Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going Back in Time

In a few short days all 5 of us are piling in the car and driving 12 hours (yes, 12, but divided between 2 days) north to here....

....Williamsburg Virginia.  Above is the house of John Blair, whose grandson or great-grandson, James Blair, was the first president of William and Mary college.  My best friends alma mater.

We decided to torture the children with learning on their summer vaca so we're going to do the historical thing.  We'll see this:

one of the working cottages in colonial Williamsburg.  And since it's the 4th of July holiday while we're there we for sure will see this:

 I'm very stoked to have all of my children together on this vacation - since i know that in the blink of an eye they will all be grown, and have families of their own, and these all-for-one vacations will be limited.  

I just hope we don't kill each other in the car trip up.  Wish us luck!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Day in My Life - yesterday, to be exact.

On Walker's door.  
My dad bought it for him on a Home Depot trip, along with a restroom sign that is now stuck to the middle of his bathroom door.  
They think they're funny, those two.  
When i went in to wake him up, he didn't even open an eyeball. 
Just pointed to the sign and said " I believe I said I'd be back at 8:30".  
Smarty pants.

 Behind my car seat.  
What, doesn't everyone drive around with an electric hedge trimmer and miles of cord?

Trying to catch a wasp in the house.
There are no other words.
It is what it is.
My hibiscus that is just out of control right now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

About My Dad

In honor of what this day is really about, I started thinking about all of the things my daddy taught me.  Mind you, sometimes these lessons were not learned on the first go-around.  Poor dad.  I think he is probably thankful that he had only one of me.
  • How to light a fire.  And why opening the flue is important.  After i set off the fire alarm.
  • How to mow the grass.  He said it was character-building - i said it was so he could watch the race.  I'm sure it was some of both.  But now I love working in the yard.
  • How to drive a car.  On a dirt road in the middle of an orange grove, on a stick, in a Pinto.  The absolute best part - I was 12.  We kept it a secret from my mom for awhile. I can't believe we had a Pinto.
  • How to water ski.  Which, his method I'm sure, could be called into question in this day and age.  I was around 5 (he liked to start things early obviously) and I remember floating around in Lake Butler crying because I just knew an alligator was going to have me for lunch and dad said, "If you want out of the water, start skiing".
  • How to drive a boat so HE could water ski.  This, this he paid for.  One time he was standing on the dive platform on the back of the boat, trying to fish a ski out of the weeds, when he told me to inch the boat up some.  Instead, I jerked it forward and he flew off the back in the weeds.  I laughed, he did too.
  • How to shoot a gun.  We had land, so learning to shoot was on our own property.  I immediately fell in love with it.  Scared the bejeezus out of my mother.
  • How to fish.  This is without a doubt one of my favorite things to do to this day.  I love the fact that my boys love it.  Mostly, I love the quiet.  All moms love quiet.
  • How to sew. Yes, sew. Go figure.
  • How to use a nail gun without killing myself.
  • How to use a chop saw.
  • How to use a circular saw.
  • How to do minor electrical stuff, like wiring new outlets and hanging lights and ceiling fans.
  • How to refinish furniture without taking my skin off.
  • How to read blueprints.
  • How to read if a sub-contractor or a contractor, for that matter, is lying.
  • How to find my way around Home Depot.
  • How to install a garbage disposal.
  • How to use a wet saw.
  • How to lay tile.
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • Sometimes the garage is the safest place to be, or the best place to work out anger, sadness, or overall angst. Or hide. Sometimes you have to hide.
  • Mistakes are lessons to NOT do something that way again. It's ok - it can be redone.
  • You're probably going to know more about building and fixing things than any man you date. That's ok, don't rub it in, but if he won't at least TRY - let THAT be your lesson.
  • Home Depot or Lowes CAN lower prices on stuff, JUST ASK. It's your money, you're the only one who can protect it.
  • Girls are often better than boys at this stuff because we're THOROUGH.
  • Don't ever let a tradesman talk down to you - you've learned from the best :)
  • Some jobs are better left to the professionals. Know when.
  • Get at least 3 quotes.
  • Cheapest is just that - you get what you pay for.

