13 January 2014

Humorous Discoveries...

I must admit, an email gave me my first two chuckles of the day and made the making of lemonade this morning, easy. Both the joke and the quote were swiped from author Christina Dodd's newsletter:
A bad guy died & went to hell. He took the tour of different tortures he could endure: pitchforks, flaming brands, etc. In one room, he saw everyone was standing chest-deep in sh*t. He thought, “That’s not too bad,” & waded in. He stood there for a minute, then the devil in charge said, “Break’s over, everyone back on your heads!” 

QOTD: "When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it." — Bernard Bailey

11 January 2014

Stuck Thoughts...

You know when you get a song stuck in your head, that you can't seem to get rid of? Well, I seem to be having the same problem with this frustration only it's a rerun of an old conversation that I dreamed about last night.  It's not like it's an important posit.  Definitely not Nobel Prize kind of subject. Doesn't seem to matter. If my subconscious is trying to tell me something, I sure haven't got a clue... Maybe it means I should go buy a shovel and dig a hole. If so, it's gonna be a long wait!
“When Chinese kids go out in their back yards, and they start to dig a hole, do their Mothers yell out the back door for them to stop digging a hole to America? Do they use a shovel made in the USA?” ~ by my husband
I'm trying to remember there are more annoying things out there in the world I inhabit and I should be grateful it's not a song like Stayin' Alive or Danger Zone on permanent replay. One must try to look on the bright side of things. (If I tell myself that often enough it will be true... hopefully) I never thought I'd look forward to insomnia before...

QOTD: "Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought." ~ by  E. Y. Harburg (American Lyricist, Librettist and Song Writer, 1896-1981)

Celebration Of The Little Things...

I've been blogging on and off since about 2006 and I always seem to come back to it as I find writing meditative therapy most of the time. I've also learned that I tend to 'hide from the 'real' world and while that's ok in small doses, it's too easy to forget that some times. I'm trying to learn to have more balance in all things and remind myself to celebrate the little things. 

Back when I first started the 'old' Lemon Stand blog I tried to write down what was important to me. The old blog unfortunately is long gone but I kept some of those pages to give myself a point of reference. A reminder to celebrate the little things. It's also one of the posts my family and friends often ask about.

