Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sundays in My City

<Unknown Mami
Have you heard of Unknown Miami? She has a delightful blog where she shares photos of her city on Sundays. She invites the rest of us to link up with her and share some of our own city's photos. Click on the logo to visit Sundays in My City!

Here are a few of my favorite places to visit in the city of Saint Louis. I actually live in a suburb called Wildwood, but my pictures so far have been of some of the most exciting places in the "City."

Our Botanical Gardens park spans acres and acres of lush plants, flowers, ponds, sculptures and architecture. Here is my favorite pool.

And, let's not forget the symbol of St. Louis, the Arch... a view from the riverbank!

A day at the sculpture park is filled with surprises in all sizes. Eye See You!!!!

There is so much to see at Faust Park Butterfly House in Chesterfield, my neighbors!

Hope you enjoyed your visit. If you'd like to read about and see more pictures, please visit my friend, Dawn, at BECAUSE I SAID SO. She recently brought her family for a visit and has done a fantastic job of advertising for St. Louis on her blog! I'll be back next week with more on Sundays in My City!!!

Hat Day

October 1st is Hat Day at my school. Normally, no one is allowed to wear hats at school. On Hat Day, however, it becomes a sea of colors and shapes. Who can wear the funniest, most extravagant, kookie, bright, big, small, etc., etc.? For $1, students get a sticker to wear that gives them permission to wear their hat. All of the money raised from the sale of the stickers goes to charity. It's great for the kids to feel a sense of giving, and it's great to get away with breaking a school rule!

I hate hats! I hate the hat hair I get when I wear a hat. I only own one hat, and I've never worn it anywhere. I think I will wear it on hat day! It was made for me by some very special ladies. You may have read about my time as a preschool teacher assistant. One special year, possibly when the planets were all aligned, every teacher and every assistant loved coming to work. We all worked together very well, with no one slacking off. We fed each other with humor, love, empathy and the joy of getting to play with three to five year old children (and going home without them).

During the summer, we agreed to meet at least once for a movie or a meal. One of the movies we saw together was the "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood." We loved the movie, and would relive some of the funny scenes while we were at work. We also loved to celebrate each others birthdays with cards and surprises. That year, the surprises were hats. I can't remember who received the first Ya Ya hat, but it was a hat that had been covered with small trinkets representative of the different parts of our personality, as well as, special occasions in our lives. Everything was hot glued to the hat. The items included pictures, jewelry, small toys (boats, horses, cars, babies), and pieces that represented our dreams. Eventually, everyone had a Ya Ya Hat!

If I decide to wear my hat, I know I will be setting myself up for snickers, finger pointing, and the kind of laughter that starts way down in the gut and works its way up and out of the mouth, along with what ever food and/or beverage was recently consumed. But, hey, it is just a hat, and I will have paid my one dollar. If this post is still the most current post six months from now, you will know that I suffered immense humiliation and have been committed to an institution with years of therapy ahead of me.

It's probably a good thing to keep this all hush-hush from my family... I hope to be able to let you know how much I enjoyed Hat Day!

Monday, September 21, 2009

1st Place Trophy

Here in middle America, there is a local organization for Volkswagen owners who like to show off older cars that have been restored. Well, as you know, Retro purchased a VW Bus almost two years ago and has replaced many worn interior parts with newer ones giving the car a much newer and cleaner look. He has also had work done on the mechanics (engine, transmission, and other engine parts of which I have no knowledge). Here are some before and after pictures.



This past Sunday, there was a Greek Festival at one of our public parks. The VW Club decided to gather and display all of the cars of those members who wanted to participate. It rained last Sunday, after Retro was already on the road to the park. Once he arrived, he found out the car show had been cancelled. Since there were already a few members there, they decided to just hang out and enjoy the day. The rain stopped and the VW Contest began with those who were in attendance. Since Retro was the only VW Bus at the park, he won 1st Place! How awesome is that!

He has done just about all of the work that was needed to "beautify" Ed's car, he began cruising the internet for old vw cars for sale....hence, he found this:

This little gem will belong to Katya when the interior is finished. It's a 1970 Karmann Ghia, and we lucked out with the engine components and body - both are in great shape.

I wonder what is in store for mom?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Dahling!

Thirty-three years, but who's counting? 1976 was soooooooo long ago! So much has happened; so much water under the proverbial bridge. We are still here, however, and still able to laugh at ourselves (and each other)!

