Charm

I was listening to the radio on the way home from Jake’s soccer game yesterday, and the conversation was about something that people in this day and time are seeking.  In this day of soaring gas prices, unbelievable food prices, war, crime, etc., people feel that something is missing in their lives. 

I know I personally never watch the news anymore because even locally there’s just too much crime, too much drama, and even what is supposed to be “news” is more about “hollywood” and the “unreality” of it.  Is the fact that Brittany may be pregnant again really news or just silly gossip that in the big scheme of things means nothing?  I’d rather hear about the new academy for special needs children that has opened or even have a local look at 87-year-old Mr. Morrow’s vegetable garden and how he does it than whether or not Brittany has her kids back. 

What this radio personality said we were all longing for is CHARM.  Boy was she right!  I know she hit it right on the button for me. Does this ring true for you?   For instance, I drive through an older area of a town 10 minutes from here and the houses take my breath away.  I’ve done this for years hoping to see a for sale sign on my favorite. They were built probably in the 1920s or 1930s in the shadow of a textile mill.  The neighborhood is laid out almost in a grid pattern with adorable tree-lined streets.  For the most part the houses are “charming” craftsman style homes with clean white siding and colored shutters with the cement porches painted blue or a dark red, there are flower boxes on some of the windows, huge gardenia bushes blooming, and irises and hydrangeas showing off their color in almost every yard.  I could literally drive around and around taking in each and everyone of these houses, noting something I love about all of them.

The radio host went on to say that we all go looking for charm in different ways.  Some purchase homes like I mentioned above and create escapes from their 80-hour work weeks.  Some turn off the televisions altogether and try to bring a family closeness back into their lives. 

This is what I feel like charm is, what I miss, and what I’m searching out:  I remember walking up “the road” to my grandmother’s house, up to the top of the hill, stopping to pet the dog or the cat, and then opening the screen door at the kitchen, and calling yooooooohoooo!!!  (You never had to knock and the doors were never locked.) I’d hear a yoooooohooooo! right back and “in the bedroom!”   Of course, I knew that’s where she was because 9 times out of 10 if her chores were done, she was quilting.  I’d walk to the bedroom and there she’d be with a pieced quilt spread out on her bed in some phase of completion.  It might be a Dutch Doll pattern or flower pots, but it was always an applique style because that’s what she loved to do.  She’d ask me if I wanted a Pepsi or something to eat, tell me to clean off a chair, and ask me what I was up to.  The windows would be up all through the house and the breeze coming through made you think it wasn’t 90-degrees outside.  There was no AC, no fans going, it was just where the house sat under the trees in perfect placement with nature that created this setting. 

There we would sit and talk and laugh.  She’d make dinner for us and tell me not to worry about the dishes.  She’d walk me down the hill and halfway home, and of course I had to call her to make sure she made it safely back, too.

THIS is what I miss in my life.  Not just my grandmother, but that comfort, that CHARM of a lazy day spent with someone you love. 

Last night, we spent the evening with some friends.  It’s the closest I’ve come to the feeling I had way back then in a long time.  We left a little late to go over for the party, and when my cell phone rang (charming, right?) I knew it was Lisa checking to be sure I was okay and on my way.  Once there, it was that feeling of comfort.  Jake played, we sat outside and watched the birthday girl and her friends enjoy themselves in the pool.  We worried when Jake went with them down to the pond until they returned, but it was what you’re supposed to do…that kind of worry, not was someone going to abduct my child or something horrible like that.  It was just saying to Haleigh several times, don’t let go of his hand, watch him. 

And then what happend?  One of their neighbors came up and she and her daughter used to be our neighbors in another subdivision!  How nice to see them again!  Anissa and I were both pregnant at the same time, so we saw how each child had grown and changed in the few years since we bothed moved from the neighborhood. 

I know I’m rambling a bit, but it was refreshing.  It was calm in the middle of worrying about work and health and anything else.  It was cutting the birthday cake and watching presents being opened.  It was a charming evening. 

