Monday, February 21, 2011

the sounds that take one back to Utica, KS

Since Aaron is in radio, voices and sounds play a major role in his life (and my default, mine as well). It's not uncommon experience for us to be out and about and someone either comments to Aaron that he should be in radio or ask him why his voice is so familiar. If you want to get a great listen to how sexy he can be, listen in on him while he's reading at mass with St. Isodore's. It's amazing. Truly, amazing. I have to look away, because I'm giggling like a school girl. On one of our early dates in the relationship, someone poked their head across the aisle at Valentino's and told Aaron he should be in radio. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he actually is, in radio. This has got me thinking about the voices and sounds we hear and the memories that correlate when we do. The passing of my maternal grandfather has really brought this topic to the front of my thoughts.

When Mom and Dad would trek us out to Grandma and Grandpa Landwehr's house in the country between Arnold and Utica, Kansas, I remember the mornings so vividly. They didn't get shit for radio service out there, except for an AM station out of McCook, Nebraska. You know that transmitter sound that AM radio makes that reminds you more of a UFO than modern broadcasting? This station was horrible. I mean, their farm was two miles south, I'm sure they wouldn't get the service for it. Grandpa would get up early, God only knows how early, and sit at the head of the table listening to the radio (fuzz, if you want to be specific). The station had a birthday contest daily. They'd pull three random letters and want people to call in if they had those initals; they were always odd like "ZVW" or "QTZ". Grandpa would repeat the initials for everyone at the breakfast table and ask if anyone had those initials. Seriously, Grandpa? We're all family. I'm pretty sure our last names either begin with "L" or "B". But, it didn't matter. He'd always ask and we'd always say "Nope! Not this time!" The older I got, the more annoyed I'd get. I mean, come ON! When you're little, you don't usually put two and two together. They had linoleum throughout their whole house, which was AWESOME with all the sticker plants out there, anyways. They had these two yap dogs, Freckles and Tip. I can hear their toenails tapping on the floor as if they were out there as if it were yesterday.

Oh, lord and their TV set up is one for stories. They had two TVs, right next to each other. Grant it, I'm not one to poke fun at people and their TVs, as my parents have their huge flat screen right on TOP of their old school Zenith TV. Anyways, they had two TVs and the satellite dish in their backyard could have started off the Cold War, if they pointed it right (thing was freaking huge). You could not touch their remotes, because they had it so rigged and set that even they probably couldn't figure it out. Somehow, they did. And their hearing may not be considered the best. Going to bed at Grandpa and Grandma Landwehr's sucked. I didn't take Ambien at age 10, so the blaring loud sound would keep us up for hours in the sewing room, where Mel and I would sleep. We'd complain to Mom and she'd just say to try and ignore it. Yeah, Mom. I'll ignore it just as soon as I ignore a sonic jet from blasting.

I won't continue down western Kansas memory lane, for the sake of your boredom.

Just take a moment to remember those memories with grandparents and the sounds that will always take you back to 10 years old and matching polyester sets and red beer. I'll always blame you for that addiction, Grandpa. The bars in Manhattan say "Thank you"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Not your typical vday blog

Happy Valentines Day to you all! As my single readers browse through this, I'm sure their defensive wall is already starting to be built over the frustration with this holiday. Rest assured, my lovelies, the focus on this is not against the bitterness that resounds on this day or the extreme love and gratitude I find in Aaron. The focus is on the gift of love from a grandparent who has lived 89 years and is slowly inching toward his final home.

My maternal grandpa is nearing his final stretch of life on this temporary earth. About a week and half ago, he took a nasty fall from his recliner into his wheelchair. Ten years ago, roughly, the decision was made to move him to the assisted living home in Halstead. It's a classy version of a nursing home and has been a great experience for our family. The fall was pretty solid, because he had the need to be placed on stronger pain medications. It was decided to bring in Hospice, twice a day, to administer pain medications for him.

Hospice. I hear that word and in my mind, death is already knocking at the door. And it has been, for 89 years.

Grandpa married my mother's mother over 55 years ago (I'm estimating, as I know that Mom is 53(?) and she's the youngest). My mother's mother passed away when Mom was two years old from breast cancer. Grandpa was left with 3 young girls, under the age of 10. It was not a shock when Grandmother passed; medical technology was not at all what we enjoy today. Her final years were intense beyond anyone can imagine. Mom and her two sisters were living in Wichita, KS with Grandpa's brother (Uncle Lee) and his wife (Aunt Irene) for the final duration of Grandmother's life. After grandmother's passing, grandpa remarried the sister of Aunt Irene. He had met Rose years prior, obviously, at Uncle Lee and Aunt Irene's wedding, etc. They all grew up around the same area (Andale and St. Mark's area). Grandma Rose made the move with Grandpa back to the poultry farm in western Kansas (Utica area). In short, BFE.

Rose was now the step-mother to three girls who had experienced helluva an emotional ride. Time would march on like it always does. Grandpa and Grandma Rose made the decision to adopt, however they wanted to adopted Catholic children and they vowed to never break up a family. A family of five children were discovered in Florida and without question, they boarded the plane with five extra one way tickets. Their lives had changed. Forever. These children needed a home with love and support, and that is what they were blessed with.

The transition was not easy and not always fun for mom and her sisters. Scarifies were made; Mom could not attend high school athletic events, for example, because that would mean someone would need to pick her up. Mom was the youngest of the three girls, so the changes and adjustments are most vivid for her. I'll say this about my mother: she's patient to a fault and that was a grace given to her by her mother, I believe, because she knew that Mom would need it in the coming years.

