Friday, March 17, 2017

Memory Lanes and Positive Strep Tests

So I last wrote on Wednesday, after our miserable drive home and when I thought I was maybe going to start getting better. Yesterday I even left the house for an hour to do a return and breathe fresh air. My throat no longer hurt and my sinuses didn't feel like they'd shatter on contact. I firmed up our plans for a double date with the parents of one of Landon's best friends for Saturday and was eagerly anticipating our 2:30 tickets to see Beauty and the Beast Friday afternoon.

James has been whisking the kids out of the house each morning at 8 a.m. and keeping them busy until I text him with my confused "where are you guys?" when I wake up around 11 a.m.

Here, they are at Freebirds. Before that, they were at the Y, the park, Academy, and Costco. James seriously genuinely LOVES running errands with the kids (all of them, always) and it is one his most endearing and mystifying qualities.

So I was pretty sure I was on the upswing. Last night I dared to open the three boxes of childhood memorabilia my parents had sent me home with back in January, after they moved to their new house, and which I immediately forgot about until we found them in the garage last weekend. Apparently I'd never entered them into my mental inventory.

I spent way too many hours going through everything, laughing, crying, cringing... and wondering what on earth you're supposed to do with this stuff? 3 middle school yearbooks? (Kept those; they're small and hilarity abounded.) 4 GIANT high school yearbooks? (Kept senior year; I went to a huge school and didn't even know all the members of my own class anyway, but keeping one seemed right?). I found a ton of swimming stuff, obviously. (Apologies in advance for all the pictures you're about to see; this blog is now the diary I apparently wrote in in 8th grade, though generally less mortifying to re-read.)

I found the only non-swimming trophy I ever won. A math facts contest of course. Division! Fourth grade. I love love loved math. Still do, actually. I buy math workbooks and do them on planes.

But, while you obviously keep the math trophy, what do you do with your high school letter jacket from back when you had XL sized swimmer shoulders?

20 lbs. of medals?

Two boxes of ribbons?

A box of plaques? (Why was anyone giving out plaques to high schoolers? What can you do with those? Hanging them up now feels bizarre and a little sad. I tossed them all except my high school swimming Team Captain award and a few others that had genuine sentimental value, but even still- it would be better if they were just a piece of paper I could put in a folder instead of a giant block of wood.)

It was SO fun to see, but I ended up tossing most of it. Then I got to the real treasures... like this picture of me at the same age as Cora. Maybe we look something alike after all?

I always think I look more like Claire, and this self-portrait backs me up. But Cora has my adult hair curl and color, so who knows where she'll go with that. I spent my first 15 years as a straight haired blonde:

I enjoy these answers. They're still pretty accurate. Breakfast tacos are the best.

I found dozens and dozens of books and poems I used to write, illustrate, and then bind. Just for fun. In my free time.

It's like I was always destined to have a blog.

I also wrote about happiness a lot, which seems right based on all I remember about my childhood.

I found my 8th grade diary. If you want a lesson in self-kindness, read your words at 14. Ohmygod. I cringed so hard I had to read through half-closed eyes. Most of it I'd never share, but this made me laugh out loud.

Leo and Kate forever you guys. There was totally room on that door for two.

I found a bag of band medals. Nothing says middle school popularity like band medals.

My dad used to take each of them out to the garage after a competition to hand engrave them for me. I found so many things that made my heart squeeze.

Like this poem. I wonder if our kids would write something like this about us? I can only hope.

I found a beautifully bound parcel of my favorite high school papers (bound and labeled by me; I was an archivist), my SAT scores back when they actually mailed them to you (1550!), my senior year economics college project (UT's tuition was $2,000!), and the article from when I signed with UT in high school.

I found my deck credentials from the 1999 Junior Nationals Meet in St. Louis. We realized later that James was also at that meet, swimming the same event, just a few heats behind me. He was a senior in high school, swimming for Curl Burke in Maryland and I was a sophomore swimming for Blue Tide in Kingwood. We were both at the US Open later that year as well. It's no wonder we met my first night at UT in 2001- we'd been on that path for years!

