Monday, November 29, 2010

The Beginning of the End

No this blog has nothing to do with the end of the world.  I'm not that dramatic.  No, this blog is about what everyone is talking about these days, Harry Potter. 

My husband started reading the series by J.K. Rowling when the first Harry Potter book came out.  He loved them right off the bat and encouraged me to read them as well. So as soon as he was done with the first book and started the second, I gave the first book a go. Sorry folks but I just couldn't get into the story.  I wanted to, I knew it was a good story.  I heard the media hype, but I usually don't pay much attention to that too be honest.  I go by my gut, if I want to read something I will, it's as simple as that.  Just by reading the back of the book I knew it was a good story, but I still couldn't get through the first chapter.

Now, don't get me wrong, because I love Harry Potter.  I knew that as soon as I watched the first movie.  I was hooked,  and I couldn't wait for the next movie to come out.  The imagination J.K. Rowling has is amazing.  She has real talent. If she didn't millions of people wouldn't be flocking to buy the books and the movie tickets.  I can't wait to see the last of the Harry Potter movies, and I honestly am sorry to see them end.

What about you? Have you ever had a hard time getting through a book, just to find you love the movie?  Please tell me I'm not the only one out there.  Share your thoughts, what book did you have a hard time getting though, just to love in the end? 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boy Scouts

I got the pleasure to take my son to a boy scout troop meeting in November.  He is a first year Weblo right now and the cub scout pack leader wanted to introduce the boys to the boys scouts.  It was a very intertesting meeting.  The boys scouts ran the meeting, notice I didn't say the boy scout leader, while the parents went into small room and were introduced to the troop leader and the activities and resposiblitity expected of the scouts when they become boy scouts.

My husband has always told me how important it is that our boys participate in cub scouts/boy scouts, and to be honest. I have always thought it is an awful lot of work for the parents.  In cub scouts the pack graduates togethers, the parents have to keep track of their activities so they can earn the belt loops and patches. Don't get me wrong the trips are wonderful  and are really once in a lifetime events. Most importantly is how much they learn during these events. It's just a committment on the whole family's part, let me restate that, it is a commitment on the whole family's part. 

 Boy scouts is different. The work is on the scout.  It is now their turn to take the ropes in their own hands and learn to be responsible for themselves. The whole idea is to guide these young men, hate to say it but that's what some of them are, young men, and mold them into a leadership role. The parents were informed at the meeting that most of this molding is done throught the requiremtments that occur during the camping trips.  The boys are basically forced to learn survival skills. 

The troop had planned a camp out that weekend and we were told what the scouts were required to do during the camp out. It doesn't matter what the wheather is, they will be camping regardless. The troop is split up into teams, givin a map, and they have to use their compass to find their food.  Every team has a different path so they can't just follow each other to their prized food.  They also learn how to make their own shelter in the woods, cook without pots and pans, or utensils.  Now I am not an outdoorsy person, and even I was intergued.  It honestely sounded like fun.  Not something I would want to do all the time in the cold and rain or snow, but fun just the same.

After watching the boy scouts finish up leading the meeting and guiding the cub scouts I was totally impressed. My feeling of being over whelmed with the amount of a commitment cub scouts is totally changed.  Suddenly it all seemed worth it. Once I saw those boys leading the meeting, and taking on that leadership role, I knew it was the right program for every boy.  If any of you out there have boys and have gone through this, this is old news to you. As for me, this is my first time.

It got me to wonder during the meeting how many of the boys have gone on to leaderships roles in their careers? What careers have they chose, and how many joined the military?  Food for thought.  Share with me your thoughts, do you have a cub scout or boy scout?  How has it helped in their life? Do you know any one who was a scout?  What career path did they chose?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Buster Brown

I am writing this post at the request of my son.  I recently read him my post about Rascal our puppy and he thought that our older dog Buster should get his own page as well. After trying to decided what exactly I wanted to write, I decided to give Buster his share of fame.

My husband and I got Buster when he was a year and half old.  He was a wiry dog who was  full of energy and love.  He is a yellow Labrador retriever, who is afraid of water.  Actually terrified.  He would run around the edge of water but refuse to go in.  Not even his paws. One thing he loved to do in his younger years was chase cars and motorcycles.  We had an electric fence put in so he wouldn't run away and it worked great.  Only instead of running down the street chasing the cars he would run back and forth on my front lawn making a mini run way for himself.  My neighbors used to laugh at the strip of grass missing from Busters runs.  So Buster was moved to the backyard.  That didn't stop Buster from running though, now the run way was in the back yard.

Years have past and now my first baby is 14 years old. Pretty damn good for a dog I'd say. He has slowed down a lot over the years. He no longer jumps like a rabbit or chases cars in the back yard. Although the strip of dirt remains.  Buster is half blind, and he doesn't hear as well as he used to.  He stares into space once in a while like he has forgotten what he was going to do.  A least two times a night he barks to go outside.  Let's face it at 14 years old, you just can't wait until morning some times.  So at least twice a night I take him out and chaperon him in the backyard.  Just recently I noticed him starting to drag his back left leg.  Buster is old, but he still has a lot of life left in him,  you have to do be able to deal with Rascal.  And Rascal loves having his older "brother" around to jump on and learn from.  Puppies and dog are a great combination together I decided. The older dog teaches the younger dog the rules of the house, while the younger dog keep the older dog young at heart. 
Trust me, I've seem Rascal teach Buster a few new tricks as well.  What is your take on puppies and dogs.  How do your dogs get along?  Share with me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Catching Up

 There are many different ways to reconnect with people. Linked In,  Facebook, Google Connect, Yahoo Groups and Classmates are only a few of the ways .  Some of you might remember my post about how people come and go in our lives and how instrumental these tools can be in reconnecting with some of them.  I wrote about how many lives we touch in our life time, and how many lives touch ours in small and large ways.