Bringing this back to the point of love and flowers and doves, talk about love. Grandpa and Grandma Rose showed a deep commitment to love by graciously adopting that family. Valentines Day is not always about your dreamy boyfriend or dedicated hubby. Or the kid in Natural Disasters that you're consistently stalking. It's about true love, regardless the circumstances.

So keep that in mind, as you're rolling your eyes at a florist van pulling up to your place of work. Pick up the phone and call your mom or dad. Or Grandparents. Celebrate the life that we're given and the fact that we can love without limits.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

load the wagons

I'm going to pack up my things and gonna head out west

The rest of those lyrics escape me, unless I google them. Which I won't. Point still stands. I am going to move out west. With Aaron, of course. Is it odd that I envision our move like an episode of "Little House on the Prairie", where we load up our wagon with a cowhide tarp and take off for the sunset, as our city slicker friends wave good bye with their overpriced Starbucks coffee mugs and pricey take out?

"LHOTP" is my favorite show of all time. This is the only show I can watch over and over and over and over. Usually, if I see one episode of a show, I won't re-watch it. Ever. I am not joking at all when I say that I desperately wish I could spend one day of Laura Ingalls Wilder. My own mother is much like Caroline Ingalls, patient and soft spoken, while Charles is just as similar to Dad. Daddy is fiercely loyal to the Church (for a moment, we'll pretend that the Ingalls' were Catholic) and family is Dad's guiding rod. Maybe I am being a romantic to this time frame of life. I fully realize that back in 19th century Minnesota, there were no straightening irons or LASIK surgery. I'd be stuck with thick thick THICK glasses and probably would have ended up single forever like Eliza Jane Wilder. Maybe. Moving on. We're moving and we'll have to replace the team of horses with Aaron's Dodge Avenger and my Honda Accord.

Aaron's going to be going back toh is hometown to farm with his brother and his dad will be, eventually, retiring. In true farmer form, who knows when Will will honestly lay down the power/authority solely to Aaron and Mark. However, we'll be out there regardless. It's going to be scary, anxious, exciting, nerve-wracking, challenging, frustrating, and life. The Manhattan ammentieis that I enjoy now, will not be there. I won't be able to run over to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to pick up K-Cups after work. If I want to grab a cocktail after a stressful day at work, I'll be sitting next to the town drunks and by 8:00, everyone will know that "That girl from Kansas who's dating Aaron Leiker" is boozing. If we feel like fish in a bowl in MHK, we're going to feel like a sideshow freak show out there.

But, that will pass and it'll be old news that Aaron Leiker is moving back from the "big" city with some girl he met and was married to within a year. That's the thing about small town gossip, it passes. No one really forgets, though. It's just that bigger news comes out with the passing of time.

I just need to make sure that I hide all my LHOTP costumes and bonnets.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MOH speech preperations...

Oh, the directions a maid of honor speech can go. Mel is getting married on March 5 and I am serving as her maid of honor. I've been to dozens of weddings and catered even more when I worked for Bockers 2 Catering (Manhattan). I've heard a jillion of MOH speeches and some borderline epistle readings from these women. I never really thought much about them, prior to now. I would half listen and zone in and out. Majority of the time, I would zone in on the bar and estimate how much more time until they run out of booze...... During my single times, I would give the "Oh, this is so boring" roll of the eyes and try to connect with my hopeful next dancemate across the floor. Probably, in all honesty, it was more Monica's drunk eye (the raised left eyebrow) coming out as I imagine that I am looking much better than I truly do. You never really think much of the MOH speech, until it's your sister. And you're the MOH. And the pressure mounts.

I have the benefit of being the oldest of the family and with this older title, comes a touch of bossiness that is natural. Totally natural, I would argue. This bossy-trait also leads one to "may" appear to steal the spot light from her sisters, as I may OR may not be accused of, in the past. In the past, being the key phrase. For some mature reason, I have found myself shying away from the attention, lately. I blame Aaron. Anyways, back to my speech writing hang up.

There are so many directions that I could go with this speech. I could go serious. I could go hilarious. I could holier-than-though. I could go preachy. But, one thing I have to keep it: short. From my experiences, the longer the speech: the more people tune you out and are seriously wondering when Joe B's bar tab is going to run out. I love my sister. I adore my sister. I envy my sister (especially now that she's getting in Wedding Skinny Girl mode...bitch w/Michelle Obama arms.....) But, I am pretty sure everyone can decipher and figure that out, seeing that 1) she's my sister 2) she asked me to be the MOH. There are so many things I want to say to her, but I need to keep in mind that I'll see her again. Hell, after we move, we'll be two short hours from her and Mason (oh, you didn't hear? We're moving, anyways).

Last night, I found myself thinking of all the little stories we have growing up. I really should put a notepad next to my bed for these late night memory lane trips. The countless sitting in the corner episodes chanting "Can we get up now?" in a sing song voice. Mom writing on the calender "Mo: Window" then "Me:Window". Having the window seat in the dining room was a big deal for us growing up. You don't even know. Switching off of our snacks from apples/chz (what Mel liked) to apples/pb (what my fat ass loved). Wearing tee shirts on our heads, acting like that was our long hair. I could go on, but I want to save some sort of build up for the wedding :) I look at my younger sisters and I wonder if they have the sentimental memories growing up, that Mel and I have. I guess we'll find out at Jacinta's wedding.

good lord.