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Today is my father’s birthday. Let’s refer to him as Papa G.

Here is a picture of him and I together when I was still a little larva human:

 

As the photo clearly demonstrates Papa G is a registered badass. And if you aren’t able to tell that from the gleam in his eye then let me elaborate by listing things my dad has done for me:

– Carried me inside his jacket and ran from a swarm of angry bees.
– Taught me how to use the riding lawnmower.
– Built every single computer I have used, ever. (I’m going to count the fact that he helped design the processor in this laptop).
– Jury-rigged a garage door opener with a big red button on it.
– Crawled into the wall of the house to make sure there wasn’t a badger inside of it.
– Let me use one of his old aluminum pole for Festivus celebrations.
– Built tree-houses, swing-sets, castles, play-kitchens and countless other things.
– Fixed everything –– before I even considered it to be broken.
– Sent me photos of me and my friends that he took unbeknownst to us from a telescopic lens.
– Essentially paid for my entire college education.
– Grew artichokes from seeds in Oregon weather.
– Asked me what I ate for lunch pretty much every day since the day he created his own Skype account.
Papa G is the kind of guy who will state what is obviously happening or about to happen in a television or movie out loud to you, with wonder. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to ride his bike and he likes to fix things. Most importantly he has loved me from day one even though when he met me I was a mere red-faced fat baby that looked like a frog.

And so today I wish him a happy birthday and thank him for everything he’s done for me.
 

 

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“If there are ghosts in this apartment, prove it.  Come take my girlfriend,” Alejandro called out to the spirits last summer when we lived in a building visited nightly by one of the many ghost tours in Savannah, Ga.

Stylized for effect.

I feared for my life.  He laughed at my folly.

Alejandro does not believe in ghosts, superstitions or unexplained theories of any kind. So I find it funny that, today, Friday the 13th, is his birthday.

Others of a weaker mind might fear something dreadful would happen to them, stay inside, hide under their covers and refuse to have fun.

Not Alejandro.  He may be staying inside refusing to have fun, but that’s just because he has a lot of animation homework to do. Nothing bad has happened so far.

So, for once, I’m telling you not to worry. Follow the birthday boy’s advice and relax.

After all, anything bad happening on Friday the 13th because of the sheer fact that it’s Friday the 13th is, as he says, in the kindest way possible, “highly unlikely.”

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She is ageless, forever beautiful and forever in my heart. She fancies herself the worst mother on the planet, so, I am going to list all the reasons why she is, just this once, completely wrong.

A photo from before her child-bearing days.

  •  She has never once told me I shouldn’t eat something because it will make me fat.
  • She has always encourage me to follow my dreams and turned them into realities.
  •  She made sure I loved vegetables and didn’t know what pop-tarts were until my first sleep over (while also letting me eat all the ice cream I wanted).
  • She read to me every night.
  • She let me sleep with books in my crib.
  • She pre-ordered Harry Potter books for each of her children so we could all read them at once.
  • She plans the best trips down the to the last Rick Steve’s detail.
  • She made me a real breakfast before school every morning.
  • She made us all dinner from scratch every night.
  • She climbed into a dumpster of elementary school lunch trash to retrieve my retainer (not once, but twice).
  • She drew a clown for me to color-in even though I was being a brat.
  • She makes six pies during Thanksgiving.
  • When I lived outside the bus range she drove me to school on time every day and put up with me harassing her for taking time to pour her coffee into a travel mug; A task that I was sure was going to make me late.
  • She has accepted and loved each of my friends like they were her own children.
  • She has never stopped me from seeing a boy even when my father (rightfully) disapproved.
  • She has put up with my countless melt downs and dealt with my irrational fear of everything from telephones to water.
  • She picked me up off the ground and helped me back to the couch when I passed out on the toilet while recovering from knee surgery.
  • She is always thinking of me, looking out for me and helping me plan and decide things but she never tells me what to do unless I ask.
I could go on for days, Mom, and I won’t let you refute my claims. You are simply the best.  And on top of all that you have perfect skin, frizz free gold and silver hair, beautiful green eyes and are the strongest delicate flower I know.

This is from last year, but Skype birthday round two tonight. xoxoxo

 

Last night at precisely 4:35 a.m. I was awakened by the sound of a very loud crash.  I am pretty sure my dorm, or something very close to my dorm, was struck by lightning.

The thunderstorm lasted until around 6:30 a.m. and became a theme in my dreams as I drifted in and out of sleep.

This pretty much describes the background for all my dreams last night.

How fortuitous, I thought, for a thunderstorm to strike on the 5th of April, the day my friend Lisa France was born.

Lisa is the first person I can recall hearing a thunderstorm with.  My sister and I were staying the night at her house and we had a séance to create a thunderstorm (something slightly less common in the great North West than in the South).

The tools we used were obviously perfect for the task: some colorful beads and most importantly a “thunder rock,” that was really just a regular rock we harvested from the neighbor’s backyard under the fence.

As the night went on we fell asleep, only to be awaken, as I was this morning, to a loud crash emitted from the sky.  We were ecstatic.  Our thunder rock had worked.

(My sister Lauren for her part slept through the night and even let out snores rivaling the ones in the sky.)

Today is Lisa’s birthday and I dedicate this post to her.  She is my second sister and I love her very much.

Tomorrow is my other sister’s birthday so except some tantalizing tale designed to embarrass her as all new 17-year-olds need to be embarrassed.

Lisa and I, looking our best.