Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I just finished reading an article in the one and only magazine that I subscribe to, More-for Woman of Style and Substance, http://www.more.com. Time to Move AWAY FROM HOME? by Lesley Jane Seymour, Editor-in-Chief. It was all about home, not just a physical place, but the place that calls to our heart, the place where memories are made.

What do your remember about your childhood home? Was it just a space to go home after the school day or was it much more?

I grew up in a very small town, and to this day, the population has not grown by much. There are a few remaining landmarks, the elementary school where I spent my first 5 years, the old gym, a marker that marks the spot of the old high school that stood for over 50 years, the one and only church in town, and the old gas station, which is now a house. The first house I first called home, consisted of four rooms: a kitchen, a living room, and two bedrooms. My two brothers and I shared one room and my parents the other. Since there was no indoor plumbing and no bathroom, an outhouse at the back of the yard served as our bathroom. We took baths in the sink until we outgrew and moved to a double washtub. There were two heating stoves in the house, one in the kitchen and one in the living room. I remember that there was always a pot of water on each to keep the air moist and when all the water evaporated, it left a white ring around the inside rim. My father attempted to add on a bedroom for the boys as well as a bathroom, but never finished it for whatever reason. The "bathroom" ended up being my bedroom as a teen-ager and the shell of the bedroom become out playhouse. In the backyard there was a garden on the opposite side and also a shed, which we claimed as ours, that is when our father was no where around. I remember smoking my first cigar with my middle brother behind that shed and how sick we got. Beyond our back yard was the world, or so we thought and we would go into the woods and find an adventure. That's the physical place that I called home.

My parents divorced when I was 11 or 12 and so we moved in with my maternal Grandmother's old house. This was the same one that my Mother experienced her high school years at and one where I finally got my own room. The ceilings and walls were painted with this drab green and both were covered with all kinds of grafitti. I would spend many a night just staring up at the ceilings reading the words and wondered what those walls saw and heard.

I moved in my senior year to the "city" and this time I really did have a room to call my own. Finally I could be free to express myself, but most of all felt like I really found a place to call home. I had a couple of friends the last year I stayed in that house, a new one that I had met at my new high school and one that I become friends with in the 8th grade. We would spend many a night staying up late talking and giggeling, talking about so and so and you know what so and so said. On Saturday nights, we had family night. We would make homemade pizza and play a variety of board games. Sometimes we won, but most of the time, my Step-Dad did. We always said he cheated, but now I know it was just skill.

Eighteen years ago this halloween, we closed on the house we now call home. These walls have heard and seen a lot of things. Two babies grew up in this house. Eighteen years of holidays, family gatherings, and a place for my children to call "home." Now that my husband and I are moving closer and closer to an empty nest, we too have thought of downsizing. Not by any means that our home is huge, but the more and more I think how empty it it will be in a few years, the more I want to compress the space. But then I think about the next generation to come - grandchildren. Yes I can wait, patiently, for the pitter patter of little feet with little arms raised saying "pick me up I need a hug and a kiss" and to hear those sweet little words "I love you Grandma," I think for now, I can look forward to these next few years as we watch the memories unfold in front of us. I'm looking forward to growing old with my Hunny Bunny, sitting on the back porch watching the sun come up and go down, to the phone ringing, and hearing the voices of my grown married children as they bring us up to speed on their life happenings.

My mother seet me one of those little inspirational cards to calm my homesick heart during my first duty station, that simply said "Home is where the heart is." I've kept that little card as a reminder that it doesn't matter what kind of a house that I live it, but rather it is the occupants that make the living worth while.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Does He (do they) See In Me

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I talk to myself, A LOT. I also answer myself, A LOT. Sometimes in public, in the comfort of my own home, or whilst driving to and fro from whereever I happen to be going. Sometimes I have the music going, sometimes I don't, but most of the time, there is music blaring from the dashboard. I've been told by my YOUNGER chiltlins, that I play my music too loud, well they haven't started the Cashman's van in the morning! About blew my eardrums out the other day when I started his car for him. It was soooo loud, that you could hear the music with the doors shut.

It was one of the days, a work morning to be exact and I was just driving along, radio cranked to my fav Christian radio station and jamming, or fist pumping as the young-uns say, to the music. "This is my brand new day, starting right now..." not sure who the girl who sings this song is, but she sings it better than I do. Anyway, about 10 minutes into my drive, here I am, oh yeah it was this past Friday, jean day, no makeup, hair pulled up in a ponytail and just earrings, pink, to match my nice pink sweater and my socks. On my way to work just me and the car and my coffee. I stop at a stop light, and over to the right of me I catch sight of this guy in a beat up truck, just waving at me. At first it looked like someone I knew and then after I waved back, I realized, I didn't know who the heck this person was. But it was too late and whatever he read in that little wave, well what transpired over the next minutes, really made me think.

