Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dallas, Day

Well, we finally arrived at Dallas about 6 last night. We made excellent time until we got within 20 or so miles of our destination. There was a fender bender on the interstate and we traveled about 3 miles in 35 minutes. I have discovered that there are at least two reasons why we don't live in Dallas: traffic and temperature. As we sat in creeping traffic, the thermometer on the car said 107 degrees! I am so very thankful for air conditioning!
We were thrown for a bit of a loop when we found the hotel. We thought that we were staying in the same place we stayed in 2 years ago. But we are in a new hotel (same chain), several miles from where we had been. Even though this place is very nice, it is in an area with mostly offices, and the walking area is limited. Having said that, it is most likely too hot to walk outside anyway. Last time we were here, a nice residential area bordered the hotel and I spent a lot of time walking, but then is was also October, not August.
I did some exploring last night, and found a pool, an exercise room, and this computer! Along with my books, I think I have plenty to keep me busy. After supper last night, Randy and I visited a nearby discount store and I got some breakfast and lunch food. The hotel has a bistro, but $4 for a bowl of oatmeal, and $9 for pancakes just doesn't seem like something I need to use.
I have to admit that sometimes I criticize modern technology. However, any time I, or any of my family travel, I am thankful for the cell phones, facebook and internet. We have also really appreciated the Garmin on recent trips. It takes the guesswork out of traveling and helps keep the driver's blood pressure down. I guess I had better get my day started. The treadmill is calling my name and I can't think of one excuse to not use it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The journey has begun! We are on our way to Dallas for work (him)/relaxing(me) week. We had a nice drive to Joplin yesterday and stopped over to see my sister and her family. She fixed a great supper last night and we got to enjoy my niece and her husband and children for awhile. It was nice to have a home cooked meal, when we have a week of eating out in front of us! Debbie fixed a big blackberry cobbler for me (my absolute favorite dessert in the world) and it was so wonderful. Blackberry cobbler transports me back to my childhood quicker than anything else I can think of. My mother always made this cobbler in the summer, and I can still see her preparing it and smell it. My mom has been dead almost 25 years now, but this image is always fresh in my mind. My sister's cobbler is just like my mom's, so it was a very special treat.
After Meg and her family left, the old folks spent a few minutes sitting around the living room and soon postures began to slump, and eyelids got heavy. We aren't exactly the life of the party anymore! We were all in bed before 10. This morning we are packing up again and heading south. I think Meg and her youngest, Ryan will meet us for breakfast before we go. We should be in Dallas before evening.
I checked facebook this morning and saw that Amanda posted that Maddie threw up last night. I can't help wishing that I could have been there to help. Being a "single mom" is certainly a tough job when no one is sick. But when a child is sick and all the responsibility falls on one parent, it can be tough. And even though no one "likes" cleaning up vomit, Amanda is especially sensitive to it. Josh told me once that Amanda and him have a deal: she cleans up the diaper messes, and he gets the vomit. I am sure that she is feeling the full weight of two young children today.
Before we left yesterday, Scott and Jessica came for a short visit. It was good to have them at our house again. Their visits have been rare since they moved out and I miss them. We talk frequently, but they have been busy with home chores, work and school. We sat around the kitchen and just talked. They brought Mason with them and he was so much fun! Amanda took Maddie shopping. She is trying to spend some 1 on 1 time with each child to make them feel special. It is also easier to keep one, since there is no sibling bickering. I think it is a great plan.
It is only a few more days until we head to Birmingham to see Josh. It will be so great to see him. I am most looking forward to seeing him hug and kiss on his wife and children. It has been 2 full months since he left. It has been a long haul for them and it will be great to have them back together again.
