Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Guys

So... I love men.  I really do, and I know that sounds wrong and whorish, which I am not.  I just like the company of men, as often as possible.  It's not that I don't love my female friends.  My closest friends are women, and there's nothing like a girl friend who understands exactly how I feel when I tell her, "My ex boyfriend just gave me an Ab Lounger because he said he noticed I've gained some weight."  Women friends can understand immediately what you mean, and how you feel, and answer you back with a hug and a look, and one word:  "Men!"

But, most of the time, I don't group men into an unfeeling bunch of douchebags, all equally bad.  From having four brothers, I know no two guys are at all alike, but there are common characteristics among the guys I like having around, and I was lucky enough to have a bunch of guys around this week, who made this week GREAT!  So, I had Thanksgiving with three of my brothers, my good friend Abbi's boyfriend John, my new friend Andreas, and good friend Jeff, as well as Katie, Cindy, Mom, the girls, Selah, and Kendall.  I got to play football and have the familiar experience of Mark hitting me in the face with a ball, drawing blood.  I got to play Uno with the guys and watch them cheat like crazy, making a stellar impression on Andreas, who is not an American and probably now thinks all Americans cheat at cards.  But, we all laughed till we cried, ate and played all day, and Andreas was the last to leave, after giving us his email, cell, and address so we can come visit him in Germany.  More on that in a moment...

Then, I got to see Kirk and Jared while I stayed with them in Minneapolis, and the girls and I attended a McCaffrey (awesome cousins!) wedding reception, and we found the coolest vintage clothing stores in the Twin Cities.  I love that my kids are cheap dates, and happy bargain shopping.  Kirk was himself, one of my favorite men in the world, and Jared was as cute and great as Kirk said.  Happy to see them, sad to leave them.

Now, for my big awesome news.  On the way home, Mark called to tell me he wanted me to research airfare to Germany so he could take me and the girls there over spring break.  I'm going to Germany!   It was second on my list of things I most wanted to do in life, and I get to go this spring!  The girls are ecstatic, and already talking about seeing Andreas again.  I am so happy, and grateful for my brother making this dream come true.  Having brothers is a wonderful gift, despite how awful they were when we were little, I love them dearly, and love making friends who become like more brothers to me.  I am so happy right now, cannot wait to find good flights and fly!! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tattoos and Titles

So, how old is too old to get your first tattoo?  I am so far unmarked, except for scars, which all come with stories interesting only to me.  When most of my friends were getting tattoos at the appropriate ages of their early twenties, I was applying eye liner to my daughters' faces to draw on cat whiskers.  Getting a tattoo never occurred to me, until I went back to work with people my own age and younger, and realized how many things I'd missed during my twenties, tattoos high on the list among them.

But, what should I get?  This took some thought, and it was only last week that I texted my friend Justin (he's very tattooed) that I finally had it, something I could wear and not regret ten years from now.  What I wanted was a small, white bird, flying up my back into a sky of skin that stretched up high... Like my scars, this tattoo would have a story.

When my father died, my friend and former teacher Ruth Michaud paraphrased an old Bess Streeter Aldrich poem into a card.  She wrote:  "Rough ways and stony ways, I think it was he trod, But now all I see, Is a white bird flying, Flying high, Flying up to God."  I can quote her version by heart, have written it into sympathy cards I have given.  I love that poem, I love the friend who wrote it for me, and I loved my father.  That's what I would mark onto myself, but once I decided on the idea for this tattoo, I realized how unnecessary it was.  No one could see a tattoo on my back unless I chose to show it to them.  And no one would know how deeply scarred into me are loves I own and those I've lost, unless I share the stories, which I already kind of did.  The book I wrote and still hope to publish is all about my dad, and losing him. 

I don't need a tattoo, not really.  Some things are marked more deeply than with ink, and matter more.