Last week I was horribly homesick, and some of it hasn't gone completely away. It started with seeing video on Startribune.com of the opening of the 35W bridge. I have so many memories of crossing the old bridge almost daily as I went back and forth to the U of M, and then memories of a year ago when it fell... I took Spike there to see the aftermath of its collapse our first weekend together, and to see it now whole and open, well my heart was very full and my tears overflowed. Then, my beloved eldest child posted videos on facebook of my sweet grandbabies talking to me, and that too pulled at my heartstrings and I puddled up again. To see "Lil Miss" toddling around like a pro, and to hear them saying "hi" to me, and "I miss you Gramrei"... I just need to hug 'em close to me and be there sometimes!
Another thing feeding into it was hearing that we had had a tragedy in the extended family. My ex-husband's cousin was murdered in a murder-suicide a week ago Saturday (9/13) just north of Aiken, MN. I remember her being this little lost waif of a teen, last seen by me at her Mom's funeral many years before. She was 32 when she died; her and another man were shot and killed by a second man who was jealous of their "relationship;" he then turned the gun on himself. She was laid to rest this week, and had I been in MN I would have attended the funeral to support the family. Sometimes it's hard being so far away!
Adding into my being homesick was the fact that I was hormonal, getting over being sick, housebound because of the stupid plates/tab situation, and, I was lonely being home alone all day. I had the cold from hell and worried it was becoming bronchitis, but just as I was about to give up on feeling better, it turned the corner and I did. I was very grateful to Brie because she took me on a much needed outing last Thursday: we went to Edwardsville to their local knitting shop, then wandered down the road to their quilt shop, grabbed ice tea on the way back to the car, and she gave me a tour of SIUE's campus. I needed knitting needles in a particular size that I couldn't find in what stash I could locate, as I was starting a sweater for the baby, and I just needed to get out of the house some and restore my spirit. We had a wonderful and productive afternoon, and I really enjoyed her company. On our way home we were treated to the sight of some fighter jets running through some skilled maneuvers, and it turns out the Air Force's elite Thunderbirds did a flyby salute to Mascoutah High's JR. Airforce ROTC program by showing off for an assembly at the high school. Bingo came home thrilled beyond belief over it, although many of our neighbors laugh at us for being "tourists" because they are far more blase over it... I'm not sure I will ever get over the thrill of watching the power and majesty of those planes in motion!
Friday Brie, Cliff, Rei, and Aurora went to the mall to look at dresses for homecoming (the dance is Saturday night). Aurora needs a dress, Brie was just trying them on for fun. Patrick was at a friend's for the evening, so Eric and I went out on a "date," our first since we went out for breakfast the first day of school. We went to "El Sombrero," a Mexican restaurant in town. The food was fantastic, but the strawberry margarita, which I had been craving, really sucked. It was plum colored, and the strawberry mix tasted like the strawberries had gone bad, with a horrid chemical aftertaste. I switched over to Corona, and I think I will avoid margaritas there (Spike's "regular" margarita was the color of lime kool-aid and it too wasn't very good). We had a wonderful evening just "being" and we celebrated his first pay check (I am both happy AND sad to say it was significantly higher than my paycheck used to be after 16 years of employment in one place!). We also talked about the joys and struggles of trying to blend our families, and we concluded that it is well worth the effort!
Saturday we woke up to rain and drizzle. Aurora had a cross country meet, Brie had to work, and Eric had school, so Patrick, Rei, and I decided to go to the airshow at the airforce base. The weather had dissuaded many folks from attending, which we didn't mind at all: it allowed us the opportunity to really enjoy getting on and off of the planes we could explore at our leisure, and it was neither too hot nor too cold. Yes, it was a bit damp, but as the day warmed up, the rain abated making a very pleasant afternoon. Here are some pics from the airshow:
Here also are a couple of videos that Rei took of the Thunderbirds in action:
This is the Thunderbird's salute to military families.
This is the Thunderbirds in their traditional formation.
The boys were enamoured with the stunt plane from Lucas Oil, a pilot based in Minneapolis who was just crazy, and they also really enjoyed the semi that was there from Sony with the PS3 games to try out. I "lost" both boys there for extended periods of time while I sat in the lost and found area so they could "find" me when they were done. I should note that I got to enjoy some of the fliers more than just at the airshow: from our front and back yards I had the good fortune of watching them in the air above the house as they practiced maneuvers in the days leading up to the show, as well as their performances on Sunday too... It was quite entertaining!
Unbeknownst to me, Eric had signed us up for a bowling tournament at the base lanes for Saturday night, and we took Rei and Aurora with us to that. Patrick spent the night at a friend's house, and Brie and Cliff went to a concert with friends after she got off work that was an all day/evening event. I had not bowled since last October, so my initial score reflected that: I broke 61! Then I started finding my stride and subsequently bowled 161, 112, and 232. My scores don't reflect my true ablility however, because we were bowling 8 pin-no tap, meaning 8 pins down on the first ball counts as a strike. I'm actually a fairly lousy bowler. Eric did much better than I did (although I actually beat him by 2 pins the last game), and we had a lot of fun. I even won a shirt as a door prize! The kids ate, read books, and hung out with us, and it was a fun evening.
Sunday we kept things lowkey. Brie, Cliff, Rei, and some other friends went to 6-flags for the day, Aurora recouperated from cross country, and Patrick rested up from being the last of us to get the cold from hell (he had the scratchy throat and cough). Eric napped some because he started orienting to overnights last night, and I sat in the front yard, knitted, and enjoyed the planes. We made it a fairly early night for all of us, and today was back to normal: work, school, and chores...
Hmmm. Rei is home from school, and Eric needs to get up soon, so I guess I need to get going on stuff--we still have lots to do today!