Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This is funny ya'll

So, we are getting ready to eat supper (yeah, we say supper) and I was handing out the placemats for the table.
On two of the mats is a map of the country with some trivia and of course, the capitol for each state.

The following conversation ensued:

"Max, do you know the capitol city of Montana?"

To which my adorable, darling son replied while rolling his eyes and heaving a sigh:

"Of course I do, Momma. Everyone knows that the capitol of Montana is M."

Of course it is.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Past Expectations. Present Realizations. Future Predictions.

I found something.
Not something that was lost, but something I once considered valuable. Treasured it enough to make sure I packed it among valuable keepsakes.
I now consider it a porthole to a time in my life where I was full of innocence, dreams, the freshness of youth.

My highschool graduation dreambook. You know of which books I speak, those glossy, plastic obnoxiously colored binders that contain pages entitled "in five years, I see myself" and "by ___age I will be married and have ___children".

When I laid eyes on this book, I almost laughed out loud with glee. Along with the potent smell of the plastic, rushed forth the smell of my high school, the feelings of being a senior and feeling like all the world is at your fingertips. Like a tidal wave, it cascaded over me, flooding me with emotions and memories. Out fell various cards, envelopes and photos from that year.
Where did I see myself in ten years? Finishing med school. (oh, yeah. I remember that dream)
I would be married by 25 and have 3 children. Well, so that didn't quite play out now did it? At least the married part. As for the children I was blessed more than I thought I would be.

Looking through the photos, I found one of the friend I have lost touch with and have been trying to locate for over a year now. She and I had a close friendship back then, planned to live near one another and let our children grow up together, but didn't protect the bond from distance and life choices that carried us far away from one another, little bits at a time, yet more rapidly than we realized and too fast to hold on.
I came across the picture of my first love. The man I was engaged to when I was but a mere 17, naive' and nothing but a child. He was in the Navy and I thought he was the best thing that ever happened to me. But once again, distance changed that, he went his way through the world, we tried to hang on while he was transferred here and there across the country, but it is hard to grow a relationship when you only see one another twice a year. So, that too, fell away.
I saw staring back at me the face of a friend who died two years after graduation. She sacrificed her mind, body, and spirit to those strong forces of evil and before her passing, became a stranger to me despite our decade of friendship.
Lost in the moment now, I plowed through the lists of favorite songs, movie stars, and other superficial, yet *very important* information. Seems strange now, to ask a graduate favorite color, food, place to hang out. But, now through the eyes of a 32 year old, it is for these moments. Moments where we, as adults, get a chance to read about the things we forgot about ourselves. The things that were important to us, and are important to our children...an opportunity to remember and possibly resurrect old dreams and passions.
Holding the tassel and reading the graduation announcement, I felt her. She swept past me, wrapped her arms around me, I could hear her laughter far off in the distance. She is still there, that girl. Her dreams may have evolved, her predictions may have altered, as life tends to have it's own plans and paths of destiny. I see her when i watch my daughters play. I hear her in their little voices, as they chatter and dream about, one day, being big girls.

Reluctantly, I packed my book away in its safe place, probably to remain there for another ten years. Maybe when my children are near the age I was when i wrote it, I will bring it back out and share it. Share the person I was before I was Mommy. Because she is worth getting to know too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Best thing since sliced bread, or microwave pancakes, or squeezable jelly...you get the idea.

Little People are the best toys ever. Period.
They don't squawk, screech, light up, wail, chime, or chirp.
They require no batteries. They are totally cute.

The one thing they do require is imagination on the part of the child playing with them.
A novel concept among today's toy industry ~ toys that actually require a child to interact instead of just sit and observe.

My kids have always had these treasures, and my youngest is most interested in them right now.
Thankfully, Little People are versatile. They can go in the bathtub, outside, to bed ~ pretty much anywhere and everywhere. A quick clean-up with disinfectant and a cloth and they are good as new.

They are relatively inexpensive, can be found in any store that sells toys, and over the past few years have only undergone minor cosmetic changes, thereby not changing their appeal whatsoever.
I wish I was collecting a check for saying all of these promotional and positive things about Little People, but alas, such is not the case. I was simply compelled by reasons unexplainable to rave about my child's favorite plaything!

