Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fulfilling a Commitment

Last month Jenn and Ryan spent the week at a nearby camping location along with other students from around the state who participate in FFA events throughout the year. They both had the chance to hang out with their friends for the week making new friends, playing volleyball, tug-o-war, water-ball, canoe racing, and time learning about commitment and teamwork. Ryan and his friend, Mike, enjoyed preforming on talent night by playing guitars. Ryan had even written a song dedicated to his girlfriend that he sang that night entitled "She Smiles". All in all it was a great week for everyone.

Jenn & her friend Trish watching a volley ball game.

Mike & Ryan at talent night playing "She Smiles"

Jenn the Putt-Putt Pro

Ryan at bat in a game of "water ball"

Then earlier this month Jenn attended a leadership camp for her FFA Chapter. It is an annual trip made each year by the incoming officers team for another week's stay at the same camping site. Previous year's officers may attend, but this year it was only the current officers who would embark on the final adventure for the summer. Jenn was really excited to get to go with all of her new team, and even though she ended up going to the urgent care for pink eye, she still had fun.

One of the things that made these trips possible were the tasks that both Jenn and Ryan took on to earn the money to attend both camps. Ryan had worked this spring as a lacrosse referee and saved his money to pay for his trip this year. Jenn ended up mowing two yards, and washing cars to earn her money for the trip. One of the yards Jenn had to mow was a future commitment. Since her camp was earlier than our next trip to southwestern NC, I agreed to fund her trip until she could fulfill her commitment to mow "Mr.D" yard. She will get to do that this weekend as we are headed for a visit for a couple of days.

Ryan will stay here with his uncle to finish sanding two chairs for an order that he has committed to complete over the weekend. It's so nice to see them both sticking to the things they commit to do for others and for themselves. Now if only Ryan can find the job he'll keep, to earn the money, to save for the car and insurance, to make his life more mobile. That is one goal I am looking forward to him reaching in the very near future. Glass half full, not half empty!

Ryan & Maria Retiring Officers 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Turning Eighteen Today!

My son turns eighteen today and hopefully he will enjoy the events of the day. Though we celebrated his birthday this past weekend while his sister was here from VA, he has had surprises all week and more to come this weekend. He may attend a college football game on Saturday, and his girlfriend will be coming in on Sunday for a visit after being apart for just over two weeks. He is too excited about seeing her. He has mentioned he would like a cake just for his birthday since the cake over the weekend was for Ryan, Lisa and Steve, all who celebrated a birthday this month. I wonder if he would like a German Chocolate cake?

Happy 18th Birthday Son!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Step Away from Uniformity?

Yesterday was the first day of school and both Jenn and Ryan complied with its new dress code. It really isn't that far off from what they normally wear, but it's still annoying that it had to be implemented in the first place. It is a real shame for whatever reason, clothing has become the ruler for the character of a person. It's not surprising though. When you see young people wearing pants around the top part of their thighs causing their entire buttocks to be exposed to view, covered only by their boxers underneath, or their tops cut so low they expose more than needs to be imagined, or expose rolls of excess midsection, none of which could possibly promote a healthy self-esteem!

Let's consider for a moment the health issues of some of today's lackadaisical dress code. If you wear your underwear on the outside of your clothing, it can be quite unsanitary. Think about it! How many times have you stood in line next to someone that had bad body odor? How gross a reality would that be, to have to sit in a seat where someone like that has just been sitting? After all, high school seats are not single user property; there are multiple users in each seat in a single day! Have you ever seen the janitor cleaning off the seats in a classroom?

I can see the enforcement of a better dress code, but it can be taken to extremes. It only makes sense to have students to wear clothing that fits their bodies in a way that they don't have to worry about an item falling off, exposing private parts, or strangling the breath out of them. If a student has on clothing that covers both their private body parts and their undergarments, and the fit doesn't endanger them or others in any way; then why be so picky? What is wrong with a t-shirt with a design or logo on it? As long as it is not promoting sex, drugs, racism, prejudice, or violence, then why shouldn't they have the freedom to dress responsibly?

There seems to be some confusion about the new dress code and what is really allowed as proper attire. Why? Perhaps it was the packet sent home by the school to order "school spirit" clothing? Why? You can purchase a hooded sweat jacket, an item of clothing not allowed according to the new dress code. So what is it to be? Can you really expect the students to comply when you cannot be consistent with your guidelines?

The only way you will make a clean break from choosing to dress neatly and responsibly on your own, is to implement a uniform dress code. After all, most parochial school students wear uniforms throughout their entire lifetime in the school system, and they have survived the ultimate dress code! Even the instructors made it a "habit" to dress in uniformity.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

School Starts Tomorrow!