It rained the night before our wedding and drizzled the morning of, our special day. We were told that rain was good luck. Well, we've had some luck, which is better than having no luck at all. I'm still breathing, he's still breathing, and our spawn are all still breathing. I guess you could call that good luck.

I'm blessed to have the life that I do. Like everyone, it hasn't always been easy. I truly believe that I am right where I am supposed to be (although sometimes I question the where) and that the people in my life have contributed to my journey in one way or another. The stretch marks, the caffeine addiction (along with the left eye twitch) and the grey hair which began in my twenties can all be traced back to those who are dearest to my heart. The contributions of the in-laws cannot be overlooked. The lesson of keeping my head down when objects were propelled across rooms and in my general vicinity, has been most important in the preservation of my head and its many transparent parts.

He's a great guy. He makes me laugh. He is really good at fixing things when they break (and I know how to break things...) He is a great provider, and doesn't mind if we have pancakes for dinner when he is out of town. He and I are both slowing down a little (thank goodness!) even though we pretend that we are not. Some nights, we actually make it through to The Tonight Show, but that doesn't happen very often. I'm happy that Leno will be on an hour earlier this season!

So I raise my glass to my hubs, and all the partners who are together, whether it's the original union, or a subsequent one. May your days be filled with love, laughter and a good therapist... or a very good scotch.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Find a Way!

Most of us don't want to acknowledge to ourselves or anyone else that we might be falling to great lows. I'll be the first to admit it! I don't want my friends or family to know about the negative thoughts I posses. I want them to think I am clever, entertaining and full of "happy" thoughts. Most people don't like to be around a depressed, worried and grumpy person. Yeah, I get really grumpy sometimes!

As a mom, I put all my energy into the well-being of my hubs and kids. I find that by getting out of myself and concentrating on others, I can temporarily avoid dealing with my stuff. Sometimes it works...for a little while. On those occasions when the moon, stars and galaxies are all in alignment, all you-know-what can hit the fan. It's either really, really good or terribly bad.

After the third child has hit his new low, I start laughing. To me, it's like a bad movie that is so bad, you can't help but think it's funny! However, movies come to an end... So, what's a mother to do? As one close to me always says, "put a rubber band around your head and snap out of it!" There is a point to that cliche.

My rubber band is that higher power out there that many of us call God. My cries have always been heard. The resolutions presented to me have not always been what I expected, but they have been forthcoming. If I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do, I go back to the source, and always come away with a workable solution.

Maybe that's why I'm writing this post. I've been out of sorts for a few weeks trying to cope with family stuff, personal stuff and so missing the beach where I would go and talk to him. It looks like my computer is my new "beach."

If you've been there, or are there now, with feelings of being trapped with no way out, try to find a "beach" of your own, where you can travel inward. It could be a place in your house, a park, a lake, or even a place of worship. I can usually feel a connection when there is plenty of light around. If I'm outdoors, the feeling can be enhanced by a breeze or distant sound. I truly believe there is always a way out, but I have to make the first move. Sometimes that move is really difficult. It helps when I imagine seeing the smiles on the faces of those close to me. I start moving for them, and end up moving for me.

I hope you find your way!

Friday, September 4, 2009

What If?

What if I had followed my dreams of becoming a dancer? Would I have made a living doing something that I loved? Did it matter that I was not a "great" dancer, but my heart told me I was? It may have mattered that one leg was 1/4" longer than the other one; it may have mattered that I would have been one of thousands at every audition; it may have mattered that most of the guys who danced back then were not interested in women. Or, maybe not?

I wonder how different things would be if I had made the cheerleading squad in high school. It was my dream to be a Pioneer cheerleader! Would I have been a slutty cheerleader? Would it have mattered that I slept around and started a family at 18? Would it have mattered that I didn't earn the silly secretarial degree from college and found that working for attorneys paid a lot more than insurance brokers? It may have mattered if I hadn't gone to college...I would not have met my hubs. It may have mattered that by not meeting my hubs, my four cherubims would belong to someone else or not belong to anyone at all. That matters to me. I'm sort of sweet on my cherubims.

Had a few things happened differently, I would not have a lot of what I have today. I would not be humbled by my imperfections or the perfection of nature; I might not have found God through a 12 step program; I would not be in awe of the fact that I managed to produce not one child, but four; and I would not be amazed that a man would stick it out with a neurotic witch like me for 33 week.

I'm glad that life happened to me as it has. No "what ifs" here!