to try. Sometimes I like 'em once, but then I'm through. She takes the stuff I won't eat to the animal shelter. I guess there are some guys there who are hungrier than I am. Bet they'd rather have Twinkies. Hey, thanks for stopping by; I'll see you soon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It!

Fifteen years ago, when I got my first computer, a bare bones clunker that Jim had a geeky friend build for me, I figured I might play an occasional game of Solitaire and send a few emails to family members, but oh, the things I've done and the places my 'puter and I have traveled! In time, I went from yelling "Jim!" whenever Windows flashed the blue screen of death to being his computer tech. Because of an email greeting card a new online friend created and sent to me, I became so obsessively immersed with learning digital art that for a few years there, my online life was more immediate and more interesting than my real life. It was a rush, a rush of challenges and kudos and finding how far I could push myself creatively. I eventually felt the need to choose, and I chose real life and took a step back from all that; these days, I'm pretty well balanced (well, as balanced as I'll ever be) I play, paint, surf, and research on my PC, but it's not everything......not even close.

One amazing and wonderful element of being online that remains constant, though, is that over the years, I've reconnected with some old friends and met some dear new friends, friends with whom I hope to share our lives for the rest of our lives, friends who share my interests and view of the world more than most of the folks I've met outside the sleek black box that sits purring softly on my over-sized computer desk. Some of these friends I will never meet in person, but they are very real to me, and I watch them virtually, going about their daily lives, ache when they ache and laugh when they're happy.

A recent example of the friendships I've developed online is Linda Ocon Santi, whom I met in a Facebook game (that became a mini-obsession for a few months) and who sent me a message last week saying she had looked at my art on PBase and loved it and would like for me to see her mother's website. Eileen Ocon passed away last year, but her website remains as tribute to her beautiful artwork. I had a great time browsing her mixed media, watercolor, line & wash, calligraphy, and fractal art; when I told Linda that I had saved the link to my Inspirations folder, she asked for my mailing address........... today a brown envelope filled with Eileen's beautiful note cards arrived in my mail box! Isn't that a lovely, generous thing, to share your mom's art with someone else who loves art? I'm speechless (almost), and the cards are here beside me saying, "Hey Cat, could this be the next step in your handmade cards?"

I LOVE my online friends because they are real friends who are there for me in emails and on Facebook and because they keep me inspired. Thank you, Linda, and thank you to all my friends for being there for me, inside my computer.