71 Days

What I did during my summer vacation…

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Day 56 – Read The Chaperone!

Enjoyed a great book club this evening after reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, a book I’d highly recommend. It was great to discuss a book we’d all enjoyed and I could have talked about it for hours. One of my favorite quotes in the book is when the main character realizes she is grateful for the friendship of a man she despised only a few years earlier; “she was grateful life could be long.”  An eloquent reminder that, “this too shall pass,” and there are many happy endings.

The book looked at several women in the 1920s and I can say that I would have undoubtedly been in prison or an insane asylum (the corsets alone were killer) if I had lived at that time. I am grateful to live at a great time in our country and in the greatest country in the world. Okay, I won’t break into a riveting rendition of God Bless America, but I needed a little thankfulness in my day. So I’m done with that and I’m going to start whining about my children, husband, bunions, or impending school beginning : )

(P.S. As I googled the Chaperone for the book cover, I found many photos of what appeared to be a professional wrestler, not the Olympic kind, who must also go by this name – but rest assured, my book was not about a wrestler.)


Day 54 or 55 – I’ve lost track a little…

but today was still excellent because it was my birthday. I haven’t washed a dish or a load of clothes all day. And despite the knowledge that there is a small pile in front of the washing machine which apparently is invisible to everyone in my family, I’m not washing any clothes before the day is over. Really, I’m not, and I’m going to remember that my family’s strengths may not be in seeing the dirt, laundry or other things begging to be cleaned like I do. It’s not a moral weakness, and I’m going to celebrate their strengths and willingness to make this day special, starting with coffee in the morning (thanks Jeff), a yummy bowl of salsa to take to my parents’ house for lunch (thanks Katie – who’s mastered salsa), and even a super t-shirt gift from Jake (in the right size even!).

I have a super family including my parents who fed us all wonderfully with fried catfish, cole slaw and even delicious chocolate cake for dessert! Life is good, and 45 is wonderful.


Day 53: busy day and picking up camp girl tomorrow

Katie’s coming home tomorrow from her 4th year at Camp Gravatt in Aiken. Yippee! Missed her and I’ll be glad to have all of my chicks back in the nest for another three weeks before Jake goes to school.
If you’re looking for something fun to do tomorrow, check out The Cottage’s grand opening. This new handcraft mecca is on Pinckney Street near T.W, Graham’s. Beautiful artwork at affordable prices. The best organic cleaning products and organic sugar scrubbs made by Jamie and Laundry Fairy laundry detergent made by me!


Day 52 – Bus Trip to Nowhere

Not nowhere, really, but Wal-Mart. But does that really count as somewhere? I think not. But there is a Wild Wings and Kohl’s nearby, so it was my destination today.

I enjoyed a very tranquil and enjoyable (and cool – that’s saying something) ride from the Robert Ashley Boat Landing of McClellanville to the Wal-Mart of Mount Pleasant. I caught the 10:15 bus with Mr. Dave and was the first and only rider until we picked up Ms. Liza near Buck Hall. Before that, I was able to have a nice conversation with Mr. Dave of Ohio (but he seems much nicer than most Ohio folks, really) about his many careers including fast food management and teaching. His retirement job is driving the bus, and he knew everybody’s name when he picked them up, although I suspect Ms. Liza is his favorite, and vice versa! Dave did tell me that the bus route he drives in the morning (starting at 5:00 a.m.) has increased 25% each month for the past 2 years. Sounds like the McClellanville route is safe from cutbacks and that is great. At least one thing is safe!

The ride was no more than an hour, but I didn’t think to check the time. At many of the stops, there was no one, so we just cruised through. I didn’t realize until I looked at the routes that Tri-County Link is a Flag Stop system meaning that if you’re anywhere on the route, the bus will pull over if you flag it down in a safe location. So if you can walk to Pinckney Street, Highway 17, or Seewee Road, you can catch a bus, and get to the world even past Wal-Mart with a transfer to the CARTA route (maybe I’ll try that on a Saturday.) I was very impressed with the service, and looked forward to my ride home when we arrived at Wal-Mart.

I had two hours to kill and didn’t have to drive anywhere. So I cruised through Wal-Mart, bought some craft supplies which were light and small. I had brought one of my foldable shopping bags thinking ahead to transporting purchases. I don’t care who you are or how young, rich or cute you are, you cannot look attractive carrying a Wal-Mart plastic bag. I had my tasteful green foldable shopping bag and I was prepared, baby! So off I went to see what was at Kohl’s. My friend Jamie was going to meet me for lunch, but I still had 30 minutes or so to kill. I crossed the vast desert/parking lot that separates Wal-Mart from everywhere and in the moderate noon-day 99 degree heat, I was only sweating a little bit (not).

