Sunday, June 22, 2014

Things That Fill My Heart

For the third weekend in a row, things didn't go according to plan, but still ended up wonderful.

  • I didn't get to have lunch in Newport on the Most Perfect Day to Be on an Island Ever Created, but I still got to spend my work day on an island with a harbor full of sailboats.  Beats spending a day in the warehouse, hands down.

  • My Personal Chef and I  found that we are the last people in town to have discovered the charm that is Alicante, the local Mediterranean restaurant. Recognizing at least six couples, making friends at the bar, and getting the ahi tuna I missed out on at Friday's lunch was delightful.

Photo: Alicante Restaurant

  • Through hard work, I remembered that when the weeds are relocated from the perennial beds, our front yard is beautiful.

  • There's just something about a new salad spinner that makes the boys in my life (including the 52-year-old) giddy.
  • There's just something about fresh greens from the garden to put in the new salad spinner that makes me giddy.

  • I just love hanging clothes on the line to dry. 

  • There is nothing like spending a few quiet hours in my kayak on the river. 
  • There is nothing like spending a few loud hours with my first born at a concert.
  • I love being married to a guy that is so terrific that my first born had to find herself a guy just like him.  And has. And twinkles when she talks about him.

  • After days of hot weather, it was cool enough to bake banana bread today.  I bet anything that my house smells better than yours does right now.
  • While the banana bread was baking, I got to lounge around in the screen porch and finish reading a book that the Evil Genius recommended to me. I love to read.  I love having children who want me to read what they're reading.  I love that they have such good taste in books.  (This time, it was "Bloody Times" a nonfiction book recounting the final days of the presidencies--and lives--of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Fascinating stuff.)

I hope you found plenty to fill your heart this weekend!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Boys Are Dumb, Don't Date A Plumber, and Other Things I Learned from My Father

     My father wasn't prone to giving advice.  

 He did once point out to me that if I didn't leave all of my crap on the floor in front of the door when I get home from school, then my Mama wouldn't come home from work a few minutes later and yell at me for leaving a mess. (Why I couldn't figure this out myself, because it happened EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. says something about me that I'm not particularly proud of.)

Other gems of fatherly wisdom:

"If you didn't do the job right [his way], then the job isn't done."

I have found those very words coming out of my mouth as I'm standing in a room that one of my children insists they just cleaned  that is still full of wet towels, wrinkled school papers, and dog-hair tumbleweeds.

"Go to college so you don't have to work outside in bad weather doing manual labor like your Old Man."

I remembered these words fondly as I was standing in a church parking lot during a monsoon moving 50 lb. bags of potatoes and crates of produce around in preparation for a farmers' market for food pantry clients. I didn't learn about this in college, I tell you what.

"There is nothing wrong with working in the service sector, but if you are going to be a waitress, work at the 5-star hotel on Nantucket, not at the diner in South Podunk."

This served me well, as I waitressed my way through college and the early years of my professional career when my entry level salary needed some reinforcing.  Working banquets at a PGA golf club was WAY better than my gig at the pizza place.

"Don't date a plumber.  They'll put their hands in anything and I don't want them touching you later."

This just makes me laugh. Especially when you realize that he advised my brother to consider BECOMING a plumber, because it is a recession-proof trade. "People are always going to need a good plumber, Mike."

The piece of advice I have re-shared most often, though, besides the "don't date a plumber" piece was this response he gave me when I asked him what to do about a bit of boyfriend trouble:

"All men are assholes.  Even the good ones.  Once you come to accept that, you can lower your expectations and things will go more smoothly for you."

Over the years, I have edited that to "Boys are dumb," because there are some situations where referring to someone as an asshole (like at a women's Bible study) isn't kosher.  It's actually a corollary to my training in developmentally appropriate practice, where early childhood professionals are cautioned to not expect a child to behave in a way they are not yet developed enough to manage.  Don't expect a child (man) to know something he hasn't yet been taught.   Don't expect a child (man) to be someone he isn't.  Don't expect a boy (man) to behave like a girl (woman.)

My father died almost four years ago, but the lessons he left behind stay with me. Thanks, Dad, Sir.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Things That Have Kept Me From Writing a More Serious Post

  • Learning how to tie bow ties.
  • The Evil Genius' induction into the National Junior Honor Society

  • Discovering great Portuguese food at lunch with Thing 1 and my cousin
  • Trying out the boyos' new bicycles 

  • Celebrating Smarty Pants Sons at dinner with old friends  
  • Making new ones while we were at it
  • Unexpected company making a surprise morning visit
  • Kayaking on the Blackstone River

  • Sitting in the hot tub
  • Grilling for dinner
  • Fielding questions about smoking meat from across the country
It's a good list.  It's been a good few days.  Tomorrow there's brunch with my sisterfriends, and coffee & jazz with my teacherfriend, and other such niftiness on the docket.  I wouldn't trade a minute of it for a Pulitzer-worthy article. 

How have you joyed today?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Return of the Summer of Awesomeness To Do List

     After starting a mama movement yesterday, I took the Evil Genius for a long walk at a local state park.  When he finally stopped complaining about being pulled away from video games (it only took a mile and a half), we could get down to business.  Today is June 1st.  Summer is practically upon us.  So together, we began drafting this year's Summer of Awesomeness To Do List.

     For those of you who missed it, the original Summer of Awesomeness To Do List came about during the week following the Boston Marathon Bombings last year, when I was in Rwanda and the Evil Genius found himself basically stuck in the house during his school vacation week.  You can read about it hereand here,  oh, and here.  Here, too! This one is a bit silly.  I am deadly serious about this one.  There's pressure to top this.  And finally, there is this.

So far we are going to shoot for:

  • Getting the kayaks out on the ocean, because somehow, we never did last summer.
  • Going strawberry picking.
  • Making jelly after we get back from strawberry picking.
  • The Evil Genius wants to get a job, because boats are really just holes in the water a boy pours money into, and the Evil Genius is sorely addicted to having a boat.
  • The Evil Genius will be returning to Popham Beach with his best friends.
  • The FabFam will reunite on the Cape again in August with all the awesomeness that goes with it.
  • My Personal Chef and I hope to experiment with espaliering apple trees along our garden fence.
  • Thing 1 will be feted at TWO graduation parties--one at the lakehouse in NH.  One here at home.
  • Thing 2 hopes to move out into his first apartment.
  • I want to take the GRE so I can return to graduate school.  Again.
  • Trekking to Tanglewood.  It's one of the FabFam's happy places.
  • Pulling together the Second Annual Family Photoshoot Fandango.
  • Getting to at least 3 museums.
  • Hiking 5 new trails.
  • Trying out at least 3 new restaurants in Boston, Worcester, and Providence.
There is sure to be more added as we go along. Drafting the list is part of the fun.  What's on your list?