365 Days Ago…

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I decided to start Meandering Mango 365 days ago today. It may have evolved from a boring day at work or the need to creatively post pictures of Marc’s and my awesome bike ride to the French Market and beyond. Regardless, this has been a great outlet for me to let you all in on the crazy world of Mango. Thanks for listening!

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Kids Say the Darndest Things

Yesterday, as Marc stood talking with a neighbor and the neighbor’s daughter, I think he half expected Bill Cosby to walk out and play host to the dialogue going on between them.  It turns out that our neighbors are getting married soon, and while Marc and I fully did not expect to be invited — we’ve only known them for the few months since they moved in — our neighbor’s daughter (she’s 6 years old) obviously had different thoughts on the matter.

Neighbor’s Daughter:   Oh, oh, oh!  (Tugging neighbor’s arm.)  Are Marc and Karen invited to the wedding?

Marc and Neighbor stand awkwardly, as adults do, trying to figure out the most PC/polite/diplomatic way to address her question.

Marc:  Oh, sweetie.  You see, we would love to be there, but we are actually going to be very, very busy next weekend.  (Kudos to Marc for his quick thinking.)  But remember that we will be there in spirit, and we’ll be thinking about you guys the whole day.

Neighbor’s Daughter seems to be okay with this.  Until…

Neighbor:  And, honey, remember that we’ve only invited about 25 people.

Neighbor’s Daughter:  No we didn’t!  We invited 100 people.  Because there are 100 gifts that we bought to give to all of the people we invited!

I know that my time is coming.  In a few years, I’m sure that I’ll be involved in plenty of those conversations where I look around to find the nearest rock to crawl under when little Bean says something completely off — and probably completely honest — to someone with whom we’re speaking.  I love it that children don’t always understand the nuances of adult conversations…most of all I love it because they haven’t learned yet to be ruled completely by the edit button that continually runs in most of our minds.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not advocating for children to freely blurt out rude or hurtful comments, but I think that sometimes we could all take a little cue from their truthfulness. 

Meditations on Five

Had you asked me seven years ago what I would be doing today, it probably wouldn’t have been this. Not that I know for sure what it would have been, but probably not this. And I mean that in the best of ways. Seven years ago, I was still working at a clothing store in the midst of deciding not to go to law school after already enrolling and processing my loans. I was going out for vodkas with pineapple juice until 2AM and sleeping until 10:00. I got a dog from the pound that destroyed my apartment and had to go back just three days later. It was a totally different life back then…but it was a passageway to my life today, and I’m thankful for that.

On New Year’s Eve of 2000, a friend asked me to join up with a group of folks going to Palomino to ring in the New Year. And fast forward through pretty much the entire evening, I remember getting ready to leave and seeing Marc trying to arrange travel for everyone to get to another party. As we were leaving the restaurant, I recall him asking if we had arrangements to get there. When we said, “Yes,” he said, “Are you sure? Because it’s dangerous out there.” I thought it was so cute and so thoughtful. And to this day, I remember very specific snippets of that evening…the evening I first met my husband. There was the moment I looked over to notice him playing the organ in the entryway of the hosts’ house. Or when we stood outside talking about Rumi the Sufi poet. We didn’t exchange numbers or make plans for seeing each other again, but somewhere deep within us the seed was planted that would eventually grow the amazing life we share together now.

As I reflect back on all of the tiny and gigantic pieces that have made up our lives together since that cold December 31st seven years ago, I can’t help but feel full. Full of hope, and joy, and love, and memories, and plans, and dreams….I could go on and on. Full in the same way you feel satisfied after a great meal, an afternoon spent with a long-time friend, or a day at the beach when your skin feels nice and warm and you can taste the salt-water dried on your lips. Full…and happy.

I never dreamed back then that I would feel the kind of love that we share or experience the joy that comes from spending each day with the one you’re meant to have found…the one your heart has known all along and only comes home to by chance encounter. But in a way I’m kind of glad. It’s nice to have a surprise that unfolds before my eyes without notions or expectations of how it is “supposed” to be. And when I think back over everything we’ve done so far — two apartments, a rental house, a stint with the in-laws, a new house, a cat, a dog, many travels, laughs and tears, a baby on the way, the eternal slumber party — I can’t help but marvel at how it’s all just the beginning of all of the wonderful things yet to be discovered about “us.”

As I meditate on “5,” I guess I just want to revel in the mystery and whimsy that has been our last five years together as husband and wife. So Happy Anniversary, Marc! Here’s to the last five and to an infinity of fives to come! I Love You!

“This is how I would die into the love I have for you
As pieces of cloud dissolve in sunlight.” — Rumi

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The Naked Lady in My Back Yard

Several months ago at work, a few of us got to talking about flowers that grow where you’re not expecting them.  If I recall correctly, one of the ladies told us about how she noticed that she had tulips or daffodils growing in patches where she never planted them.  So I chimed in about how, every year, I will without fail come home one day to a pretty pink flower growing near my fence.  For those of you who really know me…you know that I am no gardener.  In fact, I tell people that I have a “black thumb” — I’m a plant killer.  So it gives me great pleasure to come home once a summer to find that my pink floral friend has reemerged without my having to so much as lift a finger for her care.