Kohl’s was a bargain mecca and I soon had an armful of bargains for back-to-school. It did enter my head, thought, that I should not purchase more than I wanted to carry across the desert/Wal-Mart parking lot to ride the bus home, so I asked a cashier to hold my items in hopes that I’d be back this weekend to pick up.

Lunch with Jamie and kids was yummy and I was also able to imbibe in some alcoholic libations since I WASN’T DRIVING! Ginger wings and Corona Light, yum…Jamie gave me a ride back to my stop in time for the 1:47 return. However, as I look at my route I saved on the i-phone, I see it was 1:27 return. So, guess what? I missed my ride home. Jamie was great and the kids were beginning to doze off, so she was my ride home. I so should have given her the $2.25 fare for a great ride with pleasant conversation.

Bottom Line: Know the bus route/times, and have a backup plan (like fantastic friends near where you’re going), but I would definitely recommend the LINK bus for anyone else. It also had WiFi so you don’t have to chat with Mr. Dave if you’d like to tune out and smart phone your ride away. I enjoyed the chat, but that’s me. I’m so excited I took this adventure — it’s not bungee jumping, but who else has ridden?


Day 51 – Biking & Enjoying

20120725-222705.jpgEnjoyed a great bike ride today to lunch – always great to exercise when a cheeseburger waits for you at your destination. And I escaped the scary gargoyles on the way. I also worked at my school for a little while. It’s nice to ease into going back to work and it was great to see other teachers and discuss great plans for the new school year. Looking forward to lots of fun with our new after-school program I’ll be working on.

I truly am lucky to have the best job in the school!

*Also greatly enjoying reading our Book club selection, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – other than misplacing it this evening and tearing my house apart looking for it, it has been a great read.


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Day 50 – No more horn at our house

Katie after she serenaded Jeff with happy birthday to you on Jeff’s Birthday cruise two years ago.

After two years serving our time as Cario’s band parents, Katie decided she wanted to do chorus and quit band.  I’ll miss her practice sessions (a tiny little bit), and band concerts (bleacher butt rocks). Okay, who am I kidding? I did a little happy dance in Music and More when I received the receipt and knew I could spend that $40 a month on something more useful, like exotic underwear and candy — Jake actually wrote that in one of his thank you notes to a friend who appreciates his sense of humor, so I thought I’d share/copy for myself! But really, every little bit helps!

I was thinking on my way home about our family’s record with musical instruments and I have to say my apples haven’t fallen far from the tree. My mother made my brother and I take piano lessons when my grandmother bought us a piano. I endured it for the required year and quit as soon as mom said I could. Katie took viola lessons ($38 a month rental for a year, thank you very much), then trumpet. Jake also took several months of bagpipe lessons. Luckily, with a bagpipe, you buy a $100 recorder looking thingy, and then can rent a bagpipe once you have learned some tunes on the recorder thingy. In his defense, he was taking lessons from a Citadel cadet who seemed to take Jake’s lack of progress as a personal attack. For a ginger, he was a bit grumpy, and the Citadel is on my way nowhere – so I danced a little jig when that was over too.

Jeff, on the other hand, took guitar lessons in seventh grade and can still play it rather well. He hasn’t taught the kids, but we have 3 guitars and high hopes. We just need a blizzard with no power and we might just form a guitar trio or quatro? of Livingston/Masseys.

So my children have not learned to play a musical instrument, but as I like to do, I’m spinning this in a positive way. They don’t mind a bit starting something new. And I kind of like that. Katie can play the trumpet; it was fun, but chorus was more fun, so that’s what she wants to do. Jake wanted to try the bagpipe and he did. It was more difficult and less enjoyable than he thought it was going to be so he quit. I don’t think quitting is always a negative. I remember a particular talent-less dance teacher in Georgetown when Katie was four-years-old. After the first two dance lessons, Katie didn’t want to go. I bribed her with ice cream for a couple of lessons, but then decided that it wasn’t worth tears to make a four-year-old go to dance. I spoke to the teacher and said Katie wasn’t going to take dance anymore. The teacher proceeded to lecture me on why it was important for her not to quit and if I let her quit, she’d quit everything. I was a little taken aback, shamefaced in my acceptance of Katie’s quitting without putting up a fight. But as I usually do, after it was over, I thought about why it was okay to quit. I also thought that maybe Ms. Dance with Big Butt wanted her $15 a week. But that’s another story. There are some things in our family that are optional and some that are not. Tap dancing is definitely not required to be happy or successful so it’s optional. Tooth brushing, going to school, being nice and helping around the house are required. I’m just glad we continue to try new things and see what happens.


