Life, better known as blah, blah, blah, Memories

What is Home?

Growing up, when my father moved us from California to Washington, I thought the world had ended. Moving was nothing new, we did that here and there, but we never went too far from the last location.

Washington welcomed me with chicken pox and food poisoning. Thankfully, not at the same time. Besides that, Washington felt like a glove that didn’t fit (Dear O.J….). And, it was a completely different environment. As a child when it rained in California, we had recess inside. In Washington they let you play in the rain?! They had never heard of such a thing as “canceling recess.” In California, fire and earthquake drills meant you sat outside on the grass for nearly an hour. Washington had you out and back in under ten minutes. (You didn’t have time to look for four leaf clovers!!)

As an adult, moving to Arizona felt like the closest thing to coming home as I could get.

It had been too many years to count when I finally went “home” at the beginning of this year. But once I got California, something odd happened. It didn’t feel any different than any other place to me, it didn’t feel like I went home. What had happened?

I visited my mom’s home (since my parents divorced) from my childhood and also visited her grave site. Those moments were magical. Yet, the second I left that location I was a fish out of water. I visited the beach, and although dearly missed, it didn’t feel the same. Maybe because I was no longer the same.

I know for some home is a feeling, not necessarily a place. I agree.

Funny thing is, I’ve come to understand a different home. A place I never thought I would consider home. I also grew to learn that home is a feeling you can have when you are with a person. And that, is the best home anyone can get ever have.

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Life, better known as blah, blah, blah, Memories

The Parachute

 

The other day, I drove past a group of school children playing parachute. It took everything I had not to pull over, run across the field and beg them to let me play. Okay, so while I wanted to, I also didn’t want the cops called on me for chasing up to a bunch of kids.

In school I was not liked, as in I was not a welcomed friend. I was an outcast, for whatever reason, I don’t remember. Maybe it was my clothes, or my personality, I cannot say now, or then.

When it came to group activities in school I was always the last picked. At times other kids were even instructed to pick me. Talk about embarrassing. So going P.E. was my ultimate fear, and not because of the uniforms.

It must have been about 4th or 5th grade when I was introduced to the parachute game. When Mr. Clark pulled the parachute out of the multicolored bag I was in full wonderment of what would happen next.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me explain. The parachute was gigantic to a eight year old, especially one as short as me. It had handles all around it, enough for everyone, so no one was left out, including me. Everyone had to work together and there was zero room to exclude anyone, everyone was equal because they had to be. The parachute games only worked if everyone participated.

Every time the parachute came out, we played the same games, and I loved a routine. Mr. Clark would throw a bunch of Nerf balls on top and we all had to shake up and down in unison to get them to fly as high as they would go. Then Mr. Clark would call your name and another student and you had to run and switch places. We would also lift it up and then get under it, sitting on our handle as the center stayed up in the air and the colors filtered all around.

Yet, my most favorite was when you got to lay in the the middle, on your back, and all the kids would lower it up and down as the colors appeared to explode around you like a sky full of stars.

So, driving past these kids and that big, colorful parachute caused me to smile. I hoped that any kids feeling like I did were able to fit in, even if only for thirty minutes.

Life, better known as blah, blah, blah, Memories

Best Christmas Present Ever

Recently I overheard someone ask another what their favorite Christmas present was. It got me thinking, what was mine?

I thought, a rather long time.

Turns out I remember more about other things, than what the gifts were.

I thought some more and it finally came to me.

My favorite gift was not from a person at all, but from mother nature.

My father had moved us from sunny southern California to rainy cold Washington. I was beyond upset, having gotten not only food positioning the first day at my new school, but also chicken pox. So, I was pretty sure nothing good was ever going to come from Washington.

Christmas morning 1991 came and I woke, to the first time ever…to snow! And it was still snowing…ON CHRISTMAS MORNING! I mean a ton of snow had fallen over night, but it had yet to stop.

My father insisted that I open one present before I ran outside. It was a disposable camera.

Thank you all for your visits to my blog through out 2017. I hope my posts have inspired, informed, taught, and provided a smile. I will be on blog hiatus for the rest of December, returning with a new look come January (as I do every year). I wish y’all a wonderful Christmas and a bright New Year. Write to you in 2018.