What I want to know now, is what is charming to you?   How do you describe it?  Can you relate to this at all?  Do you feel like something is missing or are you comfortable with things as they are?  Tell me! 

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Gosh! How long as it been?

Let me just say I have good excuses! 

TallyScrapper has had another SELL-OUT kit!  Spring Fling is positively awesome and I hate that I couldn’t get a second one.  I’m a little behind in my layouts on this one (see above), but I’m working on a second as I write this update.  Don’t let not getting the kit keep you from visiting the site though; there is new Heidi Swapp in the store!! 

Here’s a layout I did with the kit.  Click on the image to get a closer look.  It’s not what it seems! LOL!

On top of MY job woes, we’re still kind of waiting to see how things go at Pat’s job and praying we won’t have to move.  Because of this, we’re still working on our spring cleaning and purging things that we simply don’t need to hold on to anymore.   Since I’m in between jobs, I have taken this week to try and get a little further in all the cleaning out we have to do still.  So far this week I have cleaned out two closets, cleaned the living room and rearranged the furniture, cleaned and rearranged the dining room, cleaned the kitchen (still need to clean out the cabinets), cleaned the master bedroom, and swept, mopped and vaccum these rooms as well.  I’m almost finished with my office.  What’s left?  Jake’s bathroom and bedroom to clean, the master bedroom closet to reorganize and clean out, the master bathroom to clean, and then that will leave the attic and the garage.  IF we should have to move, I certainly do not want to move anymore that we have to. And did I mention my feet hurt?

Of course, in between all of this, there was Mother’s Day.  My sister and I took my mom out for lunch.  We had a great time, and of course, I miss my sister so much that it’s always good to spend any time at all with her.

Jake has been sick this week, too, with a sore throat, congestion, cough.  Now I feel like I’m getting it.  Just great!

Oh, Pat decided to go ahead and purchase this:

Her 1996 Honda has been a good car, but she definitely needed to be replaced.  With gas prices as high as they are, most think she’s a little off buying the Highlander, but it came so highly recommended and these days with almost everyone in a larger vehicle, those of us still in sedans are at a big disadvantage, IMO.  The good thing is, Pat drives my car to work every day and I get to drive the Highlander!  I don’t drive nearly as much working at home, so I love it!

Last Saturday was Take a Kid Fishing Day at Cleveland Park here in town.  Jake caught 1 bass and 3 brim or sunnies.  I think Pat had more interest in the fishing this time than Jake did, but it was still fun for him.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but that’s what I get for staying away for a while.  Happy Friday everyone!!

 

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Holy Shitake Mushroom!

I only read a few blogs other than my own and another I contribute to, and eventually I’ll get around to linking the rest of my faves here, but a must read every morning is Pioneer Woman.  Her photography is freaking fantastic, her writing is more than just humerous, and I feel a certain kinship to this redhead (I’m a read head, too.) for some reason, even though she probably thinks I’m a weirdo if she even reads my comments to begin with.  Anyway, she is giving away a NIKON D80 AND an HP photo printer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Do you have any clue how badly I want that camera???  I don’t think I can even express how much I want a new digi SLR since my poor old Minolta bit the dust.  Oh, I have a little digi Kodak camera that takes pretty good pics, but I can’t get artsy fartsy with it like I want to, and the zoom and macro just don’t zoom and mac enough.  Man, if I could win one thing in my life and never anything else, this would be it.  (I’m excluding the lottery here people!  Come on, I’m not THAT dumb!)  Is it selfish of me to pray to win this contest?  I guess it is a bit, but maybe if I ask for forgiveness for being selfish and explain how this camera would complete me, that would take the edge off??  Crap, I want that camera!

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I’m so torn!

