Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Road Trips and Grown Ups

Grandma's House

I got to go home this last week.  It has been a while since I have visited and it is something that always makes me think, I want to move back to Georgia.  Much like anyone who feels a connection to a place, it is really hard to put into words how it feels. 

Valdosta State University

When Middle Monkey decided to go to college there, it was an even bigger deal.  Now my desire to move is even greater than I could have anticipated.  I scheduled a trip and her and I set out with for a visit to campus.  I expected her to enjoy it but the level in which she did surprised even me.  My old man processed the transition much like anything in his life, without barely a passing concern.  Middle Monkey, however, has embraced this next chapter with a joie de vivre that even I could not have imagined.  A couple of times during the tour, I placed my hand on her shoulder and asked if she was okay.  Once I had to ask  "Are you going to cry?"  To which she quietly responded "I might."  It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous campus.  I too kept thinking "I want to live here!"  I can only imagine how it feels to be her right now.

It was good to see Grandma, the azaleas and the furry babies.  The sunshine was pretty spectacular too!

Uncle Sam


Today I exhale
I have no more worries
because my path is clear

Today I exhale
my mind turns from restless wander
to one of focused calm

Today I exhale
and breathe deep the wind
the light, the rain

Today I exhale
marrying my purpose
with my joy that fills my heart

Today I exhale
resolute in my path
and viewing happiness as a welcomed friend

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beekman Seeds, Week 2

This past week, we finally got everything started for the garden with my Beekman heirloom seeds. Considering what it looked like before, I was happy how it turned out. Since we are in a rental and potentially moving this year, we wanted something portable that could go with us if we move. I also have not spent time learning to cultivate container gardens (other than herbs) but I have read so much lately of the ridiculously amazing things people are doing in small spaces. (A wonderful book that I found for a resource in making these things amazing is Gardening In No Time by Tessa Evelegh.)

We found these great bins at Costco that we altered by drilling drainage holes in the bottom. I put a layer of rock in the bottom to assist in drainage and then filled with dirt. Of course, I had some help:

Jack approves the dirt selection

Once everything met Jack’s approval, we planted four of the heirloom seed packets that were ready (carrots, turnips, spinach and radishes) as well as one bucket of garlic and onions and one of potatoes. Many moons ago when my boyfriend was a child, he described to me a manner of growing potatoes inside a stack of old tires. While it seems odd, the pinching off of some leaves and cover with dirt in multiple layers over time made a lot of sense. We are trying this in a container this year to see how it works.

I already have some sprouting and will put those pictures up next week. Have you planted something yet? It’s good for the soul, try it!

It does help if you have some help...even if that help is kind of
 lazy for the most part.  :)

Mango supervises the project

 Have a great week everyone!  Peace to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All Things HBO

I can remember the first time I saw the letters "HBO" together and it actually meant something to me. It was the fall of 1981 and my parents had cable. The concept of cable didn’t really make sense to me and I was blissfully unconcerned. The TV was one of those big console monstrosities that ::gasp:: we had to crawl over and flip channels with a knob. It was awesome. Somehow that year I got to piece together Jaws and Orca for the first time and it continued to fuel a lifelong monster obsession that HBO still continues to satisfy.

I have not concealed the fact that I have become ridiculously attached to True Blood. I know you have heard this before here, here, and even here so I will not take up the space and time to annoy you with continued details except to say that it is slated to premiere June 12, 2011. WOOT!

This is the part of the post where I admit, I just don’t seem to ever get enough HBO. This year is the end of one of my FAVORITE shows, Big Love. I have watched every single episode in all these years, in the beginning because I just could not fathom how I could find it interesting or become involved in the story. I do not mind saying, HBO knocked me upside the head with that one, whew! I have been on the edge of my seat, all these years, watching how things unfold. It is one of the few shows I can say without question is just as good in its final stages as it was in the beginning. I share equally the love for Barb and watching her discover her life as the hate for Nicki. Oh, how I wished Nicki had left the family for the prosecutor…such a GREAT story line for a character I really have disliked (in this respect, Chloe is brilliant!). I will be so sad to see the last episode and my life will never be the same. I can only hope one day there is a movie so that we can really see where the Henrickson’s end up.

Game of Thrones Pictures, Images and Photos
My newest and possibly my worst obsession to date is Game of Thrones. When I saw the first teaser over a year ago, I had a meltdown. The sets, the costumes, the language were music to my ears. This led me to a dangerous obsession to the great George R.R. Martin’s series that has resulted in the inability for me to read anything until I finish this series. I am on book four and book five comes out in July. I am just screwed; I may never read anything else. I swear it’s more addictive than the Harry Potter books. So sophisticated and elegant, I mean HBO cast the glorious Sean Bean as one of the main characters. Are you kidding me? My head might explode.

Game of Thrones debuts on April 17. If you haven’t read the books, get started. If you haven’t been to the blog, go here. Bow at the feet of HBO and tell them how great it is…you are going to just freak out when you get into the first couple of episodes…I promise. Check out the trailer here.


I need to sit down and rest now. The thought of it is overwhelming.

Winter is coming bitches.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Bad Mother

Society is fickle. What most has amused me this recent news cycle is how fast we have gone from talking about the Tiger mom to Tiger blood.