So whether or not you've already made New Year's resolutions, here's a reminder of the 'smaller' picture.
Celebrations Of The Little Things…
Every once in a while, I think we are all given little 'Wake Up' calls. Either something happens to someone we know or someone says something to you that really resonates with something inside of you (if you have a heart) and the little voice that resides in everyone (who has a conscience) prods us to remember to celebrate the little things. It’s easy to celebrate holidays and some of us can remember birthdays and anniversaries (if we have a memory).
 I think that I didn’t learn this lesson early enough in my life. I’m left with a lot of shoulda, coulda, woulda moments of regret that need to be replaced with the celebration of life, in the moment.
Did you notice how fast your parents and siblings were growing when you, yourself were a child? Did you think about or even realize that there would soon come to a time when because of school, work, military service, marriage, and all the other myriad of detritus that life hands you, that you would no longer live with them?  In many cases you would physically live far away from them?  I don’t ever remember stopping long enough to take an actual or mental picture of those days in my mind to keep in my memories.
 The years flew by, I don’t know where they have all gone but I have very few actual photographs of my childhood, school, military service, my husband and I when we were first married. There are lots of pictures of Nicole when she was a baby. The pictures, however, become scarce as the rest of the children came along. It is not because we were any less proud of them or happy that they came along. I think that the worries of everyday life become exponential with each child. Worries that eat at our ability to enjoy life in the moment. We are even less likely to stop and celebrate the little things in life.
 September 11th gave many people I know the wake up call I speak of, but like human nature often is, the lesson, no matter how horrific in it’s execution, softens with time. We don't forget, but it becomes blurred with age.  I don’t know when this realization happened for me. It was before September 11th. I think it started just after my husband and I got married. I started asking questions of relatives about their lives. I started writing down their stories. I started keeping track of my immediate genealogy, although at the time, I didn’t realize what I was doing. It eventually evolved into tracing both my parents genealogy back to the time their ancestors immigrated to North America. It wasn't far to find the 1st generation American’s. All four of my grandparents came to the United States from Canada and were the first ones to stay. I count myself lucky to know their life stories.
 Our own children are growing so fast. Nicole and Danielle’s childhood moments are overshadowed by the struggle of survival, because both my husband and I separated from active duty within 6 months of each other during the last national economic downfall. We were then blessed with Rachel but like so many other people, we struggled with everyday worries. We both worked 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet until I became pregnant with Erin, our youngest.
After that, a disability I had received in the military finally left me unable to take care of not only myself but our children. I feel like I have lost about 7 years of my life. It has been a very long road back. During this time, our families and our truly closest friends and family, John and Kelly were what kept us going. 
I have learned to try not to miss the little milestones that come to us every day. They come whether you stop long enough to appreciate them or not. So many times they can pass you by and you mourn their loss when you finally realize they are gone. I forgot where I read that life does not have any ‘do-overs’ but occasionally you will be blessed with a ‘do-again’.
 Despite not having most of my family and friends around lately, I have found pleasure in the moments with Erin. At 8 years old she is still my baby. She is growing and her personality is becoming more pronounced. She tackles life so differently than the other three. I have blown off most of the housework this week. It will keep. I’m going on treasure hunts and exploring the world through the eyes of Erin. I am collecting these moments of time in my memories to be taken out at some future date to be relived and enjoyed again. I am not going to try not having to re-live another moment of regret for this time that I was given with her.
 If you want to know how this lesson solidified in my mind…the moment that I truly learned this lesson… it was the first time my husband was in the mid-east. He would send the kids and I pictures of grass. Yes, you read that right. There was this one spot where everyone threw out their wash water and eventually a straggly excuse for grass started growing. My husband had a picture of himself taken sitting in this 3 ft by 3ft patch of grass. He was cross legged and his eyes were closed. His hands were in the position of someone meditating and saying 'ooooohhhhmmm, ooooohhhhmmmm.' (Man that man cracks me up!)

He also would pick these small flowers that he would find among the rocks. Proof that life will survive in the most unlikeliest and most inhospitable places on earth. They do not stop growing because of the war being waged. Their ability to exist with such beauty is a testament to life. My husband used paper, plastic wrap and cardboard from his care packages to press these flowers. He brought them home to us and when he returns to the mid-east our daughters and I will be using his away time mounting and framing them for our rooms.
 I usually write my quote of the day as a way to wrap up a point to my posts. Today I will only impart my own humble message. “It is not always possible to live in the moment, but when the opportunity does present itself….do not waste it for it is precious and may not come again.”

10 January 2014

Where The Wild Things Are...

Two of our neighbors came over last night with one of their sons for dinner. Beth and Dan are brave souls who don't mind my family's odd sense of humor.  Probably because our kids shared the same bus stop together since Preschool. Come to think of it, it was rather tame for our dinner table.

It was still a lot of fun so we need to get together more often. They seem to be either desensitized to our family's dinner conversation or they just  have the same warped sense of humor. (I'm leaning towards the latter)