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Passing of time

A few days ago marked the 6-month anniversary of this fire. As you can see the two upper apartments were completely lost, the fire began in the top right apartment. Ironically, or perhaps not so, this same apartment experienced a kitchen fire not even two months prior. The bottom two were beyond repair from smoke and water damage, and of course the loss of the floor/ceiling of the upper two.
If you haven't guessed already, this is the fire that occurred in the building directly across from mine; the photo was taken from my window within days after it happened. The families have all since been relocated to other apartments within the same complex. The manager of the complex had that taken care of within a week and she earned respect among the residents for that, as it wasn't an easy feat. In communities such as this, rumors fly and accusations run rampant. The fire was said to have been caused by fireworks (it happened overnight of July 4th), but the residents all have different stories as to what they saw and heard.
Over the course of the last few months we have seen inspectors come and go, curious onlookers, news media as well as fire department personnel and law enforcement. A fence has been erected around the perimeter to keep rubbish and loose chunks from falling onto the children playing nearby as well as an attempt to keep the too-curious from climbing up and snooping around. The trees that burned have been chopped down.
No lives were lost and materials can be repurchased, so what is the problem? The problem is that the building is still sitting here. Untouched. Talk is of leveling and rebuilding from the bottom up, but no trucks or dozers have come, no men in hard hats, no surveyors. Everyday we look out our windows to see the reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye, which I am not saying is entirely a bad thing, but it does wear on one's psyche. The victims, all living nearby, must drive past this building during the course of living their daily lives. Therapeutic? I hardly think so. Our children are constantly reminded of tragedy and loss as they chase soccer balls and footballs around the courtyard. It is never far from our minds.
Perhaps this New year will bring much-needed change to our community. In more ways than one.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The very long New Year Meme thing

Inspired by Joy, whose blog I admire and look forward to reading, I am attempting to write this New Year's Meme'.
And it is going to be very long, just so ya know. You might get a neato little gold star sticker if you can actually hang in there and read all the answers, and you might just find out a little more bout me that you did not already know.
Anyway, here goes!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you had never done before?
Started this blog. Seriously bombed an interview.

2.Did you keep last year's resolutions? If not, will you make more this year?
My main goal last year was to finish school, which I did.

3.Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. No one close, although I know several women who had babies.

4.Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.

5.Did you visit any new countries?
As far as new countries go, no. Last year we did not actually travel anywhere, come to think of it. I was too busy with my last semester of school, then my internship. Before we realized it, fall was upon us and the kids were back in school. The most traveling we did was on the parkway, gazing at the beautiful fall foliage.

6.What do you want in 2008, that you lacked in 2007?
A job. A real home, not this tiny apartment in this housing community. A van. Very materialistic, though it sounds.

7.What dates in 2007 are etched in your memory forever?
August 3rd. My graduation from WCU.

8.What was your biggest achievement of the year?
See number seven.

9. What was your biggest failure of 2007?
That would be second-guessing myself. When it really mattered.

10.What as the best thing I bought in 2007?
That would have to be, hands down, my participation ticket for the 10K in the Charlotte Racefest in April. I plundered my way through but dammit I finished and it felt way too good. On the air was floating the fragrance of spring blossoms, the streets were lined with majestic houses and tall beautiful trees with leaves the palest of new green. And I was with my brother who I must mention is an avid runner. He took the time and patience to stay right there with me, encouraging me when I would have quit for sure if I had been by myself. As I approached the finish line I felt a burst of energy like nothing else I have ever felt before. Suddenly, I could do it. I was the run. It was phenomenal.

11.Whose behavior merited celebration?
The man who ran into the burning building to save his grandma, who was still inside sleeping as the building was ablaze. Courage unparalleled, in my opinion. I am of course, referring to the fire that occurred in the building directly across from mine last July 4th, and the dramatic scene that unfolded in front of my eyes that fateful night.

12.Whose behavior appalled and disgusted you?
My children's father, who failed to see them at all the entire year, marking the second full year of his absence from their lives.
Also, my own behavior from time to time astonished me--I can be very self-absorbed it seems.

13. What song will remind you of 2007?
Well, for me, a music fanatic, this question is impossible to answer with simply one song. I am the kind of music fiend that latches onto a certain song for a period of time, then moves onto another one. I listen to certain types of music depending on my mood. To exercise, I want something slightly aggressive, but not rude or immoral. To unwind, I like older music, some jazz or even eighties music. Bluegrass is a great genre choice for warm summer evenings sitting on the porch drinking sweet tea and relaxing with mouth-watering BBQ only yards away. So, for me, to narrow it down to one song is simply undoable. I did enjoy Natasha Beddingfield's Unwritten quite a lot, though I must admit.