My dad was often teased that he wanted a boy instead of a girl because of everything he made me learn. I don't believe that's at all true, I think he just wanted to spend time with me, and i with him. I know I learned so much more than what i listed - but it's the memories of us together while learning those things that will stay with me forever. I love you Dad.

Friday, June 10, 2011

10 on 10

I'm doing that 10 on 10 thing today....except - this is awesome - i have no idea who started it.  I know my VBFF does it...except she is mysteriously silent today..... and i'm also joining the women at the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday - as this 10 on 10 idea did "inspire" me to use that expensive camera more. Ten pics on the 10th of the month.  This has been a great way to archive memories - without getting too burdened down with scrapbooking. we go!

I think I should call this "Sun rise through dirty window" - but i didn't want to stop and clean the window before i capture the gorgeous color of the morning.  I love this time of day.

 "You had better have good reason for waking me tuna...not that dry crap you've been feeding me."

One of us graduated from elementary school!! One of us felt tortured sitting through the ceremony.
We played the last baseball game of the season, got our trophy bats and celebrated with good friends.
We put together fancy straws....
....and got cute lei's for a Bunco (Bunko?) Luau....
We gave our last speech of the year on famous Floridians - Lue Gim Gong - the horticulturist who developed the Valencia orange! (Ask me all about...i promise you i know more than the average bear about this person)

We scowled at mom who was trying to take our picture when all we want to do is watch our brother's last game...
We broke in the pool!
 and...we sat in our yard and stared up at this beautiful specimen - isn't she gorgeous?  There are worse views.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Voted Most Likely to Succeed...or most likely to Be Happy? Or both?

I was sitting in the car (in sweltering heat - what is with the heat this year??) listening to an NPR show where they were interviewing adults that had been voted "Most Likely to Succeed" during their final year of high school.

I found the interviews very interesting.  They talked about one girl they had interviewed off of the air who had come from very meager, hard-scrabble (her own words) beginnings and had ASKED her classmates to vote her this title because she knew in her heart of hearts she was only going up from where she was, determined to make a name for herself.  And, she did.  She is now a very successful entrepreneur in NYC.

There were others that had said that while they were proud of earning the title, it became very daunting as the years after high school went on and the economy started to fail, and jobs were lost, or worse, never gotten.

But the best part of the broadcast, and I'm sure the intent, was to find people who were bestowed the title, that measured their own successes instead of letting their job or their wealth (or lack thereof) define it.  

One woman said she actually started college, but then found her soul mate and now is living with her 4 children and husband on a farm and to her, that is success because she knows she is where she is supposed to be and is elated with her life.  Yet, she knows that if she went back to her high school now, her old classmates would think she failed, or didn't live up to her potential.

One man became an episcopal priest and said while he can't imagine his life being any more full than it is, he knows that his old classmates would just shake their head that he walked away from worldly possessions by choice.

We have a few friends that have children graduating this month and i think about the honors we have seen them receive, and all of the well wishes and advice being handed down, and I think what would i say to someone about to walk out into the world to make their mark?

If you had asked me even 10 years ago, my first reaction would be - finish college (i did not), find a good job and start putting money bank.  My mindset has definitely shifted.

Now, i think i would ask them "What makes your heart sing?  What thing do you look forward to the most?"  Follow THAT path - because if it is one thing I know, money is not everything.  Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of wanting more, wanting better because once you start on the path of "acquisition" it is very hard to back out and untangle your life for a more simpler one.  

It seems so simple, yet i know so many of my friends, including myself, that have learned this the hard way.

Relationships don't cost money. At least the ones that count.  Invest your time in those.  Define your success by how happy you are when you wake up.  When the day is new, and you have a full 8 hour day ahead of you, are you eager to jump out of bed? Or do you want to crawl back in bury your face?

Also, think twice about a future with the cute boy or girl that doesn't share your dream of living in the city or living in the country, because at the end of the day, one (likely both) of you will end up resenting where you are.  One choice often begets another out of necessity so take your time and weigh your options.

Oh, and what would good advice be without giving the permission to fail as well. Failure is OK because now you know what doesn't work and you can rule that out.  Don't be afraid of trying anything. Especially when you're young.  Heck, even when you're not. TRY IT.

If you have enough food in your pantry, love in your life, clean sheets on your bed - i think you're doing OK.