I have come to the conclusion that I hate my job.  I feel like if I have to sit at my desk one more day and transcribe medical documents for mumbling, ESL, speed-talking, burping doctors I’ll go nuts!  When I was typing a tape the other night, this doctor took a slight pause on his tape and “broke wind”!  Obviously, he thinks so little of the person transcribing his dictation that it’s okay just to “cut the cheese” loudly without a thought to how gross it might be to me!!  Oh, and does the fact that this doctor does colonoscopies make you any more nauseous?  With all the gas passage going on, sounds like he needs his own services.  (My nice way of saying for him to stick it up his…)

I started a new job a few weeks back with the hope that I’d be doing mostly editing for the speech recognition software this particular hospital uses.  I found out yesterday, that does not take place for another 3 months!  I’m not a happy camper.  I don’t want to wait three months, especially when I need to know what the editing job is like ASAP so I can decide whether or not to take another transcribing job I’ve been offered making more than I have in the past and more than this current job.  The only thing there is I’m not happy with the hours they need me to work.  So it’s looking like neither of the new jobs are going to work out, and I’m at a crossroads. 

I checked out the classifieds on our local newspaper’s web site last night, and today I faxed my resume to two companies and will mail it to a third.   Will I, though, be working just to be able to GO to work outside the home?  Gas prices, money for clothes to wear, daycare, wear and tear on my car, makeup, meals out if I don’t pack my lunch, etc.  Any extra money I might make would just be spent on these things, right? 

I’m at a loss as to what else I could do at home.  I’ve tried to figure out these work-at-home message boards that profess to have the list of legitimate businesses that allow you to work from home.  Good grief! It’s like a secret cult where they disquise the names of the companies, i.e.: M*D*N*L*D* (McDonalds), and I even replied to a few of the posts only to see my replies disappear for some reason.  WTF??

When I write down the pros and cons between the two jobs I have now and then the pros and cons of keeping one of these jobs that allows me to work at home versus going back to work outside the home, all I end up with is a couple of lists!  Nothing jumps out at me telling me which would be the better choice.

You know what my biggest worry is?  My age and my looks.  I don’t think it matters how intelligent I am or how qualified I am for the job.  What matters is how old I am and how I look.   The last job interview I went on, last year as a matter of fact, I was at least 10 years older than the oldest person in the office.  It was nerve wracking being interviewed by someone knowing that I might be old enough to be their mother!  I thought 40 was the new 30? No?   And we may have had more in common than she realized since I’m a 44 YO mom of a 4 YO boy doing the soccer mom thing. 

Oh, well.  I have a friend who says what’s meant to happen will happen.  I believe that, but what do I do in the meantime?  LOL!

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Busy, but fun weekend-Oh, and a hail storm!

Friday was busy with catching up on papework, paying a few bills, and test driving a couple of cars.  Pat has decided to go with the Toyota Highlander, and she wanted me to drive it and give her my opinion.  We also drove a Saturn Vue just for the heck of it and neither one of us wanted to like it, but we did.  I guess it’s shameful that we were scared of the American-made car or American brand.  Who knows what is made where anymore, but even so, Consumer Reports still rates Toyota and Honda way above the rest.  Anyway, Pat needs a new car, as her 1996 Honda has served us well, but definitely needs to go to that scrapyard in the sky.  Mine is the car we depend on for our long trips, but even still it’s getting close to 10 years old.  Perhaps when I can afford a new car I’ll give the Vue a try.  It may be hard though to pull myself away from my trust in the Honda.

Saturday was a noon-time soccer game.  It was our turn to bring the snacks so I chose those Aquapod water bottles from Deer Park since they had the most in a pack, yogurt-covered raisins, and grapes.  I stressed over what to bring and then two of the kids didn’t show up.  Oh well, Jake has some extra snacks for this week and plenty of bottled water.  I could really tell this time that Jake has actually learned a bit about the game!  He is dribbling better and getting in there more to try and get the ball.  If he hears his name though, his attention turns to the sidelines and away from the game.  Guess we can’t yell, “Go Jake!”  LOL! 