While I have just a little to say about either, it has made me think about the way I parent. I will admit that I did not read Amy Chua’s book but also that I have no intention to. The sound bites the news has provided gives me enough information to sort out that I don’t care about the context; much of it seems, well, abusive. I really would not care how often my elementary age child forgot her mittens, locking her outside to stand in the cold so she would remember NEXT TIME just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t matter to me if she was really nice just before this event or recognized her error just after and apologized, Amy is just mean. That is the kind of thing that will scar a child and as Bear will tell you, possibly physically as frost nip can set in FAST. Maybe the Tiger mom watches the temperature and only undertakes such extreme measures when it WON’T produce such results. Regardless, as I said, that’s mean and I don’t care how great your kids grow up to be.

The over saturation of Mr. Sheen as late has also saddened me but quite honestly, it has given me an opportunity to parent. See kids; see Mr. Sheen and how he is behaving? This is not normal. This is not something to aspire to. This is not a role model.

Mainly, in both examples, I have recognized that I have tried to raise my kids in a way that will make them functional adults. Don’t get me wrong, I have babied them when they needed, spoiled them unnecessarily but provided structure that children desperately need. So far, my children have managed to be relatively normal, without the rampant sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle that seems to be reflected in the media as appropriate for their age. It makes me laugh when I hear people complain about their kids not going to bed or sleep and how at 11 PM at night, they are begging and bribing to make that happen. Since I had my first child, quiet time has been strictly enforced. At 8 PM every night, the television and computers are to be turned off. When they were too little to read on their own, I would spend that time reading to them and as they learned, they read to me. Even as seniors in high school, the oldest still head to their rooms with the youngest. Sometimes they read or the older ones web surf but the intent is still the same, they are to be quiet as not to disturb their siblings. Having this kind of pattern in the house allowed them to adjust and calm down from a full day of playing and over stimulation. I have never had difficulty getting children to go to sleep because they understood that the routine of quiet time was intended to provide this. Now as they are older, occasionally on a Friday or Saturday night, they will stay in the living room later when we are doing family movie time, but not every time. This means at 8 PM, I also get my own quiet time to read or spend the time distressing from the day.

Having that kind of parenting philosophy, I have a hard time understanding the parents that freak out when their children start Kindergarten or go away to college. These are milestones to celebrate! Not once do these parents think of the burden they are placing on the child? If you are despondent and crying when a child does something that is supposed to be great for them, you are setting them up to feel that in some way they are responsible for your feelings/crying/sadness. I would be mortified if I put that kind of emotional baggage on my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I miss each and every one of them when they are not here but I also so carefully guard and cherish the time I get without them. You cannot parent so wholly that you forget who you are as a person. I think this is the greatest contributing factor to “empty nest syndrome” because people put so much into the children and make them the center of everything that they forget they are their own human beings.

It is sad really. There is a high rate of divorce at this time in life because I think there are parents who then blame the other one for how crappy they feel minus children in the home or they never cared to nurture the relationship with their spouse. This is a disservice to your children. As I said before, I have tried to raise my kids in a way that will make them functional adults. They should be able to do their own laundry. Mine each took over that responsibility for themselves between the ages of ten and twelve, which ever coincided with the age that they were tall enough to reach the controls and empty the washer. They also have known by the age of thirteen how to cook a few basic meals, scramble an egg, make a grilled cheese, an omelet, bake cookies or muffins, how to read a recipe and how to use coupons. Each saves their own money and knows how to calculate tax when purchasing items with cash. Frankly, I am constantly surprised and saddened when I hear of the college age kids that have no knowledge of how to do their laundry or iron. This tells me they had parents that continued to do their laundry and ironing until they were 18, really? How are you preparing a child to be an adult if you can’t teach them the basic skills they need to know to survive without you simply because you don’t want them to be without you?

My oldest is almost done with his freshman year of college and my middle child heads to college in August. I have seven more with the last one and then she heads out. I think that is exciting for them. I will miss being able to talk to them each day and being involved in their decision making processes but that is what helps them detach and grown up. Will they get everything right? NO. Did you? NO. Do I think I have prepared them as best as I can, YES. You don’t have to be a hard ass Tiger mom and you don’t have to be a push over either. My son went to college with a skillet, a cookbook or two and the knowledge of how to use them. He wields an iron better than I do and I am sure he still needs to clean his room but I don’t worry about that stuff. I taught him how to take care of himself. That is what a parent is supposed to do. Not belittle a child and make them into your own ideal and not to make them so dependant that they can’t function as an adult without you. I have a great sense of pride and joy in every single thing they do because some little part of every accomplishment is a foundation that I helped create. I look forward to the last one getting out and doing her own thing. That means I have even more time for books, great food, travels, movies and adventures yet to be written. I have hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with my kids or being a mom. I am grateful in that way that I have parented myself just as well. I do not feel less a person without them here. I am not depressed or worried that my life will be empty. Some people think this makes me a bad mother. But I believe I must rejoice in every single part of my life because it is mine, and I just happen to be a kick ass mom.

When all else fails, I remind myself that no matter how bad their decisions are so far, none of them are warlocks with fire breathing fists.

Go me!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Good Life

I hope I live my life as well as my cats.  If I can be this happy, I have done something right!