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flipping summer upside down

23 Jul
turtles and scrunchies and themed-parties.
those were my favorite summers.
when it was perfectly okay to wear matching cotton outfits from kelly’s kids, and side-ponies were i hope all the rage.
is it strange to feel nostalgic chills when you pull your hair to one side of your head?
i do. here’s why:

we've always been a little backwards

the summer before second grade, ponytails weren’t the only thing getting flipped around. my sister, emily, and i are just two years apart – and at 7 and almost 5 – we were a hurricane of imaginary friends, beanie baby lands, and energy. i’ve come to believe that the events of that summer – specifically my favorite birthday party of all time – were just my sweet mother’s way of encouraging our craziness.

well it worked! here’s how i remember that day going down. remember being the key word there. i refuse to let my age-7 memories be diluted by asking how it really went down!

my brilliant mom awoke with a start, a month before her favorite daughter’s birthday.

“abby is turning seven!,” she exclaimed. “we must do something outlandish and over-the-top for her this year. i fear her astounding intelligence will be stunted by a ho-hum party and a clown with any sense would kidnap her and try to sell her smiles at a circus booth.”

so she set to planning. of course, there would have to be cake and friends, games and decorations, but it had to be different – set apart from all parties before and after, into eternity. it had to be . . . upside down.

and so was born the inaugural “inside-out, upside-down, backwards seventh birthday party” of yours truly.

“what the heck is that?” you might ask.

well, it included, among other things:

  • guests welcomed to the party with “goodbye yarm,” or “see ya later, eitak!”
  • eating the cake – first of course, and under the table
  • decorations hung upside down
  • everyone wearing their clothes inside out
  • pony tails on the top of the head – think pebbles from the flintstones
  • a scavenger hunt in reverse, and you had to walk backwards, of course!
  • lots of giggling as soon-to-be second graders attempted to say things backwards, walk on their hands, and generally, act-a-fool
  • waving hello to friends as they left the party, walking backwards, with smiles they couldn’t reverse if they wanted to

in the aftermath of this hooplah, the guests and the party-girl were all just as exhausted as we would have been after a trip to chuck-e-cheeze, the park, or just running around the house high on cake and ice cream, but there was something so special about celebrating imagination, innovation, and silliness with my little friends that i will never forget. i long for that kind of newness and craziness each summer – and i think it’s thanks to adventures like this one in my childhood.

in fact, i’m of the strong opinion that this party would still be fun today. and now that we all agree that my mom was, is, and always will be a brilliant host and party planner, can we also agree that i need to blow this picture up and paint it as a mural in my apartment? i just love those cheeks.

cheers to summer parties and super high side ponies. who wants to help me bring those back?

this post is inspired by a series my friend ashley is doing on her blog. to read the rest of her tributes to summer – head on over to the chatterbox! and visit her often – she’s stinkin’ hilarious.

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a graduation ode . . .

7 May

confession: i was the valedictorian of my class

second confession: there were 14 valedictorians

needless to say, by the time i got to speak, no one was listening, and as a result, i have some competitive issues still looming.

as well as a feeling of unfinished business.

luckily for me, and you if your into commencement proceedings, jaye at jayewalking has given me a second chance. check out what i would say to the class of 2010 on her blog today!

in the salon chair

24 Feb

i got my hairs cut this week. all of them. i left feeling fresh, rejuvenated, and a little sweaty.

something about getting my hair cut turns me into another person. a nervous, awkward person with creepy eyebrows, pasty skin, and wandering eyes. i can’t focus, i can’t speak right. i’d agree to a buzz cut if i thought the stylist would think i was normal.

i don’t think the fault lies entirely with the fluorescent salon lighting – although it is the only place i can clearly see the scar on my cheek, so clearly that i start wondering which moon crater it most closely resembles.

my right cheek art, but my face is a bit less grey

my face is less grey, don't fret.

i think it’s this one, but that’s beside the point.

what boggles this mind is the transformative power of a place that is supposed to spoil, dote, and feel indulgent. what force pulls the anxious abby out of her hiding place when i put on that cape?

is it insecurity? i know the slicked back rat hair isn’t really my best look, but i can easily trust the awkward in between is all for the good of the great hair being sculpted out of my nest. no, i don’t think what throws off my balance is physical.

less about the hair.

is it fear of being found less-than? less than interesting, less than normal, less than the most engaging person in the room? i come ready with my bag of conversational tricks – tidbits to make the stylist giggle or at least tell a long-enough story to take her mind of my nervous laugh.

yes, i think it’s less about the hair, and more about the bare, exposed feeling sitting in front of a mirror for that long leaves me. so many things stare back. scars, eyebrows, big thoughts. things that definitely need an hour in front of the mirror to surface. an hour i don’t willingly give. it’s clear i need that face time with myself more often, and not for vanity’s sake.

paradox alert: in losing hair, i gain some bit of perspective on what’s beneath the surface. can i write that off as therapy?