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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Today I realized summer is ALMOST OVER! I hadn't realized this until it came up in conversation that our county fair was taking place next week. Shut up. I know what you're thinking. Yes, we attend the county fair. It is filled with the town's elite members of society. Plus, I need an oversized hunter green Fleet Farm shirt for those "special occasions." Yikes. Whatever. The kids enjoy going. I load them up on hand sanitizer and forbid them to ride any of the death traps operated by meth addicts. And we eat lots of healthy fried food. DROOLING. Gut hurting in anticipation...

Anywho, the fair coming to town has always marked the ending of summer. School supplies are back in the stores. Actually, they were putting school supplies out in stores just after the 4th. I scoffed at them like I would never need to buy them. Psh. Learning stuff. It's July. PUH-LEASE.

But NOW, I realize that we have been bit too lackadaisical in the learning department this summer. I had big plans to keep a schedule. I purchased workbooks and developed a routine to keep my kid's creative little minds all a buzz with knowledge.

Somewhere between the last day of school and the first beach worthy day that plan went out the window.

Crap parent. Dang.

It's not like I intentionally threw the plan out the window. It's just that riding bike, playing baseball, getting filthy head to toe took precedence over the crappy workbooks that I planned to supplement class time with. Also, to be fair, I live in the land of 10,000 lakes. Not just a couple. 10,000. So...temptation when it's 97 degrees out is always there. And when I get home from work and we are all so hot we want to kill anything that moves, we are going to choose beach over addition any day. The beach. *Goes to happy place.* This is where you will find me soaking up the sun with one eye on a gossip magazine, and the other eye on happy children kicking over each other's sandcastles. Bliss. I figured we had plenty of time for math when it is 80 million degrees below zero and I need an excuse not to shovel.

 I did get the workbooks out once. When we went on a road trip and I needed time killers. But, unless 8 divided by 2 really is a fantastic rendition of the family dog drawn by Sassy Girl, I don't believe they were used for much more then a color book.

We DO read every night. Always have. I am hoping this keeps their tiny brains stimulated at least a little. But, it is time to kick it up a notch. I will NOT send my kid to school knowing nothing more then the exact amount of time you can go before reapplying sunscreen. Time to wind down this summer and get down to business.

Instead of workbooks, (since they are now covered in multi-colored stick people, and sibling revenge notes)what are some other activities for engaging children during the summer months?

Send me your ideas parents! I need to make up for two months of slacking!!! I don't believe I will get any ideas at the county fair...just a hunch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Sad Day in History

Another shocking story was reported this morning. Colorado. 12 dead. 59 injured. Words like massacre ringing in my ears. I feel awful just sitting here. With my coffee and family. Safe. Yet, I have that familiar numbness seeping in. Safe is an illusion once again. With every shooting. Every terrorist attack. Every report of nuclear weapons. I feel a heaviness. Paranoia creeping in, once again. The older I get, the more I internalize all of these reports of real life horrors. The more I work on dealing with them. The more I picture them ripping my family away from me. I can't help but mourn for the faces twisted in pain/fear/agony that are constantly pictured in clips cycled throughout the week. I pray. I wonder why we live in a world that this can happen. I realized my sheltered life has not prepared me or many others for these twisted surrealistic events that have taken place. Taken lives. I would be lying if I said I didn't have fears going to large events anymore. Getting on a plane. Sometimes, just going to sleep.

I immerse myself in the latest news breaks, as many of us "helpless" outsiders are doing. Names of the victims and their stories are slowly released. I instantly picture their families, friends, close ones. Me, losing someone close in an "expected" event like cancer, and knowing how traumatizing that can be, I can not imagine losing someone in such an unexpected, publicized, and shocking event. Horrifying. I can not imagine losing my child. Many of the victims in this event were very young. 

It sticks with me. I look at my children. I worry. I thank God for my babies being with me tonight. So many parents just sent their children to a movie. A harmless movie. In Columbine, so many parents just shuffled their kids off to school. On 9/11 they just went to work. Every day mundane routines. Many family members wishing they had said the words, "I love you." 

