Yup, today I have help. The neighbor kid is cleaning stalls for a little cash to help him fix his truck so I do not have to clean stalls! Yahoo!!!
I snapped the pic above with my phone... Apologies for the lack of clarity, but it was just the coolest sight! It is one of those lawn mower air chair thingies that a neighbor flies about... Looks terrifyingly fun, although I must admit that I wouldn't be caught dead in one!
I am fairly certain that that rose is not a part of what I thought I was buying. It is a traditional multilayered rose, not the hardy primroses I purchased specific to our altitude... Never the less, she sure is spectacular! Four buds on top and seems to be faring rather well, despite the lack of oxygen up this high! Lol!
Last, but definitely not least, a gratuitous shot of my niece... Sis and the family will be departing later today but we did manage to see each other twice while she was in town. Lexi is growing so very fast and is simply the loveliest little girl!
Looking forward to catching up on blog reading - from the new iPad, of course. The screen is spectacular!!
Yeah.... Seems very cliche, I know, but it is true. The very best childhood memories I have revolve around my family. I cannot think of anything I would rather do than hang out together with those very closest to me.
I'm not saying there aren't times I don't answer my phone when they call. I'm not saying I am the best daughter ever and just can't wait to see them 24-7. That would be a lie. I am saying that I just love the times we all sit around and laugh about things from our rather checkered past as a familial unit. Those gut wrenching, bend doubled over, laugh til the tears flow freely hilarious moments when we relive the food fight we had and Mom's mashed potatoes bounced! Those kinds of times... Reliving the awesomeness of having our kids and what that was like...
I love my family, and while some of my childhood was fraught with some very scary times, it made me strong and shaped my faith in ways I could never have predicted. I am a frugal, well adjusted, humble woman with a fiercely loyal and interesting family that I cherish above all else.
My biggest hope is that my kids will some day sit on my front porch in the cool of the Colorado evening and share stories they love about growing up on a horse ranch.
I didn't really get a "hankering" for travel until rather recently. I am not a comfortable traveler, per se. I do it for the reward at the end. I simply hate the process of it and that starts from packing to boarding whatever mode of transportation fits the trip. Once on the plane, or in the car (as those are the only modes I have tested so far) I am able to exhale and start my journeys.
There are trips I remember from my childhood that I absolutely am swept away with. Some were very plain and normal, like camping. Those trips were wonderful! I think about camping now with a bit of trepidation - OK a lot of trepidation! I have no romantic ideas of what it would be like to spend a night under the stars... My fear of carnivorous wild life sucks out what little verve is left after the thought of peeing down my leg when there are no available toilets. Although Spud has posted a very wonderful camping trip here, I am not swayed. I will camp at the Hilton, thank you very much!
I took a trip as a worldly 15 year old to Santa Fe, NM with my 9th grade class. That was fun too, if not a little harrowing. I didn't fit in as well as those popular girls and there was a rather humiliating picture of my bum taken sticking out of my sleeping bag while I drooled on my pillow. Still, I remember the trip as one that I completely enjoyed and I took enough pictures that one of my childhood albums has remembrances in it.
Another trip, I think I was around 10 or 11 years old, was back east in the summer months. I remember those travels as being very fun. It was enthralling for a "town kid" to wander the back woods of Maryland, swimming in a pool at our uncle's and just generally having the time of our lives whiling the days away on hikes amid some very green canopies.
My family never traveled extensively, but those few times we did instilled in me an appreciation for trips that I hold dear to this day. My husband travels constantly with his work these days and I am so very grateful that he is generous and gracious with me when he lets me gallivant off to some destination I have dreamt up. He has taught me that travel doesn't have to be completely planned and "itinerary-ed" to death - some of the best trips he and I have taken were spontaneous and very ill prepared for. He has also taught me to be a confident traveler and to take it all in.
Thank you dear, for instilling in me a desire to see more than just my back yard! By the way, I will be heading off to....
So many girls start their imaginings with the basics... What do I want to be when I grow up? There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a ballerina.
I watched PBS incessantly hoping to wander upon a ballet that they might be showing. I would settle for modern dance, but it never held the same mystique as the fluffy Tu-Tu'd dames that sprung across the stage in those amazingly shaped toe shoes. I would beg to watch the "Nutcracker Suite" each Christmas and I would mimic the steps and the over dramatic poses if left alone in the living room to play. At one point in my childhood, I even cut up my security blanket (saving back one small square for emergencies) to fashion slippers, complete with wooden alphabet blocks for the toes. It was then my family began to take my desire very seriously....
My mother indulged me by purchasing ballet lessons for me. I was quite the little diva, too busy making sure that my leotard and my leg warmers were just so, rather than practising technique that might push me into an actual sweat. The lessons were held in the classroom of a local school and I know it cost my mother dearly to watch, week after week while I wasted time tugging and pulling and bending my accoutrement, rather than learning the steps I so desperately needed.
