Monday, August 30, 2010

Every Burden is a Blessing

That is what Q-bert's fortune cookie said last night, and I thought it was a perfect end to yesterday.

My Dad is a car fanatic. Seriously! I mean he comes from a family all with their own addictions, and cars are his. He owns a car restoration shop. He spends several nights a week going to cruise nights around town, and he spends nearly every weekend at a car show. So you can imagine his summers are just a giant string of car related experiences. For him they all lead up to HIS car show. He belongs to a group of other car addicts, and every summer around this time of year they host their own car show. When it started I was fairly involved with helping in many different ways (making flyers, assembling goodie bags, helping the photographer, etc.) All that changed when I had kids. They took up a lot of my time, and so I couldn't really devote any time to the car show. Until this year...

I really wanted to say NO when my Dad asked, but he never says no when I ask him for something, and so I nodded. What he was asking was kind of huge. The man who runs the photography booth at the car show was not able to do it this year, and so my Dad wanted me to do it. He gave me plenty of notice, and so I had plenty of time to dread it. And dread it I did. Every once in a while it would creep into my mind, and my stomach would tie itself into knots. It had been so long since I had even helped out at the photo booth. My only memories were of dealing with exceptionally picky car buffs. Also, the man who normally runs the booth is extremely disorganized, and I remember it being very hard to keep everything straight. So as the summer pressed on I kept praying for rain!

As it turns out my fears were totally unfounded. Thanks to my husband the tech guru organizing the picture files was a piece of cake. I also had a moment of brilliance in organizing the preview sheets. Plus, my uncle stepped up and ran the customer side of things so perfectly that I had no worries at all. Also, the picture quality was great which led to many satisfied customers. In fact, the only problem at all was that the humidity kept the pictures from drying as quickly as we would have liked. We made more money than I was expecting too; and my dear husband, who worked every bit as hard as I did, gave me all the profits to use on our house. So all my dread was for nothing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mark Twain

I read recently that Mark Twain only committed himself to writing 200 words a day. I think that is a goal even I could reach, but before I committed to it as well I wanted to check out whether it was factual or not. Unfortunately I never did find that goal stated anywhere else, but I did stumble across a biography of Twain that got me thinking.

I remember learning about Twain in college. My studies said he was a brash, racist alcoholic, but after reading this biography I realized that the motivations behind his actions make it harder to fully label him. Yes, he joined the militia to fight for the south during the civil was, but he did desert after 3 weeks and run away to neutral territory. Yes, he consorted with bohemians while trying prospecting for silver, but he was still in his 20s, and who among us would like to be judged by what we did at that age? There are many examples that can all be refuted with reasoning.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. What if all our reputations were distilled down to three little words with out any explanations allowed? What would my label be? What would I label others?

And there are my 200 words... That wasn't too hard!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Now back to our regularly scheduled broadcast

So, at the end of last "school year" I had made up my mind to be done dealing with people who just want to bitch. I will say it has worked pretty well, and that chapter of my life seems to be over. I will say that it was trial by fire, and I feel that I learned a lot and am much stronger now...

As for my great relaxing summer... well, that didn't exactly happen. Bear got asked again to be on team at her gym, and this time she was begging me to let her. I was so excited when Q-bert decided to quit competitive dance that I almost cried at the prospect of another competitive sport. Still, I couldn't crush her little dreams, and so we spent the summer at the gym. She was on the pre-team so she only had to practice 10 hours per week spread over 3 days. Yeah, I said only. As you move up through the levels the girls practice more and more; eventually, they practice for over 20 hours a week!

She loves it, and although I thought it was an awfully big time commitment, Bear was begging for more. She spent her free time doing flips on our trampoline and practicing her vault on my couch. Towards the end of the summer they decided to move her up. This was a great honor, but since we were expecting her to be on pre-team for a whole year I was thrown for a loop. Now she will be competing this year! Once again she is pleased as punch, and I am being supportive. I am really so proud of her!!!

As I mentioned earlier, Q-bert decided competitive dance is not for her (at least not right now). She is the least competitive person I know, and the past two years have nearly killed her love of dance. Luckily I think she can get that love back. We have switched to a new studio because she needed a fresh start, and I think it will be just what she needs. She has been working on choreographing a lyrical dance, and I must say it is beautiful. When it is finished we plan to help her find opportunities to perform it. She is also taking theater again this year which she is so excited about. She took it once, but her dance schedule prohibited her from ever taking it again until now. She will have several of her best friends in the class with her too. Her last activity will be at the library. They are hosting something called "Tween Scene". It is programming specifically designed for her age group. They will alternate between gaming (which she isn't sure she wants to do), crafts, writing workshops, and book club. I am not sure if she is going to like it because her favorite librarian left, but she is ready to try it.

That leaves our homeschool group...
I am not sure you would call what we have a "group". It is more of a collection of somewhat like-minded individuals who get together sometimes. Is that vague enough? My plan is to schedule some type of field trip every week, and anyone who wants to come is welcome. We are also bringing in an art teacher, a dance teacher, and possibly a Spanish teacher once a month. I am going to run a book club for the older kids too. The cool thing is that everything is ala carte. The group will not be an all or nothing endeavor. You want to come on a field trip; great, join us. Art isn't your thing; no problem, we'll see you at book club. I think that one of the problems last was that we tried to make sure every opportunity was open and enticing to every person. This year, if you want to do something, plan it and invite the rest of us. Those who want to do it will; those who don't want to won't. We don't have to do everything as a giant mass of people. At least that is my theory. We will see how it goes.

So that is where we are at. As I say every fall, my plan is to blog more regularly. I even made it look pretty to entice myself. Once again, we will see how it goes.