Coast to Coast: The DeJohns
When we were growing up we lived two streets over from our cousins, Tricia, Jennifer, Stephen and Colleen DeJohn. We were always back and forth between houses and they were basically like our older siblings. Though we don’t get to spend as much time with them these days as we’d like, we love them so much and are all still very close. Today’s Coast to Coast post is a three-parter and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Thanks cousins!!
Colleen: What are you planning for Rocco’s birthday since he’s turning 10 (and entering double digits is a big deal)?
Tricia: We are planning an extravaganza, of course! We usually do a joint birthday party with both of his families and invite everyone–his entire class and our neighbors and so many other friends. It is a zoo and quite a front-end production for me. I wanted to create something different this year. So, for his 10th, his other mom and I are taking Rocco and 3 friends to Great Wolf Lodge in Washington. It is an indoor water park and hotel and it looks like great fun. I always want to do a separate thing with him, too, so later in the summer I will take him and some kids and other adult friends and we will go to a Treesort! It is in southern Oregon and you actually sleep in tree houses. It’s very fun.
Colleen: Do you guys have any trips planned in the coming months? If so, where, when, what, etc.?
Tricia: Funny you should ask that. Just last night Janice was saying she really really wants to go on a trip. We discussed Las Vegas for 3 nights or a weeklong trip/cruise to Alaska. I am up for either one and we were thinking of planning it for July.
Colleen: What are you most looking forward to now that the brutal winter is VERY SLOWLY starting to thaw?
Tricia: Our winter in Eugene has been different from yours, to say the least. Let’s put it this way: every single day in February was blue skies, sunny and around 60 degrees, give or take a few. Bees were actually pollinating my camellia tree outside the kitchen window on January 30th. Even though this weather is gorgeous, it is also scary to think about how hot summer will be, or how hot 2025 will be, and how hot our Earth is getting…
Colleen: What new recipes are you perfecting or sharing?
Tricia: Oh boy, good question! I get a CSA box every couple of weeks so that drives a lot of my home cooking. I just made a delicious potato soup with lots of onion and cheese thrown in. For Easter at our neighbors house, I made a delicious roasted asparagus in walnut oil with garlic, parsley and fresh lemon squeezed (not ‘squoze’, side note) on top. YUM! My friends Cheryl and Ben and their kids are coming over for dinner this weekend and I am preparing a Moroccan feast! I will make Bisteya, plus a chickpea and sweet potato dish as well as a zucchini dish. Cheryl is bringing dessert. I am excited for it!
Colleen: Have you been binge-watching House of Cards, Bloodline and Kimmy Schmidt (or any other Netflix series)? if so, what do you think?
Tricia: House of Cards is so February 2015! Done. We are binge watching Inside Amy Schumer and she is hilarious! I’m kind of digging Backstrom on Hulu because it is odd and crime drama-y. Because Janice has never watched Entourage, I am re-watching that with her disc by disc and we are on season 3. It is one of my all time favorite shows and I cannot wait for the movie to come out.
PS I’ve never heard of Kimmy Schmidt or Bloodline. Should I?
Tricia: What is the very best thing about living near Mom and Dad as they age?
Jen: I am happy that they are a part of my daily life. I feel fortunate to be able to help them now as they get older as they always helped us growing up.
Tricia: You’re a hometown girl and have lived in Cleveland almost all of all your life. If you ever think about living somewhere else, where would that be?
Jen: Definitely, in a warm climate near a beach! While I’ve not made it to Hawaii YET, I imagine that is a place I would be very happy!
Tricia: What are you reading right now that is really stimulating?
Jen: Do People and US Magazine count? Just kidding! I’m currently reading The Girl on the Train for book club. It’s a New York Times Bestseller. I’m not very far but it’s getting rave reviews.
Tricia: What feelings come up for you as our parents put the Nicholson house on the market?
Jen: It’s interesting because when mom and dad first moved out of the Nicholson house, I was pretty sad. It was our childhood home and held so many wonderful memories. After most of their stuff was out, I went back in and everything but the basement was empty and I burst into tears. Lately, since we are finishing up cleaning out the basement, I feel like “get it done and over with.” This has taken so long and it has been frustrating at times. I do hope a young family buys it and finds as much happiness there as we did.
Tricia: As a recent entrant into your 40s, what do you know about yourself that you did not know when you were in your 20s or 30s?
Jen: Probably the biggest thing I learned about myself is that I actually really like alone time. I never thought I would as we were always surrounded by people growing up and I was reticent to live alone. Turns out, sometimes all the commotion is too much for me and I need to be alone and have quiet around me. I still LOVE all the get togethers and family time and fun but I also need a balance of alone time.
Jen: What surprises/fascinates/frustrates you about Cleveland since you moved back?
Colleen: I am not sure this surprises me but what frustrates me is how conservative it is for what is supposed to be a liberal town. I’ve found that even those that self-identify as liberal still have a lot of conservative views. I am just too liberal for this town. In NYC there was no question cuz it is Liberal-land USA but here it is much different. Is it weird that I am taking a strange delight and uber-excitement about putting up a Hillary sign in my yard when the time comes?! Just to piss off the neighbors!!!
Jen: What are your summer plans?
Colleen: Not too much excitement. We’ve been bouncing around the idea of going Chicago cuz Tansy invited us to stay with them but we’re having a hard time finding the right weekend. We’re looking forward to swimming lessons with the girls–it’s something nice to do as a family when Paul gets home from work on a hot summer evening. We are most def looking forward to Huron! Kendall asked if we could move there!!!
Jen: What is your favorite thing about living back in Cleveland?
Colleen: I love living the suburban life for so many reasons. It’s just easier and simpler than when we lived in NYC–don’t get me wrong, I miss NY something crazy. But we’ve really developed a nice life here and are continually making friends and integrating into our adopted community.
Jen: Do you ever think about getting back in to acting/theater locally? What is your dream role?
Colleen: YESYESYES! I have toyed with this idea since we moved back here. I really want to. I think when the kids are this small, it is hard because the evenings and weekends in acting are so demanding and I am not ready to be away from them for long stretches but when they’re a little older, I’d love to get back into community theater. I haven’t done anything since 2003. It’s been too long. As for my dream role, well, since I can’t sing, I won’t say some fabulous role like Elphaba from Wicked or Maureen from Rent (though I can belt the hell out of “Take Me Baby or Leave Me”) or someone from Cabaret or Chicago. But I would love to play a larger than life comedic role in a straight play, maybe even someone from Shakespeare. I realize that isn’t that specific but it’s been a minute since I was up on good, meaty roles for women in theater.
Jen: What is one goal for your family for 2015?
Love this…getting to know cousins better!