If I can get computer access, I plan on blogging during our Dallas stay. I packed my bag of book yesterday and am ready to relax. The weather in Dallas shows 97 each day we are there. I was hoping to explore on foot some, but I may have to change my mind in those temperatures. The place has a pool, so I may have to check that out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I now have 5 blog followers. They are a lonely, but faithful bunch! I have yet to have a comment posted on one of my blogs, but once in awhile I will get a personal comment, or one via facebook. I am a little shy about people reading my soul, aka my blog. It is a little like having someone read your diary. But, in the end, I enjoy writing so much, if it touches anyone's life, or a passing pleasure is gained, I have done a good thing. Many moons ago I wrote for the local paper. My main subject was my then fiance, now husband, Randy. Believe me, he got more than his share of ribbing about it. He still does occassionally! I believe I wrote about his love of 4 wheel drive vehicles, his hunting obsession, his remote control use, his lack of domestic skills etc, etc. I was sort of a very amateurish Erma Bombeck. (Believe me I flatter myself with the comparison, but it was a very vague likeness). Some of my columns were not so funny. The hardest one I ever had to write was after my prospective mother-in -
laws untimely death at age 45. She died the summer we were to get married, and we ended up postponing the wedding. The odd parallels between planning a funeral and a wedding kept coming up, and I wrote about it. Just last week I had someone tell me that they still have that column that I wrote. It was my simple way to deal with the sorrow and trauma so many I loved were going through at the time.
It seems like I always have an idea in my head that I want to write about. Sometimes I manage to carry the idea out, sometimes I don't. Some people daydream about vacations, retirement, fame. I just daydream about thoughts I can develop and write about. For years I really didn't have a "medium" for this writing, until I discovered blogs. I am pretty sure that writing a blog is about as close to joy as I will get out of a "hobby". I can't sing, draw, decorate or do anything else remotely artistic. But I do like to pretend to be a wordsmith once in awhile.
The other night I had an idea in my head for the letter to Maddie (School Supply List). I came home ready to start typing. Ideas had been rolling around in my head for hours while I was out shopping. I burst in the door ready to type, and to my horror, Randy was on the computer playing video poker. I paced, I shuffled papers, I piddeled around the house. I didn't want to tell him that I needed the computer to blog, because, quite frankly, he doesn't really get "blogging". I think I finally distracted him enough to be annoying and he said, "do you want the computer?" Oh sure, I said (quite casually) if you are done. He slowly got up, and I could hardly get to the computer fast enough! I typed out my thoughts quickly, and like a smoker taking a final puff, my senses began to settle down. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for writers addiction?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Maddison:
As I write this, you are just two days away from beginning your formative school years. Your family has done everything they can to pave the way for you to have a successful year. A small part of me wishes you were more excited about this big experience. But, for the most part, I think I understand your reservations to go to school. You have always been a thinker and an observer. You like to assess the situation before you "dive" in. I admire those characteristics in you. Like your Daddy, you often keep your emotions and feelings to yourself. You don't feel the need to share all of your life events with the adults around you (even though we get pretty sneaky trying to pry information out of you!). Your school clothes are bought, you have picked out some new shoes, and your supplies are hanging on a hook outside your classroom. There is just one more thing I would like to give you. It probably won't mean much to you now, but I hope, as you grow, you will begin to understand the school supplies list I am about to share with you. Use this list as you see fit, share it with others if you desire, and always remember that this is offered with love.
Maddison's School Supplies for Success List:
Glue: sticks or bottled, lots and lots required. Glue is an important part of school. Commonly used to attach paper together, a broader sense of glue could represent the need to hold it all together. I have no doubt that you will be able to do this with ease. You come from good stock, and have been given lots of love and guidance in your first 5 years of life. In everyone's life there comes a time when it feels like the pieces are coming apart. Apply a little glue, give it time to stick and never lose your faith! Glue requires application and patience to work, so let it do its job, and keep your faith and hope intact.
Scissors: rounded point, safety scissors required. All around you there are strings that keep you attached to things. Some of these strings are good to have, some aren't. Strings can hold you back from making friends and taking chances. They can also keep you grounded, so you can't "float" away. It is up to you to decide which strings you will cut and which ones you will let go. The strings that tie you to people who love you cannot be permanantly cut. They may get frayed from time to time, but the attachment will always be there. Use your scissors with caution. . .
Paper: Volumes of paper are required, since mistakes will be expected. Your life is like paper. When you begin, you are a blank piece of paper, but then your experiences begin to mark your paper (like your life). Use your paper wisely, but remember, new sheets are available, and like all change, life gives you options and chances. Use them, but don't take them for granted.
Crayons: Multicolored pack, be prepared to share with others. Crayons (like people) add color and variety to our lives. They can bring pleasure, but are easily broken. Take care of your crayons, and they will bring fun and joy into your life. Please don't step on them!