Not to long ago someone used one of those tools to find me.  I was pleasantly surprised when I did hear from this person.  It was someone from my past, obviously, but what really touched me, was that it was someone from my childhood that I had not seen in, oh I don't even want to count the years.  The point is he remembered me and sought me out on this world wide monster of the internet.  I mean lets face it, there is a lot of information out there, and at times it can be hard to find exactly what you are looking for.

Once we reconnected it brought back so many wonderful memories growing up.  Things were so much simpler then and I was nostalgic for those days at least for a little while.  Families lived closer together, we leaned on each other more in times of need, and family dinners were a big deal.  Today families are spread all over the place, they can't lean on each other like before, because chances are you aren't even in the same state.  The only thing that might have stayed the same are the family dinners, and that is only because you live so far away that when you do see each other again it is a big deal.

It feels good to know that we have touched someones life.  It feels even better when they reach out to reconnect.  It's like saying, hey I remember you, and I care about how your life turned out.  I'm glad he reached out and reminded me of happy times of our childhood.  Thank you.

What about you?  Do you still search for the friends from long ago? Have you found any? Tell me.  What has your experiences been with finding old friends?  How did it make you feel?

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Time

Ever feel like all you need is more time in your day?  Lately I have been feeling that way.  I have been so busy lately that I feel I am never home to get much of anything done.  My day starts at 5:30 and after work, homework, sports, and dinner my day usually ends around 8:00/9:00 at night.  That is usually the time when I get some of my writing done if I'm not too tired.

It's a long day, and there are a lot of people out there who have even longer days.  I know, my husband is one of them.  Usually these days people take vacations from work just so they can get things done around the house.  Remember the days of taking a vacation and actually taking a vacation to REST?  What's that word?

Scary as it may seem, but  in today's world we are over booked.  I know I am and I know a lot of my friends are too.  We rush around all week trying to get everything done, but have we ever stopped to think about why we were rushing around in the first place?

The holidays are coming and you know what that means, more rushing.  Everyone will be rushing to the store to buy the latest gifts and to get the best buys.  People will be shopping around to make sure they have everything for all of their holiday parties and we are supposed to do this in between our usually incredibly hectic routine.  Yeah, right.

Ever ask yourself why we rush around all the time, over booking ourselves to exhaustion? Is it time to find ten minutes to remind yourself of why you do it.? If you can't come up with a good reason, then it's time to reevaluate your schedule.  If you can, then savior those ten minutes and enjoy the reason.

My reason, my family. For me there is no better reason then that.  It's that simple.  What's yours?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wood Working

When we buy furniture today we go to store to store and walk the isles of furniture totally overwhelmed with the amount of styles and the amount of patterns available to us. We then sit in as many couches and love seats as we can tolerate. Then once we have finally picked a style we know we can love for more than one year, we pick patterns from rows of swatches and then finally hand over our credit card.  Although these days we are lucky if our furniture lasts more than one year.

What we hardly ever think about though is how or who made this furniture. Was it hand made or factory made?  Was care and time taken to make this piece of furniture?  Or was the job rushed and sloppy?  Most of the time the consumer can tell right off the bat if something is well made.  These days just because it is a name brand does not mean it is well made.  You might be shelling out good money for it, but is it a keeper?  Will it last?

The truth is, the art of wood working is a craft that many young people today no longer appreciate. Back in the day many schools had a wood working class.  It didn't matter if you were male or female, everyone took the class.  In this class we were taught to measure twice or three times and cut once.  We made bird houses and simple projects that when you were done and followed that one simple rule our project came out actually looking like the bird house we planned to build.  It was something to be proud of, and still is.

Many of the schools no longer have these classes, or have them as electives so only a few kids take them.  Or they get dropped from the curriculum.   It's sad because it is a wonderful skill and there is nothing better then building your own furniture.  I have gotten the pleasure though the years to enjoy the benefits of this. Notice I said enjoy the Benefit of this, not that I made the furniture myself.

  My husband used to watch his grandfather work in his shop building furniture for family members.  I have seem many of his works and he is still building wonderful works of art today.  It is because of this man's love for the craft that he shared with my husband tht my husband followed in his footsteps and has taken up wood working as a hobby as well.  He loves it because he gets to create and use his hands,. I love it because I get to design it.  Yes that's right.  I get to design my own furniture. I even get to pick the colors, sometimes.. My husband has built for us book shelves, cabinets,  counter tops, our boys play table and their beds, radiator covers like the one pictured, even their toddler bed which everyone has loved so much it has been used by my friends two kids and now my niece.

My boys are now enjoying the benefit of my husband working in his own work shop as well.  They love to go in the work shop and "work" on their own projects while my husband works on his.  I'm hoping they follow in his foot steps and take up wood working as well.

So where do ideas for furiture come from? Need  inspiration?  Go to that furniture store, don't see something that is exactly what you want?  Bring a camera, or look though Pottery Barn for ideas. That's what I do. I tell my husband what I want and he tells me what he wants, then he draws it on graph paper and we tweak it to our liking.  It's a project we get to do together, only he does the hard work.

Now do you get the finished product within a day or week like promised at the store?  No,  you get the wonderful smell of fresh sawed wood, a happy husband doing what he loves and about a month or more later, usually much later then you expected,  you get the finished product.  Usually much cheaper then the store would have sold it to you, but yours was made out of love and you have memories of a project that was done with the love and care that should be put into it.

He just finished a butcher block cutting board right now.  He just showed me.  I had no idea he was even doing it, and yes we have already christened it. 
It's beautiful.

What do you think?  If you could design your own furniture would you? Would you prefer to have something custom made, or factory?  More importantly, can you stand the wait?  Tell me.