After a long summer vacation, or a short one for some, school will resume tomorrow morning promptly at 8:00 a.m. We spent a couple of hours today trying to find polo shirts for both Ryan and Jenn on a very limited budget. Ryan spent his birthday money on two of his three shirts, and I chipped in to get his third. Jenn was a bit harder to shop for, but after three stores she finally found one style of polo shirt in five different colors. So, we are all set for this new dress code for the time being.

They are both so angry about having to wear clothing that resembles a uniform. I can't say that I blame them, it has been difficult considering the funds are not available for them to get a wider variety of clothing. More difficult than that is the gas it takes to travel all over the triangle area to locate collared shirts for school. Maybe we'll be able to get some different styles as time progresses. The only saving grace to this dress code is that the kids can a least wear their favorite team or school t-shirts on Fridays.

Let's hope this works, otherwise there will be a lot of kids returning home tomorrow morning. Is it time for a sit-in for a bit of freedom in apparel on the high school campus?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kids!

Today we celebrated three of the four birthdays we share together in our combined families with a Mexican style dinner, followed by cake and ice cream. The day started with my oldest daughter and her husband bringing my youngest daughter home from her visit in Virginia. Since they share a birthday this month with two of our sons, we thought we'd fix a special dinner. I had already baked the cake earlier this morning, so all we had to do was pick up the ingredients and supplies for the dinner.

Then about noon my daughter called to let me know they were just leaving to head our direction, and that they would be in around dinner time. We had just pulled up at the store to get what we needed for dinner when she called again to says she had called my parents and asked if they could spend the night with them. This is a good thing since they rarely get to spend time with them. So, my mom suggested she call me and ask what our plans were for dinner.

I let her know our plans to cook them a special meal for their birthday, and mom said she had let it slip that I had fixed them a cake ... lol ... it really didn't matter if they knew. So, I called mom to ask if they would like to be treated to dinner, and if they minded if we prepared it there at their house. She asked what they could do and I asked if she could provide some ice cream for the cake. No problem as she had plenty of vanilla on hand.

We arrived with food prepped to begin cooking the meal. Since most of it was stir-fry ingredients for hot burritos, and soft and hard tacos, it was an easy chore. The guests arrived, we all enjoyed a great home cooked meal topped off with cake and ice cream, and an evening full of conversation. Surprisingly enough there were plenty of compliments from the toughest critic in the bunch, my son-in-law. Though we weren't trying to bend over backwards to please any one person, we were happy that everyone was satisfied with their dinner and the visit.

We finished cleaning up the kitchen, packed the leftovers, said our goodbyes, and headed on home for some quiet time. It was nice to spend the rest of the evening together relaxing before the hectic week ahead. My special thanks to "Mr.D" for all his great ideas, his expertise in Mexican cooking, and the time he enjoys spending with all of us. Goodness knows, I love spending time with him!

I'm looking forward to being able to bake a cake for the other birthday celebrants here shortly. Do you think the cake would survive a six hour drive? As long as there is air conditioning in the car, it should do all right. Now all I have to do is find out what their favorite flavor cake is from their dad. Oh, "Mr.Deeeeeeeee"

PS I promise not to arrange the candles on the cake backwards this time ... :P ... you had to see it to understand my thinking ... or not ... LOL!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How do you choose your multi-vitamin?

Since we are all trying to get rid of the dreaded tax season additional padding, we've been concerned about making sure we maintain our proper levels of daily supplements. Our local radio station claims to have a product that will be the ultra solution to all of your vitamin needs as well as strengthening your physical structure with a pill and little to no exercise. All right. Then there are others with equally enthusiastic promises of health and rejuvenation, what's a dieter to do? How do you choose your multi-vitamin or supplement? Do you order sight unseen, without reviewing its information, or do you take a friend's word for it, and blindly try the product?

Yesterday we were introduced to a new product, well, new to us. We decided to check out the Orovo reviews just in case it was something we could do as a team. Dieting is never easy when you do it alone, and getting healthier is paramount for us all. So, after we've all read the reviews, discussed the pros and cons, perhaps we'll give this supplement a try on our road to a slimmer, healthier us. My plan is to shed my unwanted pounds by disciplining myself to eat healthier, to eat my last meal at an earlier time, and to increase my daily physical activities. All I'll need to do then is find a supplement that works best for me, but not until I've completed a careful review.

Teenage Skin Complexions

As school is about to begin in a little over a week, Jenn and her girlfriends are making sure they get in the last bit of tanning before its time to hit the books. Though most of her friends have clear complexions, there are some that don't have that luxury. For those girls the challenge is to find a treatment that will work well with their choice of cosmetics. One in particular has had an issue with her complexion for years, but after having tried and successfully used Proactiv acne cream, she has been much more confident about her appearance. She is a beautiful young lady, and now she can relax about how she looks among her peers. Believe me, there is nothing fun about having a zit right in the middle of your nose. Been there, done that!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Who said diet pills?

