Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving musings..

We had a lovely day yesterday. What I would call the perfect Thanksgiving. Good food, good people to be with, and I only had to cook 2 things!

We weren't going anywhere this year, and John wanted to have people over so that we weren't celebrating alone. I was a little nervous as the guest list grew, and I didn't know how we were going to fit everyone, but my fears came to naught (and I had a good excuse to get John to help me deep clean before hand...). We had enough room, and everyone had plenty. The total count came to 10. 8 adults and 2 toddlers. The toddlers didn't eat much. They were too busy fencing with their spoons across the table and hamming it up for everyone else. But the rest of us had plenty, with all kinds of leftovers. I made the stuffed turkey, and my Aunt's sweet potato casserole, and someone else made green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Another person brought delicious yeast rolls, and the pies and home made ice cream were provided by another couple. I think I will definitely do Thanksgiving this way as long as I can get away with it. None of the stress of cooking all morning, just pop stuff in the oven, and relax with the family.

(Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of this event. I completely forgot about the camera until all were gone.)

After the lovely dinner, I had all kinds of help with the clean up, and then the guys watched the football game, and the wives traded stories in the dining room, with the small children running between the two groups (Except then they would decide to watch the game - much to the consternation of the guys, as they would stand DIRECTLY in front of the television) It was a great, relaxing day, and one that I am very grateful for.

I think I needed just such a day right now. It's been a week of ups and downs, as today was my last day at work. I found out a week ago that I would soon be more affected by the unemployment rise than I ever imagined, as I too have been laid off. It's been hard, but in many ways it's a good thing. It has forced me to be honest with myself about a lot of things I've been avoiding.

The last 6 months have been the dying of a dream for me. All my life, all I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. I wanted to stay home and raise my children. I wanted the American dream. I didn't need the big house, or lots of cars, just a small yard and the freedom to be home with my kids. Most of the major choices in my life have been directed in some way by this dream. I chose my majors in college, and most of my jobs since then, because I never saw it as a long term thing. This was something to do while I was waiting. I acquired knowledge of course, I want to be an intelligent mother to my children. I want to be able to teach them, especially to love learning. But I rarely made a college or career choice with the intent of doing it for any amount of time. I just took what was available. What worked for now.

Recently though, I've had to come to grips with the realization that my dream isn't possible. Maybe someday I'll have that dream, but not anytime soon. Where we live, and need to live for John's career, is expensive. It's not going to be possible for me to stay home with my small children. Not unless I wait until I'm too old to bear them. It hurts me to think of other people raising my children, no matter how much I may trust them, but I need to have that trust. And I need to find a career instead of a job.

This scares me. It scares me a lot. This is not the easy way out, and I, being human, am a bit lazy in this. I like the easy way. Let me save the hard stuff for things that I don't find that hard, like cleaning, cooking and childcare. But unless I start making decisions about a career, and find a job I love, I will spend half my life being miserable, and resent the time that my job takes me away from my children. I don't want to do that. I've spent the last 6 months that way, and it's showed. My job itself wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. I've done if for 2 1/2 years. But it's not what I want to do with my life. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It was a job, a means to a paycheck, nothing more. So it's good that I'm gone. When things pick up again, they can hire someone who loves the job, and wants to grow with the company.

As for me, I'm going to be frantically applying for work (now that I'm home a lot, I can really get frantic), but I'm also going to make sure that this time, as much as possible, it's something that I want to do for a long time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Timothy the Explorer

(This is Margaret. I'm hijacking the blog for a bit, and so you can tell us apart in the future, I'm going to steal a page from some others in my "clan" and use italics.)

So, lately, I've been reminded of the importance of stopping to smell the roses, or more accurately, the leaves. Timothy is walking almost everywhere now, and everything is so new to him. The leaves, the sticks, the rocks, anything he can pick up, and many things he can't. He surprised me the other day by picking up a leaf and announcing "leaf!" then pointing up and saying "tree!" The way his brain is making the connections astounds me. We'd taught him the words, but I don't remember teaching him the relationship...

He is such a joy. It takes a lot longer to get places, but I don't mind. It's worth it to be a part of such an amazing learning experience. And it's helped me to slow down a little bit and be remember to appreciate the world around me. The leaves, the trees, the squirrels... each miracle of this world that God has blessed us with. It truly is wonderful.

Now that he can walk with confidence, the world is his oyster. He loves to go. Anywhere and everywhere. The playground is the best, but anywhere new is also good. He's a clip of some fun we had this weekend.

He's also become quite the little helper. He helps me give the cats their treats, he hands me the groceries to put away, and he won't let us go upstairs without checking the mail. He knows that's his chore, and is adamant that he get to do it. Now if only we can figure out how to keep that attitude... =) Here's a cute shot of him "helping" with dinner the other night. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Miracle of Democracy

Last night all over America, and around the globe, people were glued to their TV sets waiting in anticipation for the various