Friday, July 10, 2009

Daytrip Believer

We had been talking for a long time about all the places we wanted to go this summer and all the things we wanted to do. The list was long. So as the the long 4th of July holiday weekend rapidly approached, we started making our way down that list, trying to choose something that would fit our time and budget constraints.

We found that our constraints were too constraining for anything on that list.

So Big T ultimately made the call to drive up to Blowing Rock and Boone to enjoy the mountains. We left the house at about 8:30 am, made a stop for gas, stopped at Cracker Barrel to rent a book on tape, and we were off.

With very limited directions, and no solid idea of where we were going to end up, we were able to enjoy the whole trip - not just the destination part. Big T is fond of reminding us that the vacation starts when we leave the driveway, not when we get to our destination.

Since we really didn't have a set destination, there wasn't a whole lot of "are we there yet?" thankfully!! Ok, maybe a little, but that was only after many hours of driving.

We found a fun old-time general store and explored blowing rock. Then a picnic and a beautiful mountain hike along a stream lined with ferns and blooming mountain laurel.

No. This trip was all about beautiful scenery, waterfalls, perfect weather, and being together. What else could we possibly need?

ps: that's my hair in the top picture, being blown all over by the 'blowing' part of "Blowing Rock". Although it looks like I'm wearing some type of funky cowboy hat, I wasn't! just a visor.


I'm trying hard not to read anything into this, but my husband emailed me a story about a low-calorie-diet monkey study today.

There are five containers of ice cream and some three-day old chocolate chip cookies calling to me from my kitchen. I'm not hungry. But I know they are there. And I tell myself "TONIGHT you will not give in!" ...recalling last night's four-scoop shame. I woke to a pile of ants on the floor this morning because I was such a glutton that I just deposited my ice-cream dish beside the bed.

Who is this person? I had hardly gotten any of my summer clothes out of storage this year because I was so sure they would all be too big for me soon. I remember being so so motivated when the weather turned warm to "get out there and get in shape!"

It's not necessarily the weight. I've lost a few pounds...(but it always seems to come from the wrong places) I wanted fewer lumps and more curves. What I got was less of what gave me the curves, thus emphasizing the still-there lumps around my waist, and (my pet peeve): back-rolls.

It's the muscle tone. I haven't got any. I have no muscles to hold me in and up. I'm built roughly like a Twinkie.

It just shows the sad state I'm in that my work-out of choice is with senior citizens (water aerobics)...partly because I can actually survive the whole workout, partly because my vanity prevents me from walking into a real gym (they have MIRRORS in there!), and the worst part, I admit, is that my self esteem gets a boost because I'm not the saggiest one there!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sharp Dressed Man

I bought this outfit for Halibut a long time ago. I think he must have been 2 or 3. It was HUGE on him. But I liked it because it was different. The print on the vest is little rocket ships. So it went into the box of 'someday clothes'.

Well, a few weeks ago, his drawers were getting bare. The 'too small' clothes had been going out (to the huge pile in the living room waiting for my attention), but not much had been coming in. Down came the 'someday clothes' box. I was sure everything in there would still be too big. It wasn't.

He LOVES this outfit. Wants to sleep in it sometimes. I think it looks better with a white oxford shirt and black Sunday shoes--as I intended...but this kid has his own ideas: white T-shirt and Vans.

I laugh, thinking he looks like belongs in an old Backstreet Boy Video. He's already won a dance contest (at Big T's recent company picnic). Maybe I should start looking for an agent...
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 6, 2009

Park It!

We were tired from a long hike..and hungry. It was going to be a long ride home, so, as we trekked back to the parking area, I suggested we take a few minutes to make some sandwiches and eat before we started driving home. As we rounded the corner I spied a little park out of the corner of my eye and thought I would be so much nicer to have a picnic there instead of eating out of the back of the car.

The kids were off like a shot - forgetting about food altogether. I thought they were getting too old to get excited by a swing-set.... I thought.

I haven't been so impressed with a public park since ...well, ever! Don't get me wrong, we have some really nice parks where we live, but the little community park in Blowing Rock, NC really was something to write about.

It wasn't brand new - in fact, since it was in the middle of town, I think it has probably been there a long time. But it was updated and well maintained, with a climbing wall, 'fort' type structure with slides and lots of swings, a big sandbox. Tennis and basketball courts.

There were picnic tables and a gazebo, big trees for shade and plenty of benches to sit on, but no one was using them, even though it was packed with people.

Pretty standard park, right? But it wasn't. In the middle of all this activity sat a small shed. Inside the shed was a man handing out equipment: basketballs, tennis racquets, tennis balls, volleyballs, horseshoes (yes, we played a few rounds) Nice, new equipment. Not old flat balls and broken stuff.

There was no sign-in or out sheet, no ID or deposit required.

The smell of fresh baked waffle cones wafted over from the fudge and ice cream shop across the street.

At one point I looked around and marveled that such a place still existed. On the way home I lamented that I should have cause for such wonder.

I wish I had gotten more pictures, but I was too busy playing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Smarty Pants!

Well, the letter finally came in the mail late Thursday. This time he pulled off the nearly impossible feat of passing all four CPA exams on his first try, something we've heard just doesn't usually happen.

He accomplished this even as he took on extra responsibilities at work and was still a great dad.

It was a long six months - we didn't get to see much of him, and we missed him a lot. Most days he went off to work in the morning and didn't come home until after midnight. Weekends found him studying 8 or 10 hours at the UNC law library. The kids and I would take him a sandwich or pizza for lunch and dinner.

I got used to calling all the shots about just about every detail of our lives and being the one where the buck stopped...although it was exhausting(!) and I'm glad to have my partner back by my side.

I just can't help but be filled with pride for him.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Old Ladies' Hearts are all Wrinkly

The scene was like something out of a Hallmark commercial. Halibut had been having a hard time falling asleep. Every fifteen minutes or so, he would call me or Big T into his room for some reason: another hug, more water, etc...."please stay with me", "draw on my back", "just a few minutes"... . It was difficult...the getting up to go in to him part, then the leaving him part. Over and over.

After about the fifth call, I grabbed a smooth heart-shaped rock inscribed with the word "Love' on it, which sat near my bedside table. I gave it to him to hold and told him, "you can have my heart to hold and it will help you fall asleep".

A similar tactic had worked with Marlin, but there wasn't a heart-shaped rock involved. When she was little, I always had to study at night. I would usually lie down with her for a few minutes at bedtime, then I would plant a kiss on each of her palms, curl up her fists, and tell her to hold on to them tight. This always helped her go right to sleep. It also seemed to go on for years... .

So I fully expected it to work with my son. But he threw me a curve-ball. "Old ladies' hearts are all wrinkly," he stated, matter-of-factly.

Now, do you think I could just walk out of the room at that point? I'll admit, my vanity got the best of me. Instead, I ended up snuggling with him a while longer to gently probe: exactly who did he consider to be an 'old lady' and thus, "wrinkly hearted".

I learned that 'grandmas have wrinkly hearts because they have wrinkly faces,' and that mine (bless his...heart) did not fit into that category. I went to bed relieved - but not before applying an extra layer of eye cream.