I cringe at these events bringing forth so many politicized opinions. I realize we all have our opinions. It's easy to have opinions when we are "safe" and far away from a tragedy. Guns are not, in my opinion, the issue. Parents bringing young children to a late night movie are not, in my opinion, the issue. A government conspiracy, in my opinion, is not the issue. I do not want to go into detail about the hows and whys of my opinions. They are just my opinions. And we will have enough opinions shoved down our throat in the weeks to come. Are we so quick to point the finger at all of these issues to call attention away from the fact that, yes, someone can actually do such horrific things with no remorse, or regard to human life. Things that we as "normal" thinking individuals could never imagine carrying out. Mental illness doesn't fit in neat little package with a shiny red bow tied around it.

Call me the crazy one, but I feel sadness for the family members of not only the victims in these tragedies, but also of the assailants. So many people are shouting, "An eye for an eye!" But can we really kill hatred with hatred? It's like a virus and it spreads quickly. 

Please, hold your family close tonight and every night that you can. Try not to get lost in the shuffle. We never know what moment is our last. 

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Oh, What A Night!"

Tomorrow is my last official day of vacation. I have been off work for 10 GLORIOUS days. I will be paying for it when I get back to work. If I can even see my desk under the piles of work waiting for me it will be a miracle.

Last night, several exclamation points ended my long span of vacation. In one word: RandomCraziness. Okay, that was two words mushed together, but we can just pretend it's a Twitter hashtag, right?

We had some friends in town, and we all decided to head out and enjoy an evening rocking out to awesome music. You guessed it. Captain May I was playing this weekend, and these nights always involve some sort of chaos and usually a blog post to follow. Captain Mayhem? Totally a mascot idea. I see a cape. And Macaulay Culkin. I digress. 

Soon after arriving, we are minding our own business grooving on the dance floor, and in walks (struts) a group of the most well dressed men that I have ever laid eyes on in real life. As a friend of mine put it, they were definitely of  a "southern flavor". Meaning they had green cards that the bouncer later said he wasn't entirely sure how to check...

A couple of them glide onto the dance floor and pull out moves this piece of crap bar has never seen before. You have to realize, if you do not know me, I live in a VERY small town. We don't have clubs or fancy schmancy hipster bars. We have a handful of dive bars that actually play live music. They usually smell, and the toilets are crooked. Ceiling tiles are missing and moldy. Patrons may or may not have all of their teeth. This is not a place where the Tango is performed on regular basis...

One of these dudes shoes alone probably cost more than my entire wardrobe. I'm dead serious. The air was overly saturated with expensive cologne...putting my sweaty Bath and Body Works fragrance to shame. One of these things is not like the other.

The dance floor is then surrounded by the rest of their group cheering their hip swinging, flamboyant, ascot wearing friends on. I suddenly feel like I am on "So You Think You Can Dance?" My answer to that? No. No I can not.  

One of them grabs my hand and tries to pull out some "Dancing With The Stars" crap on me. Listen "Pretty Man", I am the chick that falls UP the stairs on a regular basis. This whole trying to dance with me ain't gonna work. I let him spin me a couple times and off I scurry to watch the rest of the show they were putting on. I am more comfortable dancing with drunk old dude in the beer shirt pulling out the sweet uncoordinated robotic moves. He belongs in this bar.

Oh well. I got a tacky beer cap necklace out of the deal as a memento and a night I will never forget.

They left almost as soon as they arrived. Poof! Leaving the rest of us to utter the phrase, "WTF was that??"

Another highlight of the night on a more personal level, was my hubby danced. He says only to one song, but it was two. I was the sober one, I think I would remember. No, we didn't dance to a romantic slow jam (snark). We rocked out to some Toadies and Weezer covers. But it's a start. I didn't dance as much as I usually do...it was 180 degrees in the place and when I am hot I turn as red as a tomato. An attractive tomato. Eye roll. After wiping a gallon of sweat off of my head I decided it was time to sit a few songs out and guzzle a pitcher or two of water. I'm not talking about a few beads of sweat that could be interpreted as sexy on a woman on a dance floor. I'm talking about a wet head sweat. Yuck. Wet head. Red face. T-shirt sleeves rolled up on the shoulders.  Good grief. I'm surprised no one asked me if I was going to make it. I'm fair skinned...I can't help the fire engine look. I'm cursed. 

Last night resulted in my small town frame of mind being completely blown away. Perhaps I need to get out more...but to be honest I am terrified of what else might be lurking out there.