It's one o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, just after lunch and before our return to the office. We've just had a wonderful plate full of home cooked southern food and someone has the fortitude to mention our weight gain as a whole at the office. The next thing you hear are suggestions for how to get that unwanted weight off. From exercise to diet pills, from surgery to starvation, you hear it all. The one thing you don't hear is a sensible plan for cutting back on the foods we eat, the sweet snacks we could replace with healthy ones, or the exercise programs we could do as a whole to help support each other in our attempt to shed these winter pounds.

So, how does one get six women to join together to encourage each other to success? If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment. Thanks in advance!


Political Face Lifts

You know it's a crying shame that neither of the major political parties is able manage a blemish free campaign. This year brings with its election choices both a young candidate full of promises for change with flowery rhetoric, and a veteran candidate promising in unpretentious rhetoric that experience and wisdom is what we need going forward. And just when it appears that the campaigns are wrinkle free, BAMM, one of the parties vice-presidential hopefuls admits to having had an affair! What next?

Someone recently said that "politicians are little more than pimples on the face of America." Pimples? You have to be kidding! Our country's presidential campaigns are looking like a bad case of acne during puberty. It seems the harder they try to cover their flaws up with political makeup, the worse the outbreak. You would think that as effective as mud packs are for one's complexion, that the mudslinging between the parties would have help out by now. No? Perhaps then both parties should consider a real face lift ... literally!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lose Weight Live Longer?

Yesterday we were watching one of the daytime talk shows and a guest doctor was talking about general health, lengthening ones lifespan, and sampling some healthy juices. Later on in the evening I asked Mr.D if it scared him to grow older. He said only if he couldn't move around like a lot of seniors are nowadays. It's odd, but my and great grandfather (1880-1997) age 97, and my grandmother (1911-2003) age 92, both ate a diet of fried foods, red meats, and vegetables cooked in fatback and bacon grease.

You would have thought that he would have had to lose weight, but he ate sensibly and got regular exercise. He worked for my grandfather at his "Bait & Tackle Shop" well into his eighties. He used to give us a penny for the gumball machine, and if we got a speckled ball we could trade it for any item in the store that cost 25 cents. He kept all of the speckled balls in a cleaned out cigar box under the counter. I loved trading mine for a sweet pastry! Now those are some sweet memories!

So, which is really true? Is how you prepare your food and how you eat more important than what you eat?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Learning to Live Peacefully

Please! Someone tell me how I can get my two cats to behave when they are both in the house together. Nearly two years ago Jenn found a kitten and brought him home to live with us. We already had a cat who was about five years old at the time. She was an indoor/outdoor cat. In an effort to nurse the kitten back to health we kept him inside. He got on the other cat's nerves so bad that she spent more and more time outside.

Now whenever she comes in, he has to be put in a kennel that he sleeps in at night to keep from harassing her. My house is too small for a cat tree for two, and even if it was I am not sure they would even share it. I had considered purchasing something of the sorts, but alas I think perhaps cat perches might better suit them. I can see it now, Baby Girl will take the higher perch in order to keep Lil' Man at bay.

Resources; Are there ever enough?

It's time to stop putting it off and just do it. I've tried everything I can short of hiring a team of miniature techies to climb into my computer and make it run faster. I even promised them miniature glasses of green tea and crumpets, but they declined the offer. Something about having to share the space with all of the dust aliens hiding out inside my CPU. Imagine that!

Seriously, I just have to bite the proverbial bullet, squeeze a bit tighter, put off some of the less important things, and purchase additional system memory if I am ever going to get back up to speed. At the rate this thing is moving now, the slugs that cross my porch at night are moving faster. How slow you might ask? I started a scan of the system earlier this morning and after 7 hours, 13 minutes, and 18 seconds and it is still scanning. :/

Anyone have a suggestion on which memory chip is better to use with a Dell?

Note to self: Remember to pick up a can of alien blaster!

What Happened to the Sizing of Clothing?

So tell me, what's up with the change in the sizing charts for women's clothing? It's enough to confuse anyone. There are petites, classic fit's, women's, plus sizes, and none of them are staying true to size. One year you're wearing what you think is normal sized clothing and the next you are in numbers you'd rather not discuss!

I must admit that years ago (and even now depending upon the maker) I had to wear clothing that was larger than those gorgeous outfits donned by the store mannequins. Like most young ladies I would gaze at them wondering how in the world I could ever get my svelte body into something so tiny.

Now, it's not what you are thinking, although I've been there done that before too. But as a youth I was endowed enough to warrant plus size clothing when it came to choosing the size of blouse or shirt. Since then, I have had a reversal of wardrobe challenges, and what once was an asset, is now less of an asset. Now the challenge is bringing up the rear so to speak.

A bit more walking and a lot less sitting sure would help improve those odds, or is that end?