On being a digital packrat

OK, I have a confession to make.  I’m something of a packrat.  I’m not yet ready to be featured on an episode of Hoarding, thankfully, but I do tend to hang on to things “in case I might need it later.”


But I’m working on purging my belongings.  It’s a slow and painful process because I’ll make good progress and then I’ll come across something that I just know I’ll need again someday.  It all goes downhill from there.


I’m not here to talk about my struggles with physical things, however.  I’m talking today about being a digital packrat.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Last week, I started with 6,782 emails in my inbox, dating back to 2007.  Yep.  I know, sad, isn’t it?  So I have started deleting them.  I don’t try and  delete them all in one day (cannot possibly imagine how long that would take) and some I have to look at again because, really?, there might be some important information from 2008 that I might need again this year.


Today, I’m down to 4,677 emails in my inbox.  Maybe once I get that down to a manageable number, I’ll start looking through my digital photos because I’m sure there are some that should be deleted.


I have 12,967 pictures, after all.


Open Letter to a Friend

About a year and a half ago, I posted this to my blog.  It has proven to be my most visited post since then.  Even though it’s as old as it is, it’s still as prevalent today as it was then.  I hope you don’t mind a re-do.


My dear friend,

I’m so glad we met those many years ago.  You are my oldest friend, even though I’m older than you.  I can’t even begin to list all the things we’ve done and learned and experienced in life together.  It’s good to know we still have that connection, even if we don’t talk for a while.

My dear friend, I know we haven’t talked in years, but you’re still on my mind.  I remember those times my sophomore year in high school when the four of us would hang out at lunch.  I never laughed so hard, careening through stoplights to get to Burger King and back in less than 30 minutes.  I think we are the reason they closed off-campus lunches.

I remember slumber parties and sneaking out of the house and I laugh to myself; I look back on groups of us going to the old abandoned meat packing plant and I’m thankful none of us got hurt – but boy did we have fun!  Then you moved away and we kept in touch only occasionally for a few years, then not at all.  I ran into one of our group not too long ago back home.  He hadn’t changed a bit and it brought back fun memories.

My dear friend, my roommate in college, I wonder how you are.  We lost touch when our life paths meandered in different directions, but I still think of you.  We saw each other through good times and bad and I find myself hoping your life has more good than bad these days.  I wonder if you’re still chasing your dream of Hollywood and being a makeup artist or if you caught that dream and I look for your name in the rolling credits.  But then I think maybe you found a new dream and I wish I knew what it was.

My dear friends, the “great wall of China,” Woodstock ’94, and my fellow Pirates grads.  You were also there through good times and bad and even better times.  You were there for my wedding; some of you met my daughter but only one of you know my son.  Such is life when you live in different states.  Even if we don’t talk much, I still think of you often and chuckle to myself.

My dear friend, I know you are struggling now, but I am here for you.

My dear friend, you’ve traveled the globe and I am so envious!  I haven’t seen you since our girls were small but the pictures you share are great.  I look at your faces and I’m thankful you have a life full of love and happiness.  I only wish we could have visited you in New Zealand!

My dear friend, I miss your laugh and your quirky sense of humor.  We hit it off after a short time and our kids played well together.  I wonder if my daughter and your son will still get married, like they planned.  What fun that would be – to call you family!  I’m glad we still talk on the phone, even though we haven’t seen each other in years.  Let’s get that girl’s weekend on the calendar!

My dear friend, I wish you took my calls.  I know it was hard on you when I moved, but I’m still here wishing I could talk to you.  We don’t have to see our faces to call ourselves friends.  You held my infant son, took care of my daughter and shared in some of the most funniest moments of my life.  I can’t imagine how big your boys are now.  I hope you are well and I think of you often.

My dear friends, too many to mention, that I see around me now.  You are an amazing gift and I’m so thankful for all the friends I have been given in my life.  Friends have changed me, molded me over my lifetime into who I am today.  I have angels in my life today and it’s amazing to watch our children become the friends that we are.  It’s my hope and prayer that my friends – all of them, old and new – know what they mean to me and continue to mold and shape the lives of those around them.  Friends are special and we should treasure them always.

My dear friend, I love you.