The first summer that we noticed the flower, I was so shocked by its appearance in our yard that I went out to pick it up.  I thought that it was a fake flower that had somehow blown over the fence…I mean it literally showed up overnight.  But when I got outside, I noticed that it was indeed firmly planted in the crummy soil of our back yard.  “Bizarre,” I thought.  I definitely didn’t plant it (which is probably why it has survived more than one summer).  Yet every year, it comes up again.  When I explained to Troy what the flower looks like, he said, “Oh yeah, it’s a Surprise Lily.  Or sometimes they call them Naked Ladies.”  A quick Google Image search confirmed that, indeed, I had a Naked Lady in my back yard.  Ever since that day, I have just been dying to write a post with this title.

I was a little worried this year because it was nearly August, and I hadn’t seen the flower yet.  Then on Tuesday, like she had never gone away, there she was.  It wasn’t there in the morning, but as I left the garage to walk to the house after work, I noticed it in its full pink glory.  Giddy about being able to finally write my post, I grabbed the camera and headed out to document the arrival.  I lined up the shot, and then drats! — dead battery.  And of course we can’t find the charger anywhere.  Not to be foiled by a silly little battery, I forged ahead.  So here it is…the Naked Lady in my back yard.  Well, not really MY back yard but someone’s.

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Official Tuesday Blog Launch Party

Okay…so it’s not really a “party.”  But I’ve been waiting so long to launch my new blog, and I decided that today is the day.  Hop on over to http://imabean.wordpress.com to check it out.  Hope you’ll enjoy!

Keep Coming Back, Kelso

As you probably know, Marc and I have interesting pets. Not interesting as in exotic fish or rare birds…interesting as in quirky and generally lacking manners. But they’re cute, and we love them nonetheless. I often wonder if their behavior is a reflection on Marc and me — much as I will probably wonder the same about Marc’s and my future children. I think, though, that when it boils down, they’re probably not as bad as I purport. So why the title? Why the inference that Kelso has started flipping pages in the “Big Book”? Well, it’s because of a story that I recalled and shared with Troy today at work.

When Marc and I had our first apartment, there was no Barkley…just Marc, Kelso, and me. It was great. We were three stories up with a balcony nestled in among the trees in the complex. Our first place together. Some days, we long for the simplicity of our lives back then — our life in the tree house, as we called it. But I digress. One day, probably around Halloween, my mom sent me home with one of those “bouquets” of Tootsie Roll Pops. So I put them in a mug on the kitchen counter. Then, as the days passed, I noticed that they seemed to be disappearing…quickly. I asked Marc about it, and he claimed that it wasn’t him. And I knew that it wasn’t me. So where were all of the suckers? Wait a second…why is there a Tootsie Roll Pop under the bed?….in the closet?….under the fridge? It didn’t really strike me who the real culprit was until one evening I noticed, while sitting on the couch, our furry little four-legged friend traipsing across the floor with a Tootsie Roll Pop in his mouth — picture it…sucker (still wrapped) clamped in his jaws, paper stick coming out the side of his mouth. Scoundrel! The whole time, it was Kelso who was nabbing the pops…stealing my favorite flavor, Raspberry.

Then there’s the bread. Don’t get me started on the number of loaves that Kelly has ruined — chewing out the corners of the bag in order to get his fix. There are no second chances when it comes to forgetting a loaf of bread (or buns) on the counter. We learned long ago that bread must be stored in the cupboard to avoid having to pitch the whole bag. And there is no grace period, no wiggle room. In a hurry and making a quick sandwich for lunch before work? You’ll come home to the gnarled remains of your favorite Sara Lee whole grain…crumbs shamelessly strewn about the counter top.

And then there’s this. The ultimate in kitty gluttony. As Marc and I relaxed downstairs the other night, we heard a strange rustling noise. Knowing that this type of noise usually sounds the alarm bell on a Barkley mishap (shredding dish towels…eating mail), Marc jumped up and started toward the dining room, only to notice Barkley idly chewing on a bone. So he looked down, chuckled, bent over, and returned with a Twinkie in hand…retrieved from the jaws of our monster kitty. I could only laugh and feel a little disappointed that I didn’t get to witness a cat carrying a Twinkie in his mouth for a good thirty feet.

So what gives? Why the insistence on candy, breads, and Hostess snack cakes? I think Troy nailed it when he said, “Your cat is a carb addict!” Indeed, our feline friend’s dirty little secret is out. He pines for all things carbohydrate. In fact, Marc even pointed out that the cat tries to eat cardboard. I’m guessing that it isn’t just some strange form of pica…that the cat indeed has a terrible addiction. And I’m starting to think that all of those nights when he screamed in Marc’s ear at 4AM, all of those painful MRRWAAAAH’s were really just cries for help. Cries that we, unfortunately, ignored until now.

My name is Kelso. And I’m a Carboholic.

Keep Comin’ Back, Kelso.

TMI

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Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t really care to know about what is inside W’s colon.