This is 29!

Wait, what?!

Typing that is a bit jarring. This makes me – as my birthday card from you read – ‘dead in dog years’.

Dan, I bet you thought I forgot the birthday post. Well, I almost forgot to serve your birthday cake tonight, and to give you your card, so it would not have been a stretch. The old rock of Gibraltar is surely showing some cracks.

But never. The only time I write here is birthdays, and 29 is a damn big one.

I looked at you across the table tonight and thought, how lucky am I? To have a son that gets me. That shares not only my birthday week but my sense of humor and desire to hang together. You taught me how to parent as much as I taught you how to grow up. And I can honestly say I learn from you every day.

Watching you mature, grow professionally and be a caring, supportive partner is all a parent can ever ask for. I can honestly say, I don’t worry about you. Ever, really. You have a level head, a strong moral compass, and yes, a Puss Jew Bod, but you have learned to manage that with grace. You have a firm grasp on what truly matters (see what I did there?)

Thank you for always being there for me. For making me think. For appreciating that sometimes I am actually ‘not wrong’. And most of all for loving me with your full heart. You are a man of both strength and sweetness. Don’t ever lose that charm.

Here’s to you, my sweet boy. May this year bring you all you wish for. I look forward to every moment of being your mom.

(Becky makes it into the photo because, frankly, I don’t have any recent pics of you alone! That speaks volumes. I love that, too!)

(BAYCBABC)

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Daddio-sir

Daddio-sir. Not sure when I started calling you that, but it just fits!

TheHarvZ. My dad. The first man in my life. And he did it pretty damn gracefully (excluding those teen years that we all know are pretty much temporary insanity). Coining the phrase, ‘doing it the Amy way’, he taught me to navigate the easier roads to travel.

To know my dad is to to know his warmth. His no nonsense, massive love for his family. There is nothing more important to him. And if you marry in, you are his now too. This is evidenced by his famous ‘birthday letters’. He does not buy cards. (I think it may have something to do with the fact that my mom single-handedly supported Hallmark’s stock price for her entire life). The way he expresses emotions so freely is a gift we all cherish. His support and interest in every one of our lives and accomplishments is astounding. And he is the first to dust us off during challenges and failures. There is no better cheerleader.

Harv is a funny guy. He can become wildly aggravated by the inefficiencies of the postal service or the dining room in his place, but never once complained about being locked into his apartment for almost a year during the pandemic.

He has sucked up more things in his lifetime than I can count, and always keeps a smile on his face, a humorous twist and a positive lesson.

There is no greater gift a daughter can have than a dad who remains her champion her entire life. After the loss of my mom, he took on the role of the daily chatter. We never miss a morning, and when I am pressed for time there is never any guilt. Only the greatest support for getting through my day.

A big fat wish I were there with you Happy Fathers Day to my hero.

Love you to the moon, Daddio Sir.

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This is 31

Amazing shot secured from creepy Facebook stalking.

Happy birthday to my girl’s boy. Son #2. The calm in every storm.

Cor, It is hard to remember a time when you were not a part of my family. You have been with us through it all. And I could never fully express how grateful I am to have you there with your quiet strength and insightful perspective. You are my go to guy in an emergency.

Thirty to thirty-one has been one crazy ride. Never once did I see you falter. When things got scarier, you became more steadfast in your conviction to keeping it cool. Nothing like a pandemic to test the true colors of a man. (a little ironic, for a colorblind guy, huh?) When decisions had to be made, you brought them to the families with undying grace and respect. You always consider everyone’s feelings before making a move. And somehow, you manage to do it all with a smile on your face and a no big deal attitude.

When you marry someone you marry their family. That is not always easy to navigate. But we are so very fortunate that we took it one step further and married both our families into one. I could not imagine living without that. My gratitude is without measure.

For 31 I wish for you all that you have missed. All that you deserve. Music. Food. Festivals. Travel. Golf. And a fully opened NYC!

Can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you. Thanks for always taking us along for your ride.

Big Love.

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This is 32

32… we have now entered the time when I am no longer twice your age. Does this make me younger? Yeh, I know, still a geezer.

But there is a big shift. I thought about this last night as we were leaving for an outdoor show. Your text: “What are you wearing? It is going to get cold.” At that moment I thought, is she asking me this as my child to see what she should wear, or was she being parental and making sure I would be dressed properly?

Maybe a little of both?

Parenting is a lifetime endeavor. For 32 years I wake every morning with my heart full knowing you are there. Wherever there is. The beauty of this stage is knowing that you have my back. Always.

How cool is that?

We have come a long way from your last birthday (how nuts was THAT day?). The world has shifted, but you remain my constant. Of the all the gifts that we have been given through this insanity, the strength of our bond has been one of the greatest of all.

You inherited my lens. I love that more than you can ever know. But I watch how you make it your own. Your humor is just a little sharper. Your patience is greater. Your love of the offbeat is a little more sophisticated. You show up and when you do you make everything so much more fun. I love watching you kick ass, have fun and make sure that all your people are taken care of.

Thank you for being my Technicolor when the world starts to become a little too gray. For making me remember why becoming a parent was the most important decision I ever made. And for always making sure I know how loved I am, every single day.

To the moon and back, Petunes. May 32 be an easier ride than 31.

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This is 28

You are 28, right? There are years that I have gotten this wrong. And in the land of time warps, how do you actually know you are 28? What is time anyway…

Never mind, I did the math.

