Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The 20 Year Time Capsule

Several weeks ago, Shawn came in from my parents' barn with a huge smile on his face, carrying a large plastic bin. "You'll never believe what I just found!", he says, wiping at the dust covering the top of the bin.

Would you believe, it's a real, live "Time Capsule" that I sealed up about 20-plus years ago?

Funny thing is, I remember very well the day I put that box together. I remember wondering who would find it waaaay out in the year 2010? My kids? Grandkids? Okay, so obviously I wasn't an A+ math student - most people don't normally have grandkids at 34 years old...but anyways, that's what I was daydreaming about that day.
One of the first things I said when I saw it was, "Wow! That's good blog material right there." After actually going through it, though, and winding up in tears, I debated whether or not to actually write about it. But, here it is - consider it cheap therapy for me. I'm putting it out there. So, read if you want, but if you're looking for all laughs and good times, skip this post.
Here I am, going in:

First thing I went for, of course, was the "Private Notebook - KEEP OUT!"
That scary tiger on the cover couldn't keep me away.
I mean, come on, with this much security, you KNOW there's gonna be some juicy stuff inside!

A very serious warning, along with some "names for my kid" (guess I thought I'd just have girls...?):

Okay, in my defense, I didn't make that cheeseball statement up. I'm pretty sure I copied it from somewhere. Now, I realize that just the fact that I thought it awesome enough to copy makes me pretty dorky, too. But whatever.
I turned a few pages and saw this, and the tears started flowing:

Oh, man. Do I remember THAT feeling? Seems like that's the feeling that followed me through most of my childhood years. That "left out" feeling. So when I turned to this page and read these words in my own goofy-looking, 13-year-old handwriting, I couldn't stop the tears. I sat there on the living room floor, hovering over the "time capsule" box, clutching this little journal, and crying. Each time I looked at those 4 sentences, the pain washed over me again. And I could see myself, curled up inside my musky sleeping bag - feeling lonely, homesick, ugly, and just plain "left out". Ugh.

All I could think was how badly I wished I could go back in time and give myself a hug and tell "me" that everything's going to be okay. Why does teenage-hood have to be so darn hard?
At the end of the book was this quirky little paragraph:

Here's the next little treasure I uncovered in the box:
(I'm sure I thought it would be worth MILLIONS by 2010...but ebay thinks it's worth about $3.32 these days.)

Garbage Pail Kids. Anyone remember those?

The "Beaumont Middle School Parent/Student Handbook", because that would be of maximum importance to my 34 year old self, I was just sure of it!
An ice-scraper I made in shop class. Because, you know, we might have a real ice-scraper shortage come 2010.

The "Garfield Mini Note Book", AKA: the keeper of all my most dorkiest secrets.

Just the facts:

Let the nerdy, 9 year old girl-ness begin:

Ryan Roberts, if you are reading this, number one: sorry I spelled your name wrong, and number two: yeah, so apparently I "loved" you when I was 9 years old. The secret's out, I guess!
Also, I love that someone found this and wrote "HA HA YOU LIAR", classic!

Oooh, sorry Chris E. and Scott R., you were just "O.K."!
And to those I "hated", sorry, I know hate is a really strong word.

"Great" and "O.K." singers (wow, makes me feel OLD):

Proof I wasn't allowed to watch MTV - I didn't know what any of the singers actually looked like, so how could I have listed any "cute" ones?

Swimsuit from a Tropical Barbie.
Because, you know, I was pretty sure there would be a shortage of those in 2010, also...

Wouldn't want to leave Tropical Ken and his coordinating swim shorts out:
Another diary.
I didn't realize this was actually the diary I was writing in the day I came home from school to find that our neighbor had committed suicide in our living room.

"Dear Diary,
I found out that my neighbor died about a half hour ago (right when I got home). Her daughter (Sara) just got home and I don't know how her dad Ron is going to tell her. I am so sad. When I came home Ron was sitting with my mom talking. When he left, my mom and dad told me. POOR SARA!"
Ugh. Reading that was like a punch in the stomach. Knocked the air out of my lungs. I must not have known the whole story yet, not realized just how personal this was - that Karen had shot herself, in our living room, just hours before.
The next entry was after I knew the whole story. I describe Karen's funeral and memorial party as "beautiful" and "lovely".
What's funny, though, was the next entry. Starts serious - "Sara and Ron came over for dinner". Okay. Then I go on about how excited I am that I've got 26 bucks and I'm going to get another cabbage patch kid!!! Oh, then back to serious, I guess I felt the need to clarify that I don't usually say words like "lovely" or "beautiful" but I had to in the previous journal entry because that was the only way to express my feelings. Oh, then back to the cabbage patch kids! Yay cabbage patch kids!!!
What the heck?! Sigh. I was an oddball, that's all I can make of it.
The tears came again when I read those 3 pages. Took me right back in time, and once again I just wanted to go back and hug that heartbroken girl.
Random book - I remember I really liked this book. But I'm not sure what made it so "time-capsule worthy"?

A picture of my 2 turtles - Sunny and Herman.