On teaching art

For some reason, teaching art in our homeschool has been a struggle.  Which is a shame because I have a degree in art, a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Metal Design to be exact.  I always felt I needed an art curriculum but lately, that’s changing.  What I decided to do this time and will hopefully continue through the end of this school year is to just read about artists and then let the kids explore their creativity.  It seems to be working well, however we’ve only studied one artist.


Jackson Pollock.


I thought that perhaps an unstructured artist might be the easiest to start with.  Jackson Pollock most definitely was NOT structured.  He painted on huge canvases stretched out on the floor with gallons of house paint, old stiff brushes, sticks and the full motion of his own body.  He truly got “into” his work.


Well, so did the kids.  No, I didn’t let them paint on huge canvases (although in hindsight, that would have been way fun!) but they did enjoy not having to follow a pattern.  They just painted.  And splattered.  And dripped.  And laughed.  And learned about mixing colors (I only gave them red, yellow and blue paints).  Plus it was beautiful outside.  All in all, a great day.



Well, hello there!

Hello blogosphere!  I am BACK!  Of course, I don’t know for how long, but I’m here and I’m working on some blog ideas.  I’m thinking I might make this more of a “Homeschool Blog” than a this-is-my-everyday-life-and-thoughts-and-what’s-going-on-with-my-kids kind of blog.  But then, what if I choose to write about the virtues of Captain Mal in the movie, Serenity?  How exactly would that fit in the “homeschool” theme?


I’m just not sure.


But who knows, maybe I’m just typing this to myself and no one is still reading and visiting my blog.  Anyway, if you are still there and still reading, I hope you stick around, at least for a little while.  I promise I’ll write more often than once every four months.



Decisions, decisions…

A few weeks ago, I entered in a raffle to help a friend raise money to start her own store-front business, Chameleon Clogs, which, by the way, just recently celebrated it’s Open House in Nags Head, NC.  I bought two tickets hoping I would win something, but feeling like “yeah, sure, I never win anything.”  Well, guess what?  I won!!  A custom pair of ribbon clogs made just for moi.  How cool is that?

So, this is what arrived in the mail today:

Ribbons and leathers galore!  Oh, how is a girl to choose?

I could choose from these:

or perhaps these:

But what about this?

Or perhaps something like this?

Or maybe even from these?

Decisions, decisions.  Oh what is a girl to do?

“If you’re the parent, be a parent.”

I heard this quote the other night: “I feel like it’s your job to parent them.  If you’re the parent, be a parent.” I’m not going to tell you who said it, because it might cloud your judgement of the statement.  But let’s think about this, shall we?  And yes, I am going to make a few assumptions about things and speak in generalities, but I don’t have the time to actually research numbers.  I can only speak from personal experience and how I observe things in this world.

It’s your job to parent them.

What do your children listen to?  Who are their friends?  Where do they play?  It’s easy for me to control this right now; my daughter is only 8 years old and my son will be 5 soon.  I’m not handing them the keys to the car just yet (nor will I until they’re about 25) but I’m hopeful that my involvement now will influence how they are as teenagers.  I’d like to think that my active participation in their life now will only serve to provide them with a platform, a sturdy framework on which to build their life.  I’m not perfect, by any means.  There are days when I’m just as likely to turn on the TV for them to watch so I can get things done as I am to spend time with them doing what they want to do.  There are times when I’ve reached the end of my rope and snapped at them.

But I will not become passive as a parent when they hit those teen years.  I’ll be just as involved then as I am now but it’ll be a different kind of involvement.  I’ll talk to their teachers (assuming I’m not still homeschooling my daughter) and their friends.  I’ll know their friend’s parents and their coaches.  Sure, they will have independence, but they will also have me.

If you’re the parent, be the parent.

It’s easy to throw blame around on other people when you see bad things happen.  But couldn’t it all just boil down to what they were taught at home?  If someone was taught, whether by example or by inattentiveness, to be disrespectful to others, then who is to blame?  The child or the parent?  What about entitlement?  Suppose a child is given their every desire; wouldn’t that fail to teach them the value of working towards a goal and instead teach them that they should have everything, regardless of what cost it might be (and I’m not just talking financial cost)?

