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my anchor.

today i’m feeling quite reflective on life and the things that matter most. so, i thought i’d share a little story with you. here it goes…

i have a tattoo. just one. it wasn’t something that i got on a whim when i was 19 years old (and now regret), rather it was well planned out and i was 29 years old (8 months too early to abide by the rules in this advice book). i think i shocked a lot of people when i got it and i’m pretty sure several people in my life still don’t understand why i’d ink myself. but i did it, i’d do it over, and i might just do it again. i love my tattoo. it has a lot of meaning and significance in relation to my life and the people in it.

my tattoo is an anchor – and my sister has the same one. no, it’s not an ode to the nautical trend nor homage to popeye. instead – it’s a reminder of who i am, where i come from, and the people who have been there along the way.

sister-anchor-tattoos

me and my sister on my wedding day.

when i was growing up, we were a boating family. our house was situated on the banks of the illinois river. the large wall of windows in our living room looked out onto the water which was 2 miles wide. i spent much of my life growing up on that water.

home

our backyard and the river.

in the summer we would swim, boat, ski and tube. we had an late 1960s/early 1970s boat which my dad had restored. it had a little cabin, two deck chairs and a bow which my sister and i adored (we’d sit on top for hours – we even had special songs we’d sing up there). i can’t remember a summer saturday where we didn’t spend the entire day on the water. i still remember the blue cooler with the white top that we’d pack with homemade sandwiches, snacks and drinks.

we also had a row boat, canoe and later a jet ski.

in the winter, the fun didn’t stop – my dad would sweep the snow off the frozen water and make an ice skating rink for us. he’d plop down a few bails of hay in the middle and before you knew it, the whole neighborhood had joined in for a sunday skate.

to be honest, i probably didn’t appreciate all these things as much as i should have as a kid. looking back though… they put a huge smile on my face and remind me of what a wonderful childhood i had. all these memories (and many more), i was lucky enough to share with both my parents and my sister.

my sister, abby, and i are 2 years apart in age (me being the older one). when we were young kids, she was the bully and i was the bitch. she’d hit and i’d retaliate by calling her a mean name, but we were always close friends. growing up we loved to have little adventures, mostly making tents in the house and clubhouses on the beach. when i was 13, i convinced her to let me cut her hair because “i was good at it”. mind you i’d never tried cutting any hair other than my barbies, but she let me and it was disastrous and lopsided (she’s actually now the real hairstylist). when i turned 16, we’d cruise around in our mom’s convertible with our favorite songs playing on the discman through the car speakers. i’d try to be the hip older sister and drive her by her friends houses so they’d be jealous. we thought we were very cool. when i went off to college, she would take the train down to come and visit. while there, i’d sneak her into bars with us. she was 17 (eeek. shaking my head as i think about that and how when/if we have girls someday we are going to be in for a lot of fun.). and after 8 years of living at least 2 hours away from each other, we both found ourselves moving to orange county, california as mid-twentysomethings. unfortunately, i only stayed for 15 months  (6+ years later, she’s still there). even though that chapter was short lived, we made so many memories in our time together out there and it brought us closer than ever.

we’ve seen each other through good times and bad, we’ve stood by each other’s side on our wedding days, and even though we live 8000 miles away from one another – we still find time to communicate almost every single day whether through video chat, an IM, email, or some random game we are playing (it’s Ruzzle this week).

my sister is my best friend. we shared many moments together on that river and later by the sea. we’ve always been each other’s support and we anchor each other. i couldn’t imagine life without having her by my side. love you abs.

so there you have it. the story behind the (matching) tattoo(s).

 

memories of a printer’s drawer

when i was growing up, my mom had an old printer’s drawer hanging on the wall in our living room. the compartments were filled with little trinkets and momentos from my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and beyond. i remember that every-so-often my mom would let me and my sister pull a few things off the drawer. we would sit at the front of the fireplace and play with our favorites (usually with a bit of make believe). my go-to was always a tiny metal toy gun that was my father’s (which luckily did not impact my feelings on real guns) and my sister’s was a mini corked glass jar filled with ph test strips.

to this day, that printer’s drawer remains to be one of my most cherished memories of childhood and in recent years i’ve been thinking about that drawer quite a bit. each item in it had a story and it connected me to those stories and the people with whom each item came from. at nearly 33, naturally life is a lot different than it was when i was the child that admired each of those little things – my parents divorced when i was in my 20s, my grandparents have all passed away, and i live 10,000 miles from that house i grew up in. holding on to these types of small memories (like the printer’s drawer) reminds me of all the amazing times i had growing up and how truly lucky i am to be connected to a group of such wonderful people.

sometime last year i mentioned to my mom that i wanted to get a printer’s drawer of my own and curate a meaningful collection of items from years past. to help start this, i have a few small things that i’ve held onto over the years – items that i hope someday will make it into the hands of my family’s younger generations. then even better… last month when i was home, my mom surprised me with a contribution to the drawer + a box full of those very items that once hung on the wall when i was a child. i was elated.

this past weekend i stopped in my favorite shop (rock n rustic) here in adelaide. the owners had recently spent a month in the u.s. sourcing antiques and “picking” as the pros call it. just last month they unpacked their shipment which contained several printer’s drawers. during my visit, i inspected all the drawers to find one with the perfect compartment sizes. after about 15 minutes, i found exactly what i was looking for. yesterday i attached a chain to the back, mounted it to the wall, and started filling it with all my mementos. i couldn’t be happier with it. i look forward to adding (+ sharing) more memories as the years go by.

printersdrawer

my new printer’s drawer filled with old mementos

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