As I continued on my way, I could see out of the corner of my eye that the little black truck with Mr. Friendly was keeping right up with me. You know, like if you see a friend of yours and the two of you ride side-by-side down the road and carry on a car-to-car conversation. To test my therory, I sped up, then he sped up. I would slow down, and you guessed it, he slowed down. I kept this up for a bit until finally I was able to block him behind a car in front of him, and made my escape. Oh the thoughts that went through my mind! What if he is some psycho and follows me all the way to work? Should I make a run for the Sherriff's office or I was close enough to make it to the court house. I sighed a breath of relief when the little black truck with Mr. Smiley turned in the opposite direction!

That's when I lost it! At first I was scared and vowed not to ever ever again wave at another car unless I absolutely knew who was behind the wheel. The fact that it was a guy made it even creepier. But, as many of you know, when life hands me lemons, well I make lemonade. So I started thinking about this and if that is others see me, what is God looking at? I know that we are supposed to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, but what if other's are looking? Does that make the song sweeter, or just make you look silly? I'm not sure about that, but I'm not gonna stop talking to myself or singing at the top of my lungs...especially when I am by myself!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Okay so I started exercising, no seriously I hear you laughing! I have a personal trainer, that sounds so well you know, elegant, snobby? Anyway, I am in the 2.5 week of the program and I have found muscles I didn't know existed except in my Anatomy Book, and ones that I thought were gone a long time ago.

I am pretty much a creature of habit. When I find something (food, clothes, food, books, did I say food) I pretty much stick with what works. I'm not a risk taker by any means, in my job I manage the program risks, but in my life the only risk I ever take is getting out of bed.

Well last week I entered the local fitness center with determination and a goal in mind - 30 minutes on the treadmill; I didn't have to meet with my trainer, but I had to workout. Part of the program is to work out at least three times a week, which is rice-cake easy for me. Oooo I love rice cakes with peanut butter on them. Food and shiny object distract me.

I signed in, made small talk with the "receptionist" and proceeded to where the treadmills were located. Noticing that one of three that I knew how to work was out of order, andthe other two were already taken, I went back to the front desk to get assistance. However before we could get back to the only open machine, someone stepped right in front of us and it became occupied! There went my motivation and most of all determination to work out. "I guess I will have to wait or maybe come back later" yeah right, "No let me show you how to work this beauty" John said. "I love this machine and it's easy on your knees." "Really" I said. "Well I will try anything once." Well not anything...I do have my limits.

Well "John" the receptionist, set me up for 30 minutes, on the very lowest lever, of the eliptical. Two minutes in, I was ready to give up. My gluteous maximus began to burn and my calfs felt like they would snap! He said to try going 5 minutes in one direction then 5 in the other and maintain that pattern throughout the 30 minutes. I couldn't even make it through 2 minutes much less fifteen each direction. Well then determination began to surface and not wanting to let anyone down, I decided to give it 5 more minutes and then if a treadmill was open by then, I would make the switch.

If you have never used an eliptical machine, I highly recommend it! It was the best workout I have ever had, besides an aerobic class. By the time I was finished, I was sweating, and yes I could walk. I even managed to walk without teatering to my car. After all, there were people everywhere and I didn't want to seem like a wimp!

Fast forward twenty-four (24) hours later. I made it through the night, with the help of Aleve, I love Aleve, I have stock in it now that I have entered my second half century! I sit most of the day at work, only getting up to retreive something from the printer or to take a personal needs break. Well, half way through the day, I start to make one of those trips, and my determination disagreed with me and told me to sit back down! When I did, my gluteous maximus screamed at me and made me stand up. So for ten or so minutes, I played this up and down game until I could take a step.

Isn't it like that when we are trying to do what God wants us to do? We have a plan all laid out how we are going to accomplish the task, then all of the sudden, wham! God sends us in a different direction, and we are left rubbing our sore "spiritial muscles" until God applies the soothing balm to our aching soul. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of this. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

For someone who is a planner and a fixer, believing this verse was hard for me until I did one thing: I grabbed a hold of those handle bars on the eliptical and gave it my all!