Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

My favorite weekend of the whole year is almost here - Labor Day weekend.  It isn't the holiday that does it for me, because truthfully, well, it is just another day.  (In fact this year I am blessed with the opportunity to work it! - Yes, my dears, that is sarcasm.  Come now, don't act surprised...) No, it is what this weekend holds.  This weekend signifies the transition from the lazy days of summer into the crisp, ever-increasingly fast paced days of fall.  A season which I hold to be my most favorite of all.  Saying good bye to August with its tortuously hot days which were filled with the laughter of children as they ran about and hello to September with its promise of more sedate temperatures, quiet streets, and empty yards. 

However, Labor Day weekend is more than the end of a season, and the beginning of another; it is  the return of routine and structure in the forms of classrooms and schedules.  For some it is quite chaotic and truly expensive.  As a mother of three I can attest to how much education, or rather the process of it, costs.  (But I'm going to save that for another blog...still need to get my littlest little off to her first day!)  Labor day weekend says good bye to the comfort of tank tops, cut-offs, and flip-flops while welcoming in capris, cardigans, and slip-ons. This weekend of change is also celebrated with a wash of color - out with the lime greens, shocking yellows, bright reds, and watermelon pinks and in with the pumpkin oranges, light browns, deep yellows, and burnt reds.  It's the trading in of Popsicles for pencils, roller blades for back packs, and sprinklers for sprinkles, the rain kind that is!

But it isn't just all this change that makes my heart smile, it is the festival that accompanies it.  It may be hard to tell, but I love old cars.  I'm not going to profess to know a lot about them.  In fact, I can't tell the difference between a turbo engine, a carburetor, a crank shaft, or even an oil pan, but I know beauty when I see it.  I know there was passion in the designs and that alone is what draws me to the festival.  It isn't the lure of who's driving them, how much they're being auctioned for, or any of that jazz.  No, it is simply the joy of seeing a well crafted piece of art purr like a kitty as its driver, ever lovingly, applies pressure to the gas petal and all that mechanical wonder propels its sleek body onwards to its next destination. I can see, in my mind's eye, the sunshine glimmer off the chrome and metal, the sparkle of the paint, and even hear the humor in the tooting horns.  I can picture the labor intensive hours of men and women bent over drawing boards with their pencils and erasers designing the most minute of detail by hand, something that is totally missing with modern machines.  Oh, we may have beautiful cars today (my Chrysler T&C being one of them) but nothing, absolutely NOTHING, like what will be on display.  No.  And sadly, my limited vocabulary cannot paint a word picture strong enough to describe what my mind sees.  I see love and passion, craftsmanship and art, glamour and prestige all manifested into the objects put together by hard working men and women who spent hours building the things we would eventually love decades into a future they would never see.  These aren't just automobiles, these are a huge part of our history.  These are our grandfathers', great-grandfathers', uncles, and even grandmothers' blood, sweat, and tears spread lovingly over something we have joyously passed from one generation to the next.  This is why I love Labor Day weekend.

Sadly, we lost this somewhere after the 70's.  We don't see many Pintos or Yugos in classic car line-ups.  There aren't going to be people lined up for miles to watch a parade of Ford Escorts, Chevy Sprints, or even Chrysler PT Cruisers, but their predecessors will; they will pull people in repeatedly with the allure of the dreams of their forefathers, all-the-while creating the hopes of one day seeing that same kind of love repeated into another one of the machines we've all grown to rely on.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Kitchen Curtains

Have you ever set out to redecorate a room in your home?  I find this one of the most infuriating things to do as a homeowner.  I swear I have used every color of paint known to man on these walls and still struggle to find that one color that just makes me swoon every time I enter the room. Because of this my walls are a lovely, albeit safe, shade of off white; though I am sure it has some fabulous name like - Barely There, Crushed Seashell, or Not Quite White.  But it comes across as truly B-O-R-I-N-G!  I mean, I have an intense personality and I am NOT afraid of color...heaven's you should see what I wear.  So, how do I take that and transform a room, and not spend a week's or a month's salary doing it? 

Here's the dilemma.  I don't know what I like!  I know, right?!  How on Earth do I start when I don't know where to start?  Ok, perhaps I do.  I like red.  I like contemporary/modern, bit not overly geometric.  I like floral, but not itty-bitty prints.  I like bold in  your face designs, but not too abrasive.  I'm a walking contradiction on one side.  On the other side, I like the feel of a den done in dark woods and deep seated leather furniture as well as sunny, soft day rooms with tons of squishy pillows and a rug that engulfs your bare feet as you walk on it.  How do I take all of those likes and turn them into something that I can be happy to come home to?

So, to be safe - as if I'm not already there, I thought I would start out with window treatments - in my kitchen!  No, seriously, this IS a big move! I have had the same curtains in there for years.  (Yes, I realize many people do the same thing and that this is not an extraordinary thing.)  However, I am struggling to find that right material or design, for that matter.  Seriously, WHAT is with the lacy, floral, dainty curtains that look like they could be turned into an angel costume at Christmas time?!  UGH! I've combed ebay, etsy, google's bazillion results and am coming up at a loss. I have also looked at JoAnne Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, and other places online for material to attempt to make them myself, again, epic fail.  Here are a couple of swatches and designs I like.  Now, to find THE ONE that makes my eyes fall in love at first sight!