Apparently at age 7 I was very up on current events.

I used to write a lot of poetry. I didn't remember that. I also feel like this should have given me excellent insight into the books I would one day read.

Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance Forever!

I found my President's Medal from PE in 5th grade. I'd tried to earn one for 3 years, but I always failed the flexibility. I had the girls school record for the flexed arm hang, I LOATHED the running but would just barely get enough laps, but then the damn touch your toes portion defeated me every time. I practiced touching my toes for weeks that final year and finally earned it. It's possible my PE teacher helped. Attached to the ribbon is my Safety Patrol badge, something I wore with GREAT PRIDE and GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. I'm pretty sure I just wore my vest around randomly so everyone would know I was entrusted with school children's safety. I told everyone to walk their bikes on the path and hung up the tetherball balls in the morning. I feel this prompted my current career in public service.

It was a special night. I filled up two plastic bins, got rid of a lot, enjoyed it all, and even decided to keep the letter jacket. I'm not sure why, but it felt funny to give it away. I'll revisit in another decade and laugh and cry some more. Maybe when I'm not also on a lot of cold medicine.

So after all that excitement and some weird cold-medicine-childhood-infused dreams, I woke up feeling terrible. Like driving home from New Mexico terrible. I dragged myself to urgent care and got an immediate diagnosis of strep. I've probably had it since I first suspected it Monday morning before heading out for 9 miles of hiking around 2 national parks. It's a good thing they were pretty!

I still kept our Beauty and the Beast Date. I sat on the end and coughed into a paper towel, but I figured I'd just be sitting anyway. And we loved it! Cora in particular. Obviously, she dressed for the occasion. Or, you know, just a regular Friday in her world. (Note the Princess Jasmine socks and Rapunzel shoes; we can't be contained to only one princess.)

She has the animated version memorized, so she followed along beautifully with the live action plot. There were some intense scenes, but because the plot mirrored the (unimprovable!) classic so closely, she would just grab my hand right before saying, "I going to be scared now!" and then she'd send my hand back to me when it was over. She sat in her chair the whole time (nearly 2.5 hours), ate her popcorn, and clapped immediately when the movie was over, declaring "I want to watch it AGAIN!" as we walked out.

Then, like an idiot, I spent 3 hours cleaning out Landon and the girls' entire closet, all their clothes, all their drawers, and all their storage bins. It's like a sickness. This was far less fun and sentimental, and more slogging and sad (*sob* Cora keeps growing). Now I'm dragging myself to bed because it is late and you shouldn't clean out closets when you have strep. On the upside, I don't feel worse, so maybe that means I really will feel good enough to go on my fancy dinner date tomorrow night just like the urgent care doctor promised! (The doctor who probably didn't think I'd spend 3 hours power-deep-cleaning a bunch of closets, but still - there's hope! and I am very determined. Steak and fancy cocktails are coming my way and my 6:30 p.m. tomorrow I'm going to WANT THEM.) But a pre-midnight bedtime seems like a good start.


  1. 1) that baby pic of you looks so much like Cora to me that it's insane

    2) we had the same SAT score :) knew we were kindred spirits in some way. Ha!

    1. Ha, too funny! It's such an obsolete number now (quite literally, isn't the high school now 2400 because there are three sections?), but it was fun to re-find the letter and remember the excitement of the time :).

  2. Hi! I love your blog! FYI: your local Boys and Girls club will accept trophies/plaques/medals and repurpose them for their own awards!

  3. The letter jacket is totally worth saving. I inherited my grandmothers letter sweater from the 1950s, and it is amazing in all it's green wool glory.

  4. Ick. Feel better, strep Is no fun!

    Holy hank you and Cora look alike!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. If you didn't toss all your medals (especially the hand-engraved ones!), you could make a windchime out of them. I've been planning to do that with a giant box of dance medals, and have bought the supplies, but haven't done the work yet!

  7. Found your blog via another working mama's recommendation, and love your writing. Just scrolled through this post - I'm from Kingwood too (well, 2nd-8th grade anyway)!