Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heads down butts up and other important lessons learned

Talking to my mom the other day, I had a revelation, a big one. Well, it was for me, anyway.  I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up.  I went over summers and lived with them for a year.  So they shaped a lot of who I am.   I can still remember the silly songs my grandma sang to me that her mom sang to her.   Looking at my mom and at myself, I can see the lessons I learned that came from her parents.  

Work ethic is big in our family.  You work for what you get in life.  Always work your hardest.  Now this was never really said as much as it was modeled.   My grandpa had a job and a side job at all times.  I can remember helping to clean offices with him.   Even when he moved to NC, he still cleaned a church and sold stuff at the flea market, and that was after he retired.   Even now, he goes out there occasionally to see what is going on.   He is in pretty good health for 94.  I guess all that hard work paid off.  

If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.  This is a great rule that I have passed along to my own children.   It does not matter if it is mine or your sisters, if it does not belong to you, don’t touch it.   This is a great thing, that again was never really said, just implied.   I asked permission to play my grandma’s piano, to play in the den.   I never assumed what’s your’s is mine.   

Don’t waste money or food.   Depression era folks are big on this one.   My grandparents always had a pantry stocked with canned goods.   For a long time I thought everyone had that. Don’t take more that you can eat.  You can go back for seconds, but don’t waste.  My grandpa was an extreme couponer before it was cool, or even really a thing.   I remember trips to the store when I was able to get whatever I wanted (joys of being a grandchild), and my grandpa pulling out his huge stack of coupons.  It never occurred to me to be embarrassed, it was just how he saved more money.

Mean what you say.   Your word is your bond.  This has become an antiquated idea, but one I try to live by. I do my best to not make promises I can’t keep and to be truthful in my speech.   Being honest and trustworthy are important.

Mind your business.  You don’t tell the world your problems.   So, maybe I did not learn this one so well, seeing as how I share my life here on this blog.  Keeping your personal troubles in your own house was a big thing.   You did not tell anyone about your fight with your husband or kids.  You did not go telling everyone why you got grounded.   You kept to yourself.  

Heads down butts up.   Silly sounding but something my grandpa still says.   When walking down the street ,keep an eye out for money on the ground.   A penny saved is a penny earned.   I smile when I see my husband or my son do this.   I married well!!

I look back at the time I spent with my grandparents, listening to stories and such as happier times.   I miss my grandma but see her in my love of reading and music.   I don’t get to see my grandpa as often as I like, but I think of him when I hear my son relay the exact amount of money he has saved, and how it sucks that he is too young to get a job. I am proud to have learned the lessons of an older generation, they were hard working, family centered, and honest people, and our children could do worse than to learn these lessons.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Not stuck in a box

So, I have been reading other homeschool blogs and I am always amazed at the number of them who have had to post about socialization.  Let’s face it, you are already bucking the system if you unplug your child from the matrix, so many people figure you are going to ruin their lives by them never interacting with other people….ever.

As for me, I did deal with this.  My mom was concerned that my son would have no friends.  That he would not learn to deal with other people.   I just never worried about it.   From the time he was born, he was exposed to people of all ages.   My husband taught karate for years, and in doing so, Caleb, from an early age, had kids around from every age group, plus adults to interact with.   As a result of this, his vocabulary blossomed and he has shown an amazing ability to interact with people of all ages, at their level.

Now that is not to say he does not act his age.  Trust me, there are days when I am very aware of his 11, almost 12, years on this planet.   Watching Pokemon, or laughing over fart jokes, really reminds me he is a boy after all.   That said ,he can carry on a meaningful conversation with an adult about current events, and talk intelligently about  a wide range of subjects.   

My child is a fan of Minecraft, as a result, he interacts with people of all ages, and frankly, most assume he is much older, until they hear his voice.   This has happened on several occasions, and some of the results have been amusing.

I am not a member of any co-ops, we don’t have music lessons or other activities, but he seems to be social all the same. He knows all our neighbors, more so than my husband and I.   Having two older sisters who never played down to him, he learned early that he has to play at the level of the people he is with.  

Nope I don’t worry about if he will learn to take turns, or wait in line, or if he will learn to respect other’s beliefs, because he already does.    