Backpack: All essential supplies must fit in pack. Lots of pockets and strong handles are suggested. Your backpack is a place to store and keep your valuables. Use it wisely, but don't fill it so full that it weighs you down. Clean it out daily, and get rid of the "stuff" which you don't need. Many people get drug down by holding onto things that should not be held on to. Let go of anger, resentment and jealousy. Keep the tools you need to have a happy, successful experience close to you. Take care of your backpack and it will do a good job for you.
Maddison, your Papa and I have watched you grow and blossom for over 5 years now. We are amazed at your intelligence, your kind heart and your gentle nature. It is so hard to watch you being sent into the world. Like your parents, we would like to keep you protected in our safe circle forever. But to do that would be to keep you from growing and becoming everything that we know you can be. Stay strong and kind and remember how much you are loved.

Monday, August 2, 2010

School shopping. . . or I should say back to school shopping. It has really been years and years since I have participated in this event. Yesterday we took Miss Maddison back to school shopping. This is a little tradition the women in the family hope to make an annual event. This year we used it as a catalyst to Maddies enthusiasm for kindergarten. She has not exactly been enthusiastic about starting school. I am really not sure why. . . it may be Matilda's fault (the movie about the little girl with mean and crazy parents, and an even meaner and crazier school principal). We have all tried to raise her level of excitement by telling her wonderful stories of our years in school, and the adventures we all had. She is not buying the propoganda we are selling. She isn't vocal about not wanting to go, but then she is not vocal about wanting to go either.
Anyway, back to the shopping story. Our first order of business was a lunch box. And boy were there alot of good choices. She immediately went for the pink box with the monkey on it. I wanted her to really get what she wanted, so I began pointing out some nice features of the other boxes (built in ice pack, insulated thermos, shoulder strap). She changed her mind about eight or nine times, before settling on a cute turquoise box with a detachable insulated thermos. Along the way she picked up some items on her required list (have you seen a school supply list lately)? It is longer than my weekly grocery list. Multiple amounts of crayons, glue, markers and scissors are just part of the requirements. She picked out an outfit for the first day and then we headed toward the shoe store. Now, quite frankly, I hate buying shoes almost as much as I hate car shopping (and almost need a loan to be able to afford the shoes!). Maddison had a shoe plan going into the store. Only one type of shoe was even on her radar. . . Like a homing pigeon, she flew directly to the section containing the "Twinkle Toes". This widely advertised shoe was not really about support, comfort or durability. It was not about how many of her outfits it would match. . . it was all about the gems on the toes, the sparkles on the body of the shoe, and most importantly, it was about the lights that flicked on and off as you put pressure on the soles. She picked out the most amazing pair of sneakers I have ever seen. They could have been popular during the sixty's and seventies. . . peace symbols, stars, hearts, bright colors. Now these shoes had personality. The price tag was almost as amazing as the shoes. . . but that shall remain our little secret. The best part was the glow in her eyes as she carried them out of the store. If it is true that you are what you wear. . . then she will be full of life and sparkle on her first day of school. Lunch box. . . $9.99, outfit $15.00. . . shoes (fill in the blank). . . joy and confidence in a 5 year old little girl. . . priceless!
I am not used to being alone. I sometimes wish for some alone time, but when I find myself by myself it is a strange feeling. Tonight is one of those rare occassions when I am at home without anyone with me. I can't say that I am especially fond of this. What did I decide to do with my quiet evening? Well, I know what I should be doing. . . cleaning, sorting, organizing. But instead I am blogging and listening to Pandora radio (back to back they played Dust in the Wind and then Blowing in the Wind. . . how odd is that?). The house is dark and comfortably cool. There is not a light or person in sight. It has given me much time to reflect on life, mine in particular. The conclusions I have made are very sweet (I am one lucky lady). Somehow knowing that several of my family are miles and miles away is a lonely feeling. I am trying not to think of the many, many people who live with this loneliness day after day. . . I am trying to stay lighthearted and happy. And even though I am happy, the lonely feelings keep creeping into my brain. I think I know now why people lose themselves in endless hours of television. . . it gives them lots of ways to occupy their brain to push out the thoughts and wanderings they may not want to let in. I am almost positive that being alone sometimes is good for the soul. It makes you really appreciate having loved ones around you. I will make it through this lonely, and quiet time. . . but I think I will appreciate the not so quiet times a little more.