14. What do you wish you had done more of in 2007?
Hugging my children. Playing with my children--immersing myself completely in their world of imagination and endless possibilities.
Stomach crunches.

15. What do you wish you had done less of?
Geez. That is a toughie. Probably yelling at my kids. Looking in the mirror and criticizing. Complaining about things I cannot change.

16. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Also a tough one for me to answer, for reasons I will leave unexplained for now. Feelings are tough things to sort through and understand. Falling in love might mean something entirely different now to me than it did when i was twenty. Or not. I just do not know. And I have made peace with that...for now.

17. What was your favorite TV program?
Can't choose. Survivor. The Closer. One reality. The other crime drama with a southern flair--very entertaining in a slightly addictive kind of way.

18. What was the best book you read?
The Game of Life by Florence Shinn.

19. What would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
Realizing at the beginning of the year instead of the end that our patterns drive our behavior. They make our choices for us until we begin to realize this and take over the controls of our own life.

20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Non-existent. I wear what is comfortable. I paint my toenails, but cannot stand to have my fingernails painted. I do not own high heels, pumps, or the like. I have not purchased make-up in 13 years. I am What not To Wear 's nightmare. That ain't seen nothin' yet!

21. What kept you sane?
Evening coffee with my Mother, the wisest woman on earth. And she can cook too.

22. Who do you miss?
Tiffany. My best friend in high school. We lost touch seven years ago and I cannot locate her.

23. Who was the best new person you met?
Well, with that question, I realize that I did not get out much at all last year. The best person I met was the Social Worker who let me shadow her all summer in the Investigations unit at the county DSS where I did 280 hours of internship for class credit before graduation. She was so unbelievably patient, allowing my blunders and not making me feel bad or stupid, or that I should already know it. She gave me errands to run that taught me something, she helped fill my time there each day with constructive activity, she always let me ride along on home visits and appointments so I could get some field training. She taught me how to run the copier-printer-fax-do-everything-except-make-coffee machine.
All of this was done, I might add, of her own volition. My supervisor was the equivalent of a wet mop ~ having no itinerary for me, no agenda at all. I think I saw her three times all summer.

24. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned.
Easy. Do not trust jobs that come through Career builder, even though their website may appear authentic and real. Even though they have real contact addresses. Even though they say that they have read and reviewed your resume'. No, seriously, the moral of the story is that things are not always as they appear, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it is usually. Valuable lesson learned. Yep, got that one loud and clear people.

25. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

This is from Kenny Rogers song The Greatest.
(verse three) boy has already thrown the ball up and tried to bat many times, missing each and every one.
Adjusts his hat, tries again.
Ball goes up
Moon so bright
swings his bat with all his might
the world is still as still can be
the baseball falls and that's strike three

now it is supper time and his mama calls
boys starts home with his bat and ball
says "I am the greatest, that is a fact
but even I didn't know
I could pitch like that"

says "I am the greatest
that is understood
but even I didn't know
I could pitch that good."

I think that song is so representative of how we can choose to look at things. The little boy chose to walk home a champion, not a loser, in the way he interpreted the situation. That is how I plan to look at 2008. With hope, enjoyment and the desire to achieve.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 100!

It is official. I have joined the club. Along with New Year 2008 I can celebrate my 100th post!

One hundred entries of my life, some sad, some ranting and raving, some longing and painful, many happy ~ read by friends and family.
I enjoy being a part of this new family ~ you, my bloggy friends who read about my life, whose lives touch me and I enjoy reading about, who care enough to stop by and share a virtual moment or two, who come to visit me often and leave me with comforting and encouraging thoughts, helpful hints or opinions. I appreciate each and every one of you and have learned a lot from you and your own blog writing.

Earning the top slot of my Resolution list this year, after some toggling with the more normal and very boring promises one makes at the start of a new year, is the promise to myself to become a better writer ~ more learned, more expressive. I have always had a passion for reading and writing, and I am going to devote a part of each day in this new year to enhancing that part of myself, to strengthening and nurturing the ability to write the words I know are inside my soul. Hey, maybe it will take the place of my chocolate fix each day...yeah, I don't think so either.

Did you make any out-of-the-ordinary resolutions for yourself this year?