Here we are again, as the day is about to turn from my birthday to yours I can’t help but think the big stuff. Especially now.

It is impossible to ignore where we are and where we have been this year. But I am going to use our birthdays to reflect on all the good that this crazy rollercoaster has given us.

One of the bright things… You. As a roommate. AGAIN! Only this time it was so much different than it has ever been. This time you were here to hold it together with me. To keep me sane when I started to let it all run away with me. As I circled the drain you put out your steady hand and pulled me right out. With an eye roll and a ‘yes, mother’ you could lighten up even the toughest of moments.

You will forever be my sounding board. You think the way I do but with a mind that is so open to all possibilities that my insight pales next to yours. You slow me down, keep me on course and help me to stay straight and go with my gut, even when my gut seems to be nowhere to be found.

Oh, and you vacuum and do the dishes!

But best of all you do this all with a keen sense of humor and the ability to make light of the heaviest of all situations.

You navigated some incredibly tough waters through this crazy ride of a year and worked hard to land in the most amazing place. Without once feeling sorry for yourself or giving up. It’s how you navigate the hard times that determines who you are. You kicked the ass of 2020.

Ok, so I am your mom and I am supposed to say this stuff. But others do too.

Thank you, Dan, for turning into a man I could not be more proud of if I tried.

And one who always remembers… Everything Matters.

(Be all you can be and be careful)

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This is 30: My Girl’s Boy

This is a first; the birthday blog post for my son-in-law. If you know our relationship you totally get the strike through in that sentence.

To quote my daughter, “You should be with someone that makes you your best self.”

Forget about her, Corey makes me my best self! I could not dream up a better partner for my child, or a more perfect soul to seamlessly melt into our family. He has inspired me to be a better mother-in-law. I have learned how to listen and guide when asked, and shut the hell up when not.

He lives gently. With strength and grace. And the most positive, even-tempered attitude I have ever witnessed in another human.

When the world spins out of control on every level imaginable, having him around is a godsend.

And he cooks!

Today he turns the big 3-0. Hard time for a milestone birthday. Or maybe not. He so easily rolls with what is, and makes the best of what can be. Always. But especially now.

Happy birthday to my second son. I wish for you all that you dream of.

Keep dreaming. Love you to the moon.

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This is 31

This is my girl in her natural habitat. I love everything about this shot. Her husband in the background. The glow from the stage. The wristband. Those curls. Her smiling eyes. And yes, of course her signature concert tiny hand.

Birthday 31 came crashing into us today. That is the lovely thing about birthdays, they don’t give a flying F that the world is upside down, they just show up, give us a nice little dose of normal and make us adjust, be grateful and enjoy the moment.

Which got me to thinking that those exact qualities are the essence of Jana.

She shows up… always. It is one of her best qualities. She shows up when you need her and even when you didn’t realize that you did. She works her butt off, helps those in need, volunteers, raises money, gets the job done… whatever it takes.

She doesn’t care that the world is upside down, she still finds a way to be close, give support and make me laugh. Every day. Her normal.

When I start to go down a road of crazy, she makes me adjust, take a breath, keep my eye on my own ball, consider the endgame and enjoy the moment.

You have both learned well and taught me even better, Petunes. Could not love you more if I tried.

Happy Bizarro birthday, my sweet. Promise to make it up to you on the other side of all this. With music. And funfetti!

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Trash in the Age of Coronavirus

First, am I supposed to call it that? Or Covid-19. I don’t want to appear pandemic ignorant my first week back here.

Ahhh… trash. Garbology. This used to be a favorite topic of mine. Today’s morning walk made me dust it off. (I did forget to take a shot of the, hand’s down, Amazon winner. They had to have 20 boxes out.)

Here are some of my faves:

The “sure, bring it home, we can use it in the basement” dorm lamp.
The “what was I thinking when I bought these” lampshades.
The “why did we move in with this” furniture.
The “sure you can have the Laser X… just PLEASE let me work” purchase.
And my absolute fave… the “don’t judge me” recycling pile.

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When Cooking is Like a Grateful Dead Set

Let me explain.

If you are fan of the Dead, or any jam band for that matter, the expression when describing songs running together in a set is ‘into’: [song title] into [song title] into [song title]. This is what makes jam bands so epic.

For example Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Estimated Prophet*

These past few weeks have certainly seen the most home cooked meals in every household. We are all hunkered down and feeding ourselves. I know I have not cooked this many consecutive meals since… well, maybe ever.

How the hell is she going to tie these two together, and has she not had enough fresh air lately?

C’mon, I always tie it together. Here goes:

Sunday night we had short ribs. And there was just a little bit of gravy left, so…

Monday night I used it to start a mushroom barley soup. And there was a little bit of that left so…

Tonight I used it to start a mushroom gravy. (which, thank goodness we finished because I am out of beefy recipes)

Short ribs > Mushroom Barley Soup > Mushroom Gravy.

Cooking is like a Grateful Dead Set.

*from Cornell, Barton Hall 5.8.77

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The Bong is in the Eye of the Beholder

Stress crafting. That is what I called it. I was compelled to glue glass.

After collecting a season’s worth of glass corks from rosé wines, and obsessively scouring eBay for vintage pink depression glassware, I came up with some ideas for what to make.

This was the first piece. No it is NOT a bong!

It is a candlestick. But when I put this up on social, there were quite a few people who thought it was, in fact, a bong.

What does this say about my friends? Oh please, don’t judge.

Here are the rest of them. Yeh, I guess they all look like bongs, maybe.

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