Amazingly, I did have some natural talent, although it took some years to become mature enough to realize it wasn't about the outfit. My dad caught me one afternoon in our wooden floored dining room practicing my craft. He stopped me and told me right out loud that he thought I was talented, and a little later sat me down with my mother and discussed another round of lessons. This time I would be studying in a proper studio, taught by a proper Madame, with the tell-tale gnarled toes of a dancer poking out of her black footless tights.
It was more Modern Dance than traditional ballet, but I was well suited to it. I enjoyed it and the few friends I made. Awkward as can be and gangley fit right in for dance. I was disappointed when after two session of Modern Dance I was not accepted into the folds of the traditional ballet class. I remember it being a technique issue as I often had my bum slapped for it's offensive sticky-outy-ness. (I suffered from mild scoliosis as a pre-teen.)
I loved the nights we would walk to and from the studio and I felt so glamorous in my leggings and dance garb. The most wonderful thing of all was knowing that it was because my dad recognized I had talent and desire that I had been afforded another chance at my dream.
While I never looked back after completing my last recital with the small troupe, it gave me a verve to pursue my dreams. I realized then and there, ones dreams must always be explored. Even if I try and fail, at least I have tried and know what it felt like to see it through. Thanks Dad, for believing in me and showing me how to pursue my loves.
I have talked about my grandparents quite a bit here. I know why... They were definitely influential parts of my childhood. I loved them very much and they are still missed in my thoughts. Much like my mother, my grandparents were incredibly strong individuals and they taught me much in the way of independence.
Many hours spent in imagination-play at my grandmother's was peppered with naps, snacks and plenty of ice cream. But the most influential thing about her was a very simple concept. I was allowed to play with almost anything I found interesting. My Nana was just very patient that way - Or maybe the old adage is true, "They just don't make things like they used to!" She simply wasn't afraid I would break the stuff I played with.
I was always especially intrigued with an old typewriter that sat in the upstairs hallway. When I say old, I mean the old manual driven typewriters with a silk, ink-drenched ribbon that left my fingers black more often than not. I loved sliding a piece of typewriter paper into the roller platen and hearing the click-click as it seated into it's place. I would spend hours playing secretary, picking up the hallway phone that was mounted upstairs, taking phone messages and sitting at a rather rickety roller table that I had perched my "office" upon. I would type until my little finger tips ached from the effort of making the keys hit hard enough to impress the ink upon the page. When I tired of playing office, I would move to magazines and simply practice typing (without looking, of course) as the pages of the National Geographic made its way through the magic of that manual machine. I always thought it would be wonderfully romantic to be a secretary with a real reason to sit at a typewriter and tap-tap-tap out my duties...
Many years later, I did land a job as a secretary... Not so glamorous, and I was definitely required to use a computer keyboard, not a typewriter. I moved from one keyboard to another during my stint in the public workforce. I always remembered the love I had for those keys and their clackity-clack that gave me so much confidence.
I love writing, I think, because I was allowed to play at it for long summer days and was never afraid to work with the tools of the trade. Looking back, I am so very glad I got to bruise my fingers playing at the work I now enjoy so much.
My mother was a single mom for a lot of my childhood. I think she is an amazing woman and very very strong for having done life the way that she did. Married at 18, me born ten months and ten days later, she did what she did the best way she knew how. I still shudder at the thought of being married at 18 - Cripe! Some days being married at 42 is tough!
As a single mom, and a working mother at that, she did what she could to make things fun with frugality always at the root. Some of the most wonderful times I can remember of her were the nights she didn't have to work late and we could, all us girls (I had just a younger sister at the time), shop for our dinner that night. The most special of treats would be Weiner Wraps, hot dogs, and those cookies you got out of the roll... Mom would let us help, which for a harried and hurried mother of two was so very hard to do (I know this because letting my little ones help was often more work than I could stand...). We would get the kitchen chairs up to the counter and mom would walk us through wrapping our hot dogs in the pastries and laying them out on the cookie sheets. Then we would wait as mom cut the roll of cookie dough into slices so each of us could take turns placing them on another sheet.
I loved those nights. They were nights Mom called "Girls nights" and I remember sitting across the tiny kitchen table from her thinking how amazing she was. I wanted to grow up to be just like her, and I was going to dye my hair red so that we could match.
I love thinking back to those Saturday afternoons when Mom would crank up the stereo console unit with one of her records and mop the floors and clean house like no body's business! I remember sliding across the basement linoleum floor in my socks after she mopped, giggling and dancing until I was breathless! Mom would sing to herself from the records as she worked and I loved to imitate her by tying my own kerchief around my hair, just like her...
My mom was and still is in many ways my biggest inspiration. She is a strong woman with strong opinions and fierce love for her kids. I love that about her. I have taken much from her and I call them strengths. My mom seldom reads my blog anymore... There are parts of me that are hard for her to read about. I understand that... But I hope that if I do nothing else in this lifetime, I truly convey to her how much I really love and admire her. She taught me to be exactly who I am and I love her for it!