I Wore This Shirt When I Was Ten

Riverview Gators, 1986-87

This is my elementary school t-shirt from the 1986-1987 school year. I was in fifth grade when I got it; in the photo above, I’m age 41 and wearing it again.

I remember I was so mad when Memaw bleached it and the collar and sleeve rings went from dark blue to brown. I also remember that it’s in such good shape because it didn’t fit me long afterward. (Puberty was not kind; I gained some 20 pounds over the course of my seventh grade year, and another 20 in eighth grade.)

A few days ago, I decided to revisit my box of old t-shirts that I’m saving for themed quilts (or just because). I discovered that I’m almost ready to order a Totoro-themed quilt or a rock-band-themed quilt, I’ve got a ways to go for Connor’s superhero-themed quilt… and I discovered that this shirt from 5th grade I’d been saving is a size large.

So I tried it on. And it fit.

Mind. Blown.

So, even when I’m feeling down for having recently regained ten pounds of the 80 pounds I’d lost, I still have this: I can wear a shirt I wore on a Gifted class field trip to Cape Canaveral when I was ten.

Spotify Premium: Like Scour in the 90s, But Legal

Who remembers Scour?

I have vivid memories of working at my college job, sitting at my desk in the office next to my co-worker, Jeff, and one of us getting a song stuck in our head. Off to Scour, to download and listen to something random, like the theme from the A-Team, or some esoteric 80s song, or some freedom rock (turn it up!).

Did I know it was shady? Sure. Did I care? Nope. It was available, and there wasn’t exactly another avenue for me to quench my immediate musical desires back in 1999, and it was before the days of packet-sniffers that would throttle bandwidth or flag me for peer-to-peer activity, so…

Fast forward 18 years to 2017.* When I get Billy Ocean stuck in my head, I pull up Spotify on my work laptop — I pay a subscription fee of about $10 a month for Premium — and search for “Caribbean Queen.” I get an entire compilation album of Billy Ocean’s greatest hits, and I listen to the sounds of elementary school for a good half hour. Unlike some 20 years ago, though, I don’t have to wait 15 minutes for a 3MB mp3 to download over the 10/100 BaseT ethernet connection.

And it’s completely legal.

*Side note: I still can’t get over being 40 years old and so vividly remembering multiple decades.

2016 Year In Review

For this year’s retrospective, I’m going to lead off with the most important things:

What Made Me Happy (top 11)

(As recorded every night before bed)

  1. Talking with Aaron
  2. Cooking / Baking
  3. Hugs (mostly from Connor and/or Aaron)
  4. Working out
  5. Writing / Blogging
  6. Eating sushi
  7. Yoga
  8. Gardening
  9. Playing with Connor
  10. Date night/afternoon
  11. Being outside

If I’d consolidated some more specific things, like “working out” and “kickboxing,” the list might look a little different, but not by much.

Other notable one-off things that made me happy:

  • Wearing a sheath dress and feeling good in it
  • Watching Connor eat sushi with his chopsticks and enjoy it
  • Driving everyone (my grandparents, my Mom, and my son) to the Air Force Museum
  • Connor being super sweet about my boo-boos from giving blood
  • Watching the rain with Connor
  • Setting up a WordPress plugin
  • Watching Aaron and Connor play Mario

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Thirteen Years

This evening, as I was wondering what I’d post on my blog, I got a notification that I’d been tagged in a Facebook photo by Aaron’s cousin Megan, whose wedding we attended back in October.

Extended Family

I immediately got up from the couch and went into the family room to retrieve our wedding album and snap a photo of the posed portrait with all the cousins. I posted it in a comment: “What a difference 13 years makes…”

But then I kept flipping through.

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Throwback Thursday: Meta Edition

I know that I’m kind of a dinosaur for still having a personal blog. It’s my thing, though, even if it doesn’t get read as much as it did, say, ten years ago.

I found myself paging through my archives today, and I discovered a few interesting things that happened in years past around the autumn equinox.

Fourteen years ago today was when my blog officially began! I’d updated my own personal site with tidbits here and there, but September 22, 2002 was the first “real” blog entry.

Around that time, I was taking the cab to my job in the Sky Bank Lockbox department, where I would typically work a 12-hour day on Monday, an 8-hour day or less on Tuesday, then clock about nine to ten hours a day for the rest of the week. I had just graduated college the December prior, and was really, really missing the old college vibe (especially since the cab drove me past campus every morning on the way to work).

The Black Swamp Crew, 2002

On September 7th, a couple of weeks before I started this blog, a bunch of us walked from the Schnuth abode to the Black Swamp Arts Festival in BG. That’s me at the bottom left, and Aaron is in the blue shirt behind me.

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Potential is a Bad Word

After 19 years, I’ve finally identified the feeling I’ve had about my Bluecoats rookie-ageout season: Regret.

I sat with it for a few days last month and came to terms with the fact that I had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and didn’t actually prepare for it. Was I present in the moment while I was there, giving my all during rehearsals and performances? Absolutely. But did I prepare? Did I condition myself physically, make and save extra money for free days and laundry and miscellaneous expenses, call ahead to resolve transportation issues, practice my mello in the music building on campus to get my chops ready?

Nope. That wasn’t the “fun part,” so I didn’t bother.

The only way to resolve this feeling was to come to terms with the fact that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is gone. A memory. It was what it was, and although it was amazing in its own way, I didn’t make everything of it that I could have.

(I also resolved some of my angst by Facebook Messaging one of the veteran members of the ‘97 corps who had actually been friendly and welcoming, and thanked him for that, some 19 years after the fact. He was grateful to hear it, and pointed out that his own rookie year had been rough. It was then that I realized that I never got the true “rookie” corps experience in my first corps, Northern Aurora, since the 1995 corps was comprised of 80% rookies who were all in the same boat.)

I even tried to recapture the drum corps experience later in life by joining senior corps, and that failed miserably. I still didn’t practice at home very much, I was still overweight and out of shape, and it certainly didn’t help that I spent three hours in the car round-trip every time we had a rehearsal or performance.

This tendency to put off the un-fun parts is kind of a theme in my life, whether it’s nutrition and fitness or cleaning house or writing documentation at work or skipping class back in college. I’m a grown-ass woman now, not a 21-year-old kid (who doesn’t realize she’s still a kid). I’m a mother and a wife and an IT professional, and my responsibility game has leveled up a few notches in the past couple of decades. I’m responsible for my son, for my share of the household bills and chores, and for my work.

I can start being responsible for Future Me, too.

P.S: The title of this post references a theme in the 1996 Northern Aurora season. The staff got the corps together around midseason, as I recall, and told us that we were getting lots of comments from judges about the show having “potential,” and how we should be fired up to realize that potential. “Potential” became the watchword during rehearsals — the staff would just say it over the loudspeaker, and we’d hiss in response, and step up our game. “Potential” meant our show was well-written but not (yet) well-executed. It meant we just had to do the work to realize that potential.

I’m not sure we ever truly realized our potential that year, but we came close.

My Senior Prom was 22 years ago today. Fuuuuuuu~ Thanks, FB. That’s what I get for tagging it with the actual date. t.co/F26onm7Ztx

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