Five dollars, shredded.

A handful of old max tickets.

My sister used to make me these "awards" for staying upstairs alone (I was afraid of being upstairs alone).
"Congragulations Marlene. You stayed upstairs alone almost 2 min."
Almost 2 minutes! Woo hoo!

A cast of my buck teeth before braces - ew.
(Insert creepy horror film music here)

"Your Psychic Calendar for the year 1988"
I think I got this from that Church of Elvis thing in downtown Portland.

Brass Plum pin - to pin on your shirt if you are so cool.

A class assignment where I had to describe myself in a negative way - then take those same things and turn them into positives.
Yup, cried some more.

"The Portland Paper"

We're talking high-quality material here:

Some well-written articles, top notch reporting and legendary artwork found inside:
Dear PETA: I'm pretty sure the dog in the following story was never actually "beaten up".

And that was the bottom of the box, folks. It was quite the journey - and if you're still there, thanks for sticking it out with me.
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Our new camera came!

How sad, though, that one of the very first pics I took was of this nasty-looking spider I found in one of Charlie's toy buckets? YIKES!

Thanks, Shawn, for taking care of it for me, but next time don't just "set it free" right outside our front door - smash that sucker, you tree-hugger!

Next up...
What did I find when I opened this 20 year old "time capsule" Shawn found in my parents' barn...?
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Surgeries, injuries, mini-vacations and a birthday, too!

My parents have both had a lot of health stuff going on lately. About a month ago, my dad had knee surgery. About 2 weeks after that, my mom fell in the garden and broke her wrist. My dad is still on crutches, and my mom will have a cast on her right wrist for about another month.

Here's Charlie's impersonation of them both:

And the latest? About a week ago, my dad had a spot removed on his back. It came back positive for basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer - but the "better" kind to have). He goes in tomorrow to have a pretty big chunk of his back carved out - ouch...
Hopefully, after that, it will all be removed and over with.

At the end of April, I got to tag along with Shawn to some "work stuff". He was presenting at 2 different conferences, in 2 different cities, in 2 days! So, first it was off to Eugene.

Here he is, hard at work getting ready for his presentation the next day:

Okay, well, here's a more realistic representation of how we utilized the hotel room:

I have to admit, what I was most excited for that first night was getting to hang out with two amazing Rainrock friends, Ali and Nikki. Love, love, LOVE these two.

"Level Life."

After Eugene, it was off to Coos Bay. I can't say I know anyone in Coos Bay, so Saturday was just a hang-out day for me while Shawn presented. I caught the end of his presentation (on Autism) and it was awesome. He is SUCH a good speaker, I must say. :)

IF, and that's a BIG IF, I were to EVER let my child get a mohawk, here's a glimpse of what it would look like:

(I came home from the gym a couple days ago to this. Oh my gosh I laughed SO HARD. And then promptly told Shawn to finish it up, seriously. Ridiculous! So, it was really only about a half hour of a mohawk, but it made for a good laugh!)

This past Saturday was Charlie's cousin Eli's 5th birthday party. This was an event that we had to do some planning and processing around, since it involved a trip to Chuck E Cheese. But, more on that in a bit.
First, it was pizza, cake and a beautiful sunny day party outside.
Charlie charmed the girls in the "girl area".

While the rest of the boys hung together at the "boy area".

The birthday boy and his beautiful mommy.

Shawn got to be the official "Water Balloon Game Organizer".
Charlie was too shy to play, so he just sat and watched...

...until it came time to "pick a partner" for a game and Charlie's precious Ellie was the last man standing - not cool.

He ran right out there and grabbed her hand - melted my heart.
Here they are all lined up for the balloon toss. (You can tell Charlie's a little nervous to be out there by the way he tilts his little head like that!)

Ready, set, TOSS!

Present time!

"Eli, how old are you today?"


On our way to Chuck E Cheese for "Party, Part 2". Charlie's not a fan of birthday cake - so his treat of choice? A banana. Crazy kid!

Last year, we also went to Chuck E Cheese for Eli's birthday. The experience was pretty traumatic for Charlie! He was having a blast playing the game and winning the tickets and what-not. As soon as he spotted that mouse, though, he freaked. Royally. He covered his eyes and wouldn't take his hands off of them until we finally just left. He talked about it for weeks, no months, afterward. He still remembered "that mouse" when we told him we were going again this year. So, Charlie hatched a brilliant plan to deal with his fear: he would dress up in his rhino Halloween costume and scare old Chuck E before Chuck E could scare him!
Judging from this face, perhaps you can guess how well that plan worked?
Needless to say, this was the view I had for a lot of our time:
Overall, I was pretty proud of our little trooper. He managed to have some fun, despite his fears of that creepy old mouse.

Racing Aunt Christine while Ellie and Jaz watch.

The best part for me was when he cashed in his tickets for points and got 40 points. He looked at all the little prizes for a long time, pondering. Finally, he settled on two 20 point prizes - one for Jaz and one for Eli. And not a thing for himself. What a little sweetheart, made my mommy-heart proud. :)

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