Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sibling Rivalry

I read a book a few years back (chick-lit, for shame) in which the protagonist, a Philly newbie, remarked on how "Philadelphia was the type of place where the local newscasters were major celebrities." Growing up, I thought nothing of the fact that Lisa Thomas-Laury, Dave Roberts, and "the entire Action 6 news team" were household names. I vividly remember eating dinner in front of the television (a huge no-no in the Kelly home) one night, seeing my mom tear up as she watched the news about Jim O'Brien dying. I also remember going to Houlihan's by St. Joe's during college, in hopes of running into John Bolaris (who ALLEGEDLY ate lunch there.) And when our bus would take us back down City Line from a field hockey game, we would all hang out the window and screech for the weather forecaster who reported from outside the studio.

In the family of major east coast cities (with New York being the successful if rather self-important first son, Boston the cranky grandfather, and D.C. the dad who's always away on a business trip), what is Philly? Perhaps the brother who never went to college, is enormously talented at what he does, but never gives himself credit. Instead, he's content to lay around and bask in the glory days of high school.

Philadelphia is a city obsessed with its past. Rightfully so--it is oozing with rich, solid history. Yet unlike its founding fathers, who were always marching towards the future, its current citizens (and suburban denizens--because, let's face it, anyone within a 50-mile radius tends to refer to themselves as "from Philly"--including yours truly!) love, love, LOVE to wax nostalgic. We're like a collective Willy Loman; "woulda coulda shoulda" is our mantra. (Can you tell I'm teaching Death of a Salesman this week?)

Don't get me wrong--I adore Philly (and my dear old Delco). And I tend to have a silly little chip on my shoulder, having lived away for so long. But, like any good writer (as sporadic as that might be), I enjoy a love/hate relationship with my homebase.

My sister and I have a favorite pasttime of putting on bad Philly accents and concocting the typical Philly fam as follows:
Jim (but everyone calls him Jimmy) - big ol' sunburnt Irish guy, spiked blond hair, white sleeveless T-shirt, cutoff jeans, runs a "landscapin' compnee" and is a volunteer firefighter (tattoo: shamrock)
Denise - tanned to a crisp, halo of frosted blonde hair (which is always half-up in a fluorescent scrunchie), tight tank top, stretchy pants, Reeboks, extra scrunchie around the wrist (just in case), raspy voice (from the daily pack of Parliaments) tattoo: Tazmanian Devil ('cuz she's so CRAAAZY!)
Two non-descript kids with names like Tyler and Brianna (always dressed in various Disney paraphernalia--Brianna is especially partial to her bedraggled "Belle" dress)

You get the picture. (Or pitcher, as we like to say down here.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Excuse For Not Blogging...

He's a pretty freakin' cute excuse, huh?

I had grand plans of blogging all about childbirth, the blissful first few months of motherhood, the joys of nursing, all that good stuff...but truth be told, there were days it was a huge, huge triumph just to get through the day in one piece and find five minutes to shower.

Oh, and remember that pie-in-the-sky blog about moving to PA for a pastoral change of pace? Well, we did it, but boy was it a stressful trip getting here! House-hunting, job-hunting, countless trips to PA with a newborn in tow...we're finally all settled into our cute little house in blessed suburbia, and I feel like I can finally BREATHE after a year.

So "the Teege" is amazing...just the happiest little boy in the world. He truly is a Superbaby. :) All the cliches they say about parenthood are true. It's a fairytale like no other. The first three months are HARD AS HELL, full of self-doubt, loneliness, and frustration, but the payoff is incredible.

Life is good. I'm back in the classroom, where I'm happiest. Teaching at a private girls' academy, where every day I fear I'll say something to get myself fired. ;) I'm not teaching drama or directing shows, which is a bummer, but it's also a beautiful luxury to leave at a normal hour--so I can go home and hang out with my boys.

We miss New York more than we thought we would...especially when we see it on TV (where, of course, NYC is always this magical wonderland of bistros and gorgeous people and carriage rides through Central Park...instead of urine-scented subway stations, maniacal cabbies, and people slammed up against each other in every direction.) We miss our friends, students and coworkers. We miss our reputations. We miss our schools.

But we don't miss the commute, the noise, our crappy neighborhood, and throwing tons of money away on rent. That's for damn sure.

Almost every morning (as I DRIVE to work now, passing horse surreal), I cue up "One Thing" by Finger Eleven on my iPod. It's really become my anthem for this year, ever since the Teege entered our lives:

Restless tonight
Cause I wasted the light
Between both these times
I drew a really thin line
It’s nothing I planned
And not that I can
But you should be mine
Across that line

If I traded it all
If I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out
If I knew all about this one thing
Wouldn’t that be something

I promise I might
Not walk on by
Maybe next time
But not this time
Even though I know
I don’t want to know
Yeah I guess I know
I just hate how it sounds

My Teege. He's "this one thing."

Sometimes I'll stop for a minute and think, "What am I forgetting? I feel like I'm missing something." And then I check in with myself and realize, "Oh wait...this is what peace feels like." It's such a new feeling...but one I think I can get used to. :)