I really LOVE the amount of white space in this fabric, but the colors are all wrong.

Yes, yes, yes, on the size of the floral and the color. No, no, no, on the thing as a whole.

Gutsy, but too much yellow.  GRRRR....

Actually, I love this pattern, not hip on the black strip on the bottom, or the mustard yellow.

Dig the grommets.

This - in a multicolored, mostly red, not too large floral with grommets, please!


And now you know why my house essentially looks the same as it has for the past decade+.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Comma, comma, chameleon

No, I am not having a 1980's flashback nor am I in love with Boy George.  Although, Karma Chameleon is a catchy tune.  just work with me here...

We all have passions in life, mine is writing.  However, I am a lousy writer.  I don't know the ins and outs of sentence structure.  Sure, I know what a noun and a verb are. I can even tell you what an adjective and an adverb are.  But, that is about the extent of my knowledge.  I struggle with the simplest of things, like commas.  Oh...my...word!  I am quite certain there was a time in school (elementary, middle, and high - just for reiterations sake) that an English teacher attempted to drill the facts into my brain.  Sadly, the only thing that I remember is that small little factoid that told me a comma is to act as a natural pause in a sentence.  Well, isn't that a fun fact?!  BUT...it isn't always so great for someone like me who writes like they talk, or rather think.  I think, and talk, in chunks.  It's like words come to my mind and I can get a sentence out, a run-on sentence actually, and all this stuff is like verbal vomit.  Yet there are times when the words don't come to mind...the thought sits and sits and sits, waiting ever patiently for the birth of more words and all I get is that pregnant pause, where lo and behold a comma goes! Crazy, right?!

So, what should I do about this?  This desire to write, to put forth letters in manner they form words, and words in a manner they form sentences, and sentences in a manner they form logical thought, and logical thought in a manner they form a story.  I'm sure there are a hundred English majors or English teachers just itching to take a red pen to this blog post alone.  I mean, am I using proper grammar o.O?  In fact, it is something I should actually care about.  After all, Blogger even tells us that correctly articulated thought brings a reader back.  Well, shoot...that's where you are all running to - another blog with proper sentence structure!  GASP!  I feel so deserted.

Regardless, there are the basics and these we should all know.  For instance:

Long lists of things get commas.  You don't necessarily have to put a comma between the next to last thing listed and the word 'and', but it doesn't hurt to use it either.  Use commas in a sentence when there is additional information used that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence.  Use it in dates and places.  Use it between multiple adjectives where the word 'and' would make sense. 

BUT do not use a comma, just, for, the, sake, of using a, comma...see that totally doesn't make sense!

There, I've said my piece.  I'm sure I will still mess this grammar thing up, but as long as I stop here I'm OK.  Now about that blasted semi-colon...

 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Fresh Dose of Random Thought

The foot traffic on this blog seems to be as up and down as my moods of late.  I'd like to say that I have an even-keel demeanor, but I'd hate to mislead you.  I've been contemplating this post for a couple of weeks now.  What to say and how to say it or rather what to share and how to share it.  I say a lot, most of it isn't shared!  I am fresh out of snarky witticism, but I do have a fairly good handle on, well, me. (At least momentarily...hehehe)

1. You can't make people like you, accept it and move on.
2.  Not everyone you meet will understand you.  The lengthy process of explaining yourself will get lost in translation.
3. Life will happen.
4. Politics are an evil necessity.  Being neither a Democrat nor a Republican makes it a lot more difficult in an election year.
5. Your life is your life, don't let someone else tell you how to live it.
6.  Accepting constructive criticism is often a hard pill to swallow.
7. When it comes down to it, there is only one person  you need to please, and he's always watching.
8. Don't compromise who you are just to make a friend.
9. Your experiences are going to lead you somewhere, you need to figure out if it is the right journey.
10.  Memories are there for a reason and it is ok to let some go.
11.  Changing your circumstances is like herding cats, sometimes they get away from you and sometimes you have to pick them up by the scruff of the neck.
12.  Finding your place in life doesn't take destroying someone else's.
13. Forgiveness is oftentimes more for your benefit than the other person's.
14. Forgive.
15.  It's ok to cry - a lot. 
16.  Loving others takes effort and chances are you will get hurt, but growth often comes from that.
17.  What you do does not make you who you are.
18.  Count your blessings, then do it again - it often takes a couple times to really be thankful.
19. Have no expectations of others, you will always be surprised by what they can give when you don't limit them with your view of what's best.
20. Smile at the reflection in the mirror, you're looking a miracle in the face.
21.  Let your friends know how much they mean to you - even if they know, they like to hear it too.
22.  Hug your kids - they were specially created just for you!
23.  Be honest with yourself with out belittling your existence.
24.  Have a goal, then find a way to achieve it.
25.  Kiss your spouse for no reason.  Sometimes that's all it takes.