Day 49 – Mommy Para Dig Em (paradigm)

I’ve been a little lax a lately in my blog writing, but I’ve been doing more thinking, which a good writer would always do before she wrote – but why change a good thing. One cause for my considerable thought is a conversation I had with a friend as we’re preparing to send our daughters to camp. We were both commiserating about the cost of camp, and how we wished we could go to camp – heavy sigh – don’t we all! And we began talking about what  we would do without our kids. There would be more free time and uncommitted money without a doubt. But I thought being kidless would be a good thing to write about. Since Katie is at Camp Gravatt, I’ve put my chauffeur cap up and have more time for writing.

And that is really where my thinking stopped. My brain cannot wrap itself around the idea of not having children. It’s like imagining what I would do with my day if gravity ceased to exist or my freckles disappeared.  It is inconceivable to consider.  So I decided that really wasn’t a bad thing. I don’t think it’s a lack of imagination as much as a lack of desire. Why do I need to consider my life without children? They’re both an age that I don’t need to think/do/be with them every minute of the day, so I can have a life other than being mommy, but my mommy life is always an overlay on whatever else I do.  Educatorese would call that a paradigm (pronounced pair-o-dime not para dig em like I originally thought when I read this in my educator handbooks – just hoping to spare you some potential embarrassment. )

I digress with my paradigm pronunciation lesson . The point is I do have a week of Katie-free time, so I started off today with a cleaning frenzy – the downstairs anyway. As long as we don’t eat, wear clothes or go to the bathroom, my house will stay clean! Yippee. I’m starting off the not eating thing by going out tonight with some dear friends who taught with me at McClellanville Middle.  Glad J.B. still likes my southern pronunciations!

School planning is starting to enter my thinking as well. The idea that I’ll need to get up again at the ungodly hour of 6:30, plan lessons, teach, organize and get my library going is not exactly welcome, but I’m working my way around to that. One reason I’m not bursting with excitement is one of my favorite teacher friends is going to another school next year. Most mornings, I began my day with Jamie passing through my library saying, “good morning Beautiful.”  You can’t start your morning much better than that – but sometimes she’d even bring me special treats like country ham biscuits from Sewee Outpost.  I’m glad she’s moving on to what I think will be greener pastures, but I’ll miss her and her two great kids who came to storytime every week from Rising Star day care center next door.

With my Katie-free week I’m planning some great adventures like riding the CARTA link bus from McClellanville to Mount Pleasant and visiting our newest art/gift store. I previewed it this week and it’s fabulous! Check out my blog later this week to read about these adventures.

Day 46 – sunset kayak

And Jeff managed to spend some time on White Wing wearing his boot…on the road to recovery!


Day 45 – creativity abounds

Today was a fun-filled creative day, and I had to show off my project. I made this bag out of a patio umbrella I rescued from an IOP trash can while we were there last week. I do so love creative recycling. The best part of this project is I have enough fabric to make one more small bag and more large bags. Yippee!
You might be thinking that I could buy a similar bag for a whole dollar, maybe even two, but you’d be missing the point. I kept one more thing out of the garbage and made something unique. I’ll count it a success. Now I’m going to eat my supper on a paper plate and have a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup–not.

Day 44 – My son got a tattoo

And I’ve decided not to freak out. I actually really love the choice he made, Max from Where the Wild Things Are. If I were an 18-year-old, I think I might have chosen something similar. My librarian heart is a little proud that he chose a much-loved literary character. So I begrudgingly gave him my blessing and asked him to pinky swear not to add any more tattoos, gauges or otherwise permanently disfigure himself further. He laughed off my repeated requests, but I’m crossing my fingers and saying my prayers. I’m thinking a nice Junie B. Jones butt hat would look spectacular on me. Jeff has always been more of a C.S. Lewis guy, so i’m not sure what we should embroider in blood on his body.
The bottom line is I love Jake and respect his decisions, even when I’m cringing on the inside. I’m sure when I get my Junie B. tattoo, I’ll understand his motivation more. And if anyone sees Jake at a piercing parlor, you have my permission to crash your car through the front windows. I can only be so cool.


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