Last night we got to talking about our kids, college and survival in the jungle of teenagers.  One of the subjects that came up was "Daddy's Laws of Life" and I just couldn't remember them all but found them in a previous post that led me down memory lane to 14 Aug 2010 and thought I'd share the chuckles:
If It's True That You Learn Everything You Need To Know In Kindergarten...
My husband is probably going to be irritated with me and the kids are probably going to say I didn't remember the event correctly, as always, but I just have to write the memory as I remember it down for posterity's sake.
As any parent with teenagers can tell you, when your offspring attains the age of about 12 (if you have not already scheduled their demise) your child revisits the developmental stage of the terrible two's, but this time around it includes added bonuses.  For girls, it's PMS.  For boys, it's testosterone poisoning.  Trust me on this.
So it is not any wonder that there was a particular day in which I needed my husband for a little tag team parenting.  The eldest three were behaving like hard core toddlers and I wanted him to talk to them sternly.
So off the kids go for a ride with their father so that he could advise them on the 'gravity' of the situation (and I could get a little peace and quiet while the youngest was playing with a friend).
A while later, they all came back and instead of the subdued children I had expected, they were smiling, laughing and teasing each other.  
Before I could question my husband on just what had occurred on this ride, our daughter, Danielle, beamed at me as she said, "You don't have to worry, Mommy.  Daddy explained the four Laws of Life and we now understand them all." 
The other kids, looking just as happy as Danielle, were nodding their heads vigorously as their sister informed me of their new found knowledge.
Knowing my husband, who, at the time, was standing a little behind them trying to look like his halo wasn't choking him (in my opinion), I immediately knew that something had gone awry in my intended communication with the kids.  I'm sure my eyes, almost instantly, started to narrow.  Seeing that I was not looking real happy with the situation, the kids hurried to explain the Laws of Life and their meanings... according to Daddy.
"One, Never break more than one law at a time.  So if we were able to drive and had a tail light that was busted, we shouldn't speed."
"Two, Never bring along a camera if you are going to break the law.  That one was easy to understand so we didn't really need an explanation for that one."
"Three, Never try to understand someone else's 'kink'.  So we should just accept people the way they are even if we do think they are a little strange."
"Four, Never date your friend's spouses or girlfriends/boyfriends.  This is just not acceptable behavior and could get you into a LOT of trouble so it is just best to avoid the situation."
By this time I am staring at my husband who had been correcting the wording in their recitation of these laws as they were uttered. I had to laugh and just walk away.
At the time, I remember thinking that if it was true that you learn everything you need to know in Kindergarten, just what then, was my husband's Kindergarten class like?  With him in it?

Truthfully, though, we did teach our kids more than to just find humor where ever you can find it.  My husband and I are very proud of all of our kids and we wouldn't sell any of them... even on the bad days... even if someone offered us more than ten cents a pound...

If you have not bought, 'All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten' by Robert Fulghum, you really need to.  Especially if you have kids.  Especially if you have two year olds... or teenagers... or husbands...

     (see below the page line if you would like to read the passage from the book in which this post was consulted)

08 January 2014

A Large Chocolate Frosty Please...

Am I the only one that saves a half melted, large, chocolate Frosty from Wendy's and puts it in the freezer for when I am in dire need of chocolate? (Yes, even in winter)

Must start making labels: 

Warning: Emergency application of chocolate use only! Violator's will be punished Severely! 
(i.e. an offspring on a midnight pillage run of the fridge)

QOTD: "Before there was Prozac, there was Chocolate." ~ by me (just now)

07 January 2014

Now There Is Cold, And Then There Is Artic Ice Locker!

I woke up this morning to 6° with a wind chill of about -13° and after reading about the temperatures in the Great Lakes region, I'm very happy with my balmy 6°! 

Still, I think I'll order a Mad Bomber Hat from L. L. Beans! Bought one for our youngest daughter for Christmas. 

Mad Bomber Hat from L. L. Bean's website
"Shell is fully insulated and trimmed with plush genuine rabbit fur. Wear it with ear flaps up, or pull them down for added warmth" 

They have a few other colors at L. L. Beans website, but I'm more concerned about the warmth. I must say that it surprised me the hat was not lined completely in rabbit fur, because I didn't read the description when I bought it. Still, the insulation is wonderfully warm anyway and the fur covers my ears, forehead and chin. Who could ask for anything more?

Well I am off to sew.  I have been trying to reupholster the living room furniture since my husband laid down a beautiful maple floor.  I also have been making new drapes, sheers and throw pillows. But today, I'm going to quilt like mad. I have too many things I need to do so I'm off.

QOTD: "Quilting. The other winter sport." ~ unknown