Memories

My Peaceful Place

When you were a kid there was always a special place you loved the most. As an adult, when the setting is just right and you close your eyes, it brings you back in a second. The feeling of calmness, peace for your one special place.

Mine is my mom’s home. It was as a child, and to this day, I can close my eyes and feel the heaviness of love on my heart. Imagine with me, if you please….
Southern California, summer.

Box fan resting on brown pattern carpet, its noise humming through the air. A kitchen with two exits so one could run around in circles and never get caught.
Embossed golden tack strip transiting the linoleum to the carpet.

A squeaky screen door that slowed down just before it shut, so you had to physically pull it an inch to get the flimsy latch to clip.
Light from the sun in all the right places.

My own bedroom, with books I could not read and a Barbie wonderland of clothes, tiny hair brushes, and mismatched pairs of hot pink heels.

A bold yellow slip-n-slide stretching the length of the grass out back, with a peach tree at the end. Plastic blue pool with capsized Barbies. Wet feet leaving prints on the concrete.

Grape push-ups, jammies, and Mary Poppins for the hundredth time.

Badminton in the front yard, running through sprinklers on the side yard. Towels and sheets hung on the line by the lemon and lime tree. Sun faded Big Wheel.

This was and remains my happy place, even if only reachable by memory. 

Book Reviews

A Good Book

difdfI first “got” into books once I was actually able to read them, much later than my peers (okay, way, way, way later than my peers). The R.L Stine series and The Boxcar Children when I was younger. Then, once again when I became a nanny and couldn’t find anything worth watching on TV when the baby was sleeping.

I would pull books from the family’s bookshelf, read the back cover blurb, and then if it sounded good, would dive right in. The family that had these books was an Oprah book club member. Every book had the OPRAH sticker on the cover.

I believe the first one I read was:

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

Followed by:

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons

Vinegar Hill by A Manette Ansay

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

I found these books to be the center of my day, and my joy the following day (these books were so well written!!!!). I never let them (the family) know I was reading them, so I would stick them back on the shelf and make a mental note of the chapter I was on.fdfdfdf

The weekends were especially long since I didn’t work, and had to wait until Monday to get back to reading. I was at the time, and still am, a slow reader, so it would take me a good month to finish one book.

I worked as a nanny for this family just over 2 years, and when the mom stopped buying new books for the shelves I stopped reading. I was not aware of libraries and how to use them (I didn’t know they had them outside of school!!), however immature that sounds. So my reading time faded into nothing for many years, until I picked it back up again, and started reading and (funny as it is) writing and learning about libraries.

Nowadays – many years later – I am well versed in library knowledge (thank goodness). My reading taste have turned rather…pig-headed, so to speak. Most books I read, I find sub-par. The hook is weak or the hook fades off after chapter 2, or sentences go by without much connection to moving the story forward. It’s hard to please me as a reader. Even children’s literature I have grown rather picky over since becoming a writer.

So, basically the thing to note about me is this, if I recommend a book, that means a lot coming from me.

 

 

 

Memories

Red Vines

20170325_131752My first memory of Red Vines was at a swimming pool.

Today any time I have a Red Vine I think of pools and rain.

It was summer, and there was a odd rainstorm. But the swimming lesson at the local neighborhood pool had not been canceled. The water was freezing and my teeth chattered. Not to mention, I hated swimming lessons, because I was always being corrected.

In fact, I hated all lessons, swimming, piano, tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, tap dance, 4H shooting, modeling, violin, karate, and guitar. Why? Because the teachers spent the majority of the time yelling at me that I just was not getting it and not doing it right.

Back to the Red Vines. On this day, my fellow swim mates were just as cold as me and thus sucked at swimming that day. I was finally on an even playing field. My whole body was freezing, I was pruning at the finger tips. The teacher said if we swam two more laps we could be done for the session and get 2 Red Vines.

It was game on! There was zero candy within my reach at home so this was my chance. I swam like a mermaid and actually didn’t come in last! 2 Red Vines please! I sat there, wrapped in a towel savoring those red rubber sticks, while the rain dumped from the sky.