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not Girly

Everyone has something they are good at.   We all have strengths and weaknesses.  I learned in my time in business that you should always point out positives before negatives, so here we go.  I can cook, I keep a neatish house, I homeschool ( this should count as a superpower).   I keep abreast of current affairs, even try to help out when I can.  Then it strikes me….I fail at being girly.  

Now, this is not a tragedy by any stretch of the imagination.  I am sure my husband is happy to not have a high maintenance wife.  Yet everytime I try, I feel like there is just a disconnect.   My toes are a mess and painting them myself usually ends up in tears.   Everytime I pick out nail polish it is the same damn color. We will not even talk about my hair style, or lack thereof.

My shoes never match my bag, and I only wear heels when I can’t get away without.   I learned a long time ago walking in heels is just not for me. I might be able to do a wedge if I try real hard. It seems everyone I know owns a Coach bag, and I just can't see spending that much on something to carry a wallet in. Hell, I carried a diaper bag for way longer just so I did not have to find a purse.

I really don’t know why this bothers me.   My husband likes how I do my makeup and hair.  He has never complained about my pony tail, or flats.  He usually says very little about how I dress.   Even when I ask…. Smart man!   

It just seems that I lack the gene to be girly.  I don’t see shoes and swoon. I don’t count a trip to Ulta as fun. I don’t get my nails done; truth be told, I am a nail biter so it is a battle for me to even have nails. I hate shopping; the thought of it makes me break out in hives.  I don’t want to deal with picking out matching clothes, and frankly I would rather find a new kitchen gadget or sofa or anything but pick out clothing.

Alas, I have to be presentable, and I am very well aware of this.   So I do my best and cross my fingers that when I leave the house I don’t look like Punky Brewster (oops just dated myself).   I only apply makeup when I think the situation calls for it, and the twice a year I am called upon to wear heels, I cringe.  

I wonder if there is a class on how to be girly.  Oh, well, I would probably fail.  I will stick to canning vegetables and making dinner, drying herbs and making laundry soap.  Things I know, things I enjoy.  Easy and comfortable, that’s me.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Sometimes I feel like no matter how hard I try, I just can’t win.  I am fighting with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia and a bad case of being a comfort eater.  I have struggled with my weight most of my adult life, and after years I am finally getting on track.  In true form, as soon as I get on track something knocks me down.  I lose ground and I have to fight back.

Walking with a friend, lifting weights and doing some core work are all part of the plan.   On the food side, I am keeping healthier choices in the house and practicing gentle eating.  I am also working on thinking before I eat.  I ask myself if I am really hungry or is there some other reason I am at the fridge.  Usually, if I get a glass of water I forget I was “hungry” and I have saved myself the calories that I would have taken in.

So today while on a family outing, I tweaked my knee.  I don’t even know what happened.   I was walking up the stairs and suddenly stabbing pain under my kneecap.  I pulled myself up the rest of the stairs and we took our seats to see the show.   I sat and wondered how long this was going to keep me down.  Then I had a thought….. I will not let this keep me down.   I am taking off today so I can give it a rest, then I will evaluate it and see how I am.   Having been down this road a few times I know not to overdo it, but I also know that you need to push yourself to get healthy.   

So for now, it’s a wait and see, along with a call to my doctors office, I guess.   

Friday, September 6, 2013

Random Reflection

Friday is exciting to me, not because it ends the work week but because it means two days with my boys.   After almost 15 years with my husband you would think I would get bored or not be excited to spend time with him.  In fact the opposite is true.  

We have lived here for almost five years.  Five years ago, my husband took a leap of faith and moved with me to North Carolina.   Three months from decision to leave California until our arrival here in Clayton, North Carolina.   The move was not easy, and the first few years were hard on all of us, but I would not change it for the world.  

When I gave up working for being a stay-at-home mom, I was sure that I was going to screw it up; but it seems that despite my shortcomings my son is learning and growing.   Our family has grown closer and stronger.   We have learned to work as a team.   What started out feeling strange now fits like the most comfortable shoe.

Our family seems to have hit a happy place.  Everyone is exercising and eating better.  My husband and I are exposing our son to all types of performance arts, and we have started homeschool grade 7.  

We have found some wonderful friends here in NC, and enjoy having people to dinner or throwing a party.  Spending time with each other is still our favorite activity.

So bring on the rest of the year.  We have things to enjoy, and time to enjoy it