Way back when I was 14 and my dad had been remarried for a few years, he and my stepmom were blessed with a wee bitty baby girl whom they named Sheila or, as we like to call her, Shhhhhlah (kind of like “bllllah”, but better somehow!). Shhlah was premature and, I must admit, one of the ickiest looking babies I’d ever seen – red and really wrinkly and I thought she had the hugest nose I’d ever seen (I didn’t realize baby’s grow into their noses :)) – and I was smitten from the get go. Just like all the crazy characters in my family, Shhlah didn’t disappoint. She started babbling like a brook from about three months onward and she was such an intelligent child that I often wondered if there was a wize old lady living concealed somewhere within her. Of course, she grew up in a family that didn’t believe in baby talk or hiding things from children and all of us spoke to her as though she were one of us and not the toddler that she was. This seemed to have a profound effect on the development of her vocabulary and, to this day, she has an infinitely larger vocabulary than I ever will. She hardly ever uses the word “like” either, which really, like, gets on my, like, nerves.
Here’s a pic of Shhhla when she was about three. This is my all time favorite picture of my sister because it sums up the way she looks at the world, upside down and backwards. She’s a realist and a cynic, but she also has an amazing imagination and outlook on life. This was also her favorite way to “sit” – standing on her head with her legs resting on the couch. Hilarious. She was also obsessed with The Little Mermaid during her third year of life and this could also be a reason I love her so much – I was a tad obsessed with that movie as well and we only watched it together about 150 times!!!!).
In a few aspects, Shhlah and I are very alike – creative, compassionate, funny, animal lovers, but as personalities go, we couldn’t get any farther away from each other on the scale. Where I am noisy, boisterous, energetic,high strung, passionate, extroverted and always hurrying, Shhhlah is quiet, calm, apathetic, introverted, easy going, unhurried (no, seriously, very, very unhurried) and pensive. I have no idea where she gets these personality traits from because our dad is very much like me and her mom is also a social creature. Perhaps Shhlah’s characteristics come from some of her previous incarnations, I dunno. What I do know is that she is an enigma to me and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to figure her out. I’m alright with that, though – I don’t have to understand everyone.
Last Saturday night, I dragged Shhlah out, against her will, to watch ABBA Again (an ABBA tribute band). Despite the fact that she’d never really even heard of ABBA and, despite the fact that she sat with her chin in her hand with a look of pure and absolute boredom on her face while me and my other girlfriends danced all over the place, singing our hearts out, I was ecstatic that we just had a chance to hang out. We live in the same city, about seven minutes apart on a good traffic day, but we hardly ever see each other. She’s 21, I’m 34, it’s not rocket science to see that our lives are consumed by a lot of differences. Despite the age gap and the personality differences, we still manage to enjoy each other’s company – this brings me to the reason for this post.
Shhlah reminded me of the funniest story on Saturday night and I have to share it with all of you because it’s just too good. When she was about three, I had a boyfriend who lived around the corner from my dad’s place and he had a swimming pool. Sheila was a little fish, so I would often take her over there to swim. One day, we headed over for a swim and, between splashings and play time, my boyfriend and I decided to sit on the edge of the pool while Shhlah played in the water. She was walking around the edge when she happened upon James’ cat (I believe it’s name was Fluffy and, let me tell you, it was fluffy). Shhlah had a big, fluffy cat named Max at home, so she liked cats and was used to handling them. So, neither James nor I thought anything of it when she bent to scoop up the kitty in her arms. She started talking to the cat and talking to us as she walked slowly around the edge of the pool, but then she stopped suddenly, looked over at us, smiled a crooked little evil smile and, without warning, launched the cat right into the pool. Imagine this fluffy calico cat, flying out into the water, completely submerging, only to surface, sputtering and roaring and swimming along the edge of the pool to try to find a way out. Poor kitty. And what was Shhlah doing as James jumped in to rescue his forelorn feline? She was standing there, decked out in her Little Mermaid waterwings, smiling and clapping as though it was the funniest thing she’d ever seen. I immediately scolded her for what she’d done and she started crying and, under the circumstances, I thought it would be pertinent to take her home.
