Friday, March 27, 2009

Shooting in my neighborhood

This morning Sean called me after taking Nick to school. "The house across from Rosie's school has police tape all around it, and there are police everywhere. Be sure the alarm is on and the dog is in; something's going on." I later learned that the man who lives in that house, a parent at my kids' school, had been shot minutes after he walked his kids to school across the street and was coming home to get in his truck and go to work. He later died at the hospital. The whole story is here

Needless to say I've been freaked out all day. They locked down the school, but no one gave us any news or details about the crime. Everything I know I've gotten off the internet or from the news. Apparently there were two guys who shot this man, and they were seen running down LaVista Road afterwards. But even though the school was taken off lockdown after a couple of hours, the news reported tonight (and it says in the above article) that one of the killers was thought to still be in the area bordered by LaVista, Frazier, Lawrenceville Highway, and Montreal....the exact area where we live!

But tonight it seemed to have calmed down. I even took the kids and their sleepover friends out for ice cream, coming back into the house in the dark. Then about an hour ago the police helicopters started up, hovering over our street, shining the lights in our backyard. It's scary as hell.

I am upset for so many different reasons. I keep thinking about that poor dad, saying goodbye to his kids, maybe talking about the weekend or what they were going to do that night, kissing them, telling them to have a great day, and walking away. Those poor kids (aged five and 10) had no idea they were saying goodbye forever.

Then I think about my own kids, and how scared Nicholas was when he got off the bus. He had heard it through the middle school grapevine, and didn't know what was really happening. I had become more and more relaxed about letting him walk places alone, and walking the dog with a friend and the like. Now I'm going back to being lockdown Mom. I hate that.

And I'm just afraid tonight. We have the alarm on, the dog is in, logically I know we're safe, but I know that guy is out there somewhere, and more like him. We aren't ever really safe.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my sweet dad's birthday. He would have turned 73 today. I miss him. This picture is from his last birthday, March 23, 2006. He was turning 70. He left too early, and it's never been the same around here without him.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More old photos

Julie and Rick, Berkeley, 1993. He was my boyfriend for many years, and this was a visit just to reconnect as friends. Well, that didn't work!

I'm getting obsessed with my past...need to read some Proust and let it go, maybe. But instead, today I scanned some old pictures I found so I could post them on Facebook. I was surprised at how much time has passed since they were taken. It still seems like just a few years ago, but the first bunch was in Paris in 1991, and the second in San Francisco in 1993...hang on, kids, cause that was 18 and 16 years ago respectively...children have been born and grown up in that time!

I guess it just makes me feel funny because I miss that time, and it doesn't seem very long ago. But my whole life is different now. I wasn't particularly happy back then, but I guess the difference is that I had time, lots of time, both to do stuff, like go to France and San Francisco, as well as the time in front of me as far as the future goes, years and years ahead of me to explore, meet people, change my life, then change it again.

Plus I looked so cute. I know I'm fine and all that now, but I just looked so lovely in these years, which represent my early thirties. I thought I was old when I hit 30, but I wasn't. It was a good time, health-wise, beauty-wise and love-wise. It makes me sad that all I am doing now is getting older, trying not to look it.

I'm not complaining, honestly. Just wondering how it all works. I mean, when do I actually get old, and stop wanting? Am I getting close? I'm not there yet, but I will be one day. No one wants to be 70 years old, but it happens. I'm too young to get old.

Julie with Rick's bike, a 1968? 1972? I can't remember BSA that he loved. We rode it across the Golden Gate Bridge in a raging wind. I thought I might fall off but I didn't.

On our bike ride over the bridge. It smelled like eucalyptus everywhere.

Paris, with my boyfriend Laurent. 1991

Me and my best friend Betty, in Paris. I've kind of lost touch with her, and she was my very best friend for years and years.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blast From the Past

For some reason I'm totally freaked out by this. I found some very old friends on Facebook, and have reconnected not only with them, but with the person I was back then.

My whole life has been a series of starting over, of getting settled somewhere, then having to move and be the new girl again. Seeing these pictures reminds me of who I was at that one moment in history, when I was for one of the only times in my life, well-adjusted. We lived in Houston, Texas, and I was about 13 years old in these pictures. We had moved to Houston from Beaumont, Texas in the middle of fifth grade, and I had to start school in March of the last year of grammar school with a bunch of kids who'd been together since kindergarten. It was fine, though, as they were all really nice kids, and my teacher was a particularly kind ex-football player, who loved to impress us by tearing the Houston white pages in half with his bare hands. I still remember being shown to his class that first day, while the students were all out at recess. He chose a desk for me which was next to a girl who he knew would be nice to me, and then he sat down beside me and kind of took me under his wing, saying "You are going to just love it here, and if anything happens that bothers you, you be sure to tell me."

The next year I went to Spring Forest Jr High School, which was right next door to Meadowwood Elementary where I had been for fifth grade. There I made a lot of new friends, and for the first time began to feel like I really belonged somewhere, like I was accepted, 'cool', able to just be, and go with whatever I felt. I remember so many little bits and pieces of those years, the trashy teenage books we read, walking to school from my house with friends, or walking home, having lunch in the cafeteria which played the cool local radio station over speakers during lunch. I still remember hearing "You're Sixteen" by Ringo Starr, "The Loco-Motion" by Grank Funk, "Rock On" by David Essex, "Hooked on a Feeling" by whoever that was ;-), "Nothin from Nothin" by Billy Preston. I remember smoking cigarettes for the first time on the back of the school bus on the way home, going to band class (where I was first chair flute for many a month) and having sleepovers and painting our fingernails crazy colors. And I remember the crushes I had on various boys, the first time I remember really thinking about the opposite sex: Karl Gruhlkey, John Mays, and the ultimate crush of all times (and quite ironic in that he and I were both shy and NEVER said a word to each other) Dennis Blaine. I was pretty, I had friends, and I loved my life.

Now I look at these images of myself and get really sad. I miss that girl, and I find myself wondering who I would have been if I had stayed in Houston instead of moving first to Pensacola, Florida, then back to Rome, Georgia. I know it's ridiculous to even go there, but I honestly think I would have been a very different person, more secure and less self-conscious, happier maybe, more myself somehow, the me who is hidden under all these damn layers.

Anyway, thanks to Sarah and Kelly and Hale for welcoming me back into the Texas fold. It is wonderful.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birfday to me

I am celebrating this year with a bunch of friends in an Irish pub, then with my kids, then with Morrissey. It's all good, except the turning 35 part...