T has been home 3 months today! I literally cannot believe it. In someways it seems like we were just in Vladivostok a couple weeks ago. My friend Pam has just arrived in Vlad today for her first trip - so please keep her in your thoughts this week!
A new nickname has steadily crept up on us. The kids at daycare started calling her Tati (pronounced "ta-tee") - and it's stuck. I actually like it and SHE can say it (unlike Tatiana at this point!). It's funny when someone calls her Tania it sounds weird to me now.
The outfit above was a present from Gramma and Grampa. She calls it her "babybug" shirt. I about wet my pants when she said it. Her toothbrush also has 3 painted ladybugs on it and she points to them now and says "babybug". Tooooo cute.
My question of the day - and this will be old news for those of you on facebook - is: the ears, to pierce now or not to pierce now. Thoughts? This was a VERY controversial topic on facebook when I asked - and great points were made on both sides. I still don't know which way I am leaning.
Finally, I want to comment on the events of last week. This will likely also be somewhat controversial, and that's ok. I believe that freedom of speech and listening to other's opinions is what makes our country strong. So here it is.... Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson was a part of my life for a LONG time. In the early and teen years, I will admit that he played a huge role. Looking back I can tie some very specific GREAT memories around MJ. Starting with Nikki Loseth's 4th grade birthday party (what is that about 10 yrs old?). Nikki got Michael Jackson's "The Wall" album for her birthday and I remember dancing and singing in her basement to the music for hours. I got a new hairbrush for a party gift that day and thought I was the BOMB. Michael Jackson and new brush - now that's a party. It was a party to judge future parties upon. Sadly, Nikki passed away in her late 20's from a lifelong battle with diabetes. We had lost touch after high school, but I always remember her, her party and "The Wall" fondly. They go hand in hand to me.
I had known Michael Jackson before that - but I think that birthday was my eye opening to music that was uniquely my own NOT my parents. And so my love for Michael Jackson grew. The next year, I started taking dance classes at Toni's Studio in Mt. Pleasant. That was the name of the joint "Toni's Studio" - no joke. My good friend Carrie who you've all heard about (mother of the adorable Mary) and I danced our performance routine to MJ's "You Got Me Workin Day & Night". It was chosen for us, but I LOVED it.
In 8th grade "Thriller" came out. My family lived out of town on a lake, so we DIDN'T have cable
Fast forward ahead to my freshman year in High School. Good ole MPHS. I tried out for the Flagline with the Marching Band and made it. I was 1 of 10 "Flag Girls" - 3 of which were my new friends The Bettisworth triplets (Kara, Kim & Kris) in the class above me. At the time, I was often mistaken for "the 4 Bettisworth" some people thought I was their younger sister. I was thrilled with these new friends as we had a LOT of the same interests - flags, Tiger/Teen Beat magazine and yes, Michael Jackson. We were fervent fans. VERY LOYAL. Kim was probably the most loyal at the time, even sporting a "PYT" t-shirt, but in all honestly, we knew every word to every song. And most of the dance moves too.
As high school progressed, so did our love for MJ. BAD was just as emotional for us than the rest. We loved it and listened to it non-stop. By this time we were in "cassette" mode - and the fancy folks were starting to get CDs... but I think I bought BAD in record format in order to get "the big pictures" on the cover. The class above me even reproduced "We Are the World" at their spaghetti supper fundraiser their senior year.
Even in college, I stayed in touch with the Bettisworth's (they at MSU and me at CMU) and we continued to share our love of MJ. While the new albums didn't move us like when we were a little younger, there was no doubting the brilliance of songs like "Man in the Mirror" and "Black or White".
And then the dark days. I remember back to the first accusations of child molestation in the mid-90s. I didn't want to believe it. This was my childhood idol. My Michael Jackson, whose songs were so great. I wanted to believe it was an overzealous family out to get some of his millions $$ for themselves. I had myself convinced. Until the charges kept coming and there was another major case in the recent years. It was almost too much smoke to NOT have some fire.
I don't know what happened behind closed doors. The interviews he did about "sharing beds" with children severely creeped me out. Part of me says that it's not for me to judge him that's between him and god - however, I also say that if this was ANYONE other than one of my idols, of course I would judge him! Who wouldn't??
I do know that he had a strange life. Little to no childhood friends, reclusiveness, addiction to plastic surgery and likely painkillers. Fame does strange things to people. That's no excuse for child molestation - and I can't overlook it. Many people are highly frustrated by the high amounts of media coverage this event has received when there are greater issues currently in the world: Iran's voter problems and riots, Afghanistan and wars in Iraq. I get it. But last Thursday I lost a big piece of my childhood. It's not that I still worshipped him. But I will always remember my childhood and my love for MJ.