Strangely enough, I’d nearly forgotten about the cat incident until she brought it up the other day and I looked through my diaries yesterday to see what I’d written about it. I laughed hysterically when I found the diary entry for that day. It reads:
August 17, 1991: Decided to take Sheila over to James’ place for a swim today. Visit didn’t last long because she threw his cat in the pool and he got really mad. When we got home and she’d stopped crying, I asked her why she’d thrown kitty into the pool and she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I wanted the kitty to go swimming with us.” I laughed and told her that cat’s don’t enjoy water and that it wasn’t a very good idea to throw James’ cat in the pool or to throw any animals in any kind of water. She frowned and said, “But Jo Jo, it seemed like a good idea to me.” Could that kid be any funnier? James is still pissed and says she’s a tad evil. Hilarious
OMG, I’m laughing out loud right now, just reading that again. And, just because I’m on the topic of my sister as a child and the ensuing hilarity, here are a few more tidbits about her.
Okay, this story isn’t exactly funny (well, it is now, but at the time I thought I’d killed her), but it’s worth mentioning. When Shhlah was just over a year old, I was holding on to her hands and feet and swinging her way up above my head and then through my legs. I swung her about three times and she was giggling hysterically and enjoying it immensely, but on the fourth swing, just as I swung her above my head, her hands slipped out of mine and, the momentum of the swinging action brought her crashing into the living room floor. I knocked the wind out of her and she stopped breathing for a sec, but at the time, I thought I’d killed her because she was turning a bit blue. Then she let out a huge wail and I knew that she was going to be okay. I was so freaked out by what had happened that I thought my dad and stepmom would kill me, so I didn’t tell them what had happened for years and years. Terrible, I know. Good thing she turned out okay…
When she was four, I had a bunch of friends over, hanging out in my room in the basement and, in her excitement to come down and visit us, she fell down the last few stairs leading to the basement and twisted her ankle. All of us stopped talking and a couple of us rushed over to see if she was okay, but she grabbed her ankle, put up her hand in a “stop” motion and said, “No, no, don’t get up. I’m okay. I’m okay.” Then she dragged herself, one stair at a time, all the way back up the stairs and down the hall to my dad and stepmom’s room and then she started crying. Her ankle swelled up and it must have been very painful, but she refused to shed even one tear in front of my friends. Tough kid.
When she was five or six, our brother Mike (who is 19 years older than Sheila) asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She thought about it for a bit and then said, “I dunno, either a butterfly or a paleontologist.” Okkkaaaaaaayyyyyy.
I just found this story in another diary and it made me laugh as well. I went out with a guy who smoked once (when Shhlah was about 10 years old) and we decided to take her and my little brother to the wildlife park. We were driving along and I was chatting away to the kids when, to my horror, he opened the window and lit up a cigarette. Shhlah put pinched her nose and said, in a totally nasaly and disintinctly chiding voice, “Yuck. No wonder your teeth are ugly and your breath is so bad.” Again, I laughed and he put the cigarette out. That relationship didn’t last very long!!!
And finally, my favorite story about my sister’s incredibly deadpan sense of humor. A few years ago, I was over at my dad’s having dinner with the family and we got onto the topic of halibut and fish and chips. Dad loves Fish & Chips and he launched into an excited and animated monologue about how he would really love to one day buy a whole Halibut from Dave (his fisherman friend) and invite the whole family up to have the biggest fish and chips cookout EVER. The speech lasted about three minutes and the second he finished talking, all smiles and excitement, Shhlah took a deep breath (just like Eeyore) and said, in the most bored voice you can imagine, “Apparently that’s dad Big Dream.” The entire family, except Sheila (who was just being her enthusiastic self) erupted in laughter. I guess you had to be there. Now, every once in awhile one of us will pipe up with a, “Dad, is that your new Big Dream?” comment and we’ll all erupt in laughter again.
Here’s a pic of my beautiful sister on the day of her graduation.
And here’s one from our trip to Disneyland with daddykins last summer!
After being reminded of the cat in the pool incident, I just had to blog about my lil sis. She is just so funny (with her dry, british-type sense of humor) that I had to share some of her with the rest of you. I hope I made you laugh at least once during this post. I plan to spend the day editing more wedding pics and will be posting an array of shots either Wednesday or Thursday. But, for now, here’s a couple more of Mandy & Graham’s reception.
Instead of standing up and giving a speech about the groom, the Best Man and his brother wrote a song about him. As you can see, by the groom’s reaction, it was fairly hilarious.
Here’s the sequence of pics for the bouquet and garter tosses.
In the next pictures, check out the immense effort the dude on the right makes to catch the garter…lol
That’s all for today, creepers. More to come.
Stay thirsty my friends.