But let’s go back to the notion of respect.  For me, everything boils down to respect for others.  I’ve written about this before and I do still believe this.  And you’ve heard it before: “Kids these days have no respect.”  And who should we look to?  The parents.  Since when did it become “cool” to backtalk your parents or your teachers or any other adult for that matter?  I’ve often seen parents try to be the “friend” instead of the parent, but kids have lots of friends and only one set of parents.  Children need that role model.  Since when did “ma’am” and “sir” become lost in our vernacular?  Parents should be parenting their children and be involved and teach them the importance of showing respect.  A local teacher is waging her own battle against disrespectful students and I applaud her efforts.  But I have to ask the question:  If the parents were being the parents, would she still have this problem?

As I said at the beginning, I’m making a lot of generalities here and I know that my children are not perfect, nor am I a perfect parent.  I often have to remind them to change the “yeah” to “yes, please” or “yes, ma’am” or the “nope” to “no, thank you” but they’re making progress.  Monkey and I talk quite a bit about bullying and respect and how “I was just teasing” isn’t the answer to saying something that hurts someone else’s feelings.  With Little Man, it’s more of a struggle getting him to think of others, but that’s a whole other post.  I often have to step back myself and ask if I could have handled something differently or better.

But back to this:  “I feel that it’s your job to parent them.  If you’re the parent, be the parent.” Are you curious yet who said this?  Marshall Mathers.  Do you know him?  He’s better known as Eminem, a controversial rapper if there ever was one.  This was his response to Anderson Cooper’s question on 60 Minutes about whether or not Em should feel responsible for children learning profanity from his music.  Even he doesn’t use that language around his daughters.  Surprised?  I’m not.  I hope you take the time to watch this.


Eminem and The Swagger Wagon

I am a product of suburbia.  I have the stay-at-home-mom thing going on.  I have a great husband, beautiful children, amazing friends, a house that we hate (yeah, I know that doesn’t fit in with the picture I’m trying to paint, but we really don’t like the house and hope to sell it in the spring), and the “company car” of a stay-at-home-mom: the mini-van.

I have to say, whoever came up with the ad campaign for The Swagger Wagon is a marketing genius.  He or she must be a product of today’s family: busy mom, hip dad (but with a receding hairline), cute kids; otherwise, the commercials wouldn’t be nearly so funny.  There’s one in particular that I just love and it’s because of the rapping.  Many friends and I grew up in the 80’s with the classic rappers like  Sugar Hill, Erik B & Rakim, Run DMC, and Public Enemy, so it’s not unheard of for us little white girls to start rapping along when we happen to hear one of these songs on the 80’s lunch hour on the local hits radio station.

Which leads me to the other part of this post.  I love Eminem.  I can’t really explain it because rap isn’t something I generally listen to (80’s rap notwithstanding).  But there are several cuts off of Aftermath, The Eminem Show and Encore that are always included in playlists on my ipod and I even managed to like one or two off of of Relapse, although I don’t listen to them regularly.  But I have to say Recovery Rocks!!

I do know that Marshall Mathers is inflammatory at the least, but have you ever taken the time to actually listen to (or even read) his lyrics?  To quote a fellow blogger, Sean Platt, “Eminem brings all his verbal virtuosity to Recovery, weaving in and out of wordplay, as though a single misstep or broken syllable would crush his credibility.”

Now, that’s not why I like him.  Well, ok, it’s not the ONLY reason why I like him.  The rhythms and beats of the music resonate within and I find myself dancing and singing along as loud as I can while folding a pile of laundry or stripping wallpaper in Little Man’s room.  Which is quite amusing to the outside observer, I’m sure, because I only listen with the ipod since the kids are usually around.  But, yeah, this little white girl digs Eminem.

I’m sure I get some interesting looks in my Swagger Wagon, too, when I Love the Way You Lie (censored, of course) is played on the radio.  You know if I happen to be without the kids, I have it cranked, right?  Because that’s the only way to really appreciate Eminem, as loud as you can.  But even if the kids are in the car, I don’t change it, I just adjust the speakers so that they’re not playing in the back and pretend that’s enough. Hey, it’s censored, right?  Yep, I get that “mom of the year” award, don’t I?