We had lunch at a local hot dog joint where my 4 YO flirts with some female soccer players of the 10 YO age range and then we went home for a break before going for dinner with friends.   We’d just gotten home and my dad came knocking!  He was in town for training, as he has a weekend coming up where he will be spending four days at a local prison with the ministry he’s a part of.  He said he couldn’t just drive on by and had to stop and see Jake for a while.  Of course, that ended up in some fun for Jake.  Papa and he boxed and tickled, and rough-housed until it was time for Jake to have his bath.  My dad laughed about how sticky and sweaty Jake was from his soccer game and it was a hoot seeing my dad try to get Jake’s shin guards and sock off.  I love watching my dad with Jake.  He’s so good with him and Jake really loves him.

As we were getting things ready to go to Mandy and Lisa’s for dinner, it started to rain and the wind really picked up.  It had gotten so dark so quickly.  I was in the kitchen preparing a side dish to take with us when the hail started.  It was incredible how fast it started and how much came down!  Now, this was nothing like the hail storm I was in a few years ago where baseball sized hail did almost $4,000 in damage to my car, but it was pretty spectacular.  It fell in such quantity and so fast that you couldn’t take your eyes off it.  When I looked out the front door, it actually looked as if someone was on our roof, pouring ice out of bucket onto our front steps.   When it finally stopped, it had made a mess of our planting beds right at the door, pushing the dirt out into the walkway.  How remarkable Mother Nature is with a wind and hail storm one instant and the next the sun is shining and the rain is evaporating as steam from the roads. 

If you’ve been reading, you know that Lisa is the friend I’ve reunited with.  Every time I get to visit with her it just secures the fact that I made the right decision to contact her and makes me even more grateful that I did.  Plus, I had not seen Pat laugh as much in a while.  It was a great time.  We had wonderfully grilled chicken, fresh corn on the cob, the potato dish I made, and a cucumber/tomato salad.  Jake played the Wii with Lisa’s niece, Haleigh, and he had a blast sitting at the “kids'” table talking to Haleigh and her friend as if he were a 10-YO, too. 

Today, I’m working, but at least I’ve had a fun weekend to take me back into the work week.  I hope you all had as nice a weekend as we did, and a great week ahead!

 

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It’s My Birthday!

Yep, #44 and I can’t believe it.  My dad and I were talking yesterday about how if we were the age we “think” we are, we’d be wide open with energy!  Between the two of us, our aches and pains keep us from moving as fast as we used to! LOL!

I have such a wonderful family and they always make my birthday so special.  Birthday wishes come in the form of e-mail, cards in the mail with a little green inside (always nice), and special gifts like I received yesterday.  My mom came by and took Jake with her for the afternoon.  When they finally got back here, he was so proud to bring in a gift bag.  He picked out these things for me.  Too sweet is my baby!

Of course, he also came home with Jonah and The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything movies for himself.  The little stinker. 

My mom came by again today and brought me beautiful linen capris in a pretty salmon color and a shirt to go with.  Can’t wait to wear them!

It’s also so great to have the friends I do, the local close friends I have and my super great TallyScrapper friends.  TopTally Christine called me this morning with sweet birthday wishes and everyone has done so on the board this morning.  Love you all, Tally Gals!!  Sweet Minda even gave me a little spotlight on her blog! http://mindakms.typepad.com/  I so want to meet this wonderful lady!  Thank you, Minda!

I guess I seem boastful about all the wonderful people in my life, but I’m actually celebrating them!  Love you all!

 

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Mid Week Blahs or Age 44?

Man! I am feeling low today!  It’s weird because it started Monday and seems to be getting worse as the week goes on.   I’m sure it’s the overwhelming amount of things I have to get done and the fact that I can’t seem to get ahead on any of it.  Being so sleepy I could literally lay down on the floor here in my office and sleep until tomorrow morning does not help at all.  I guess it could be that I turn 44 on Friday and boy does that number seem kind of high! LOL!  I was just thinking how nice it was to be 29 and POP! my bubble burst. 

Do you feel your age?  I don’t really.  Of course, I have some physical things going on that I could live without like back pain and carpal tunnel and stiff joints, but I’m 29 still in my head dammit! 

Whatever it may be causing these feelings of yuck, I hope it goes away soon.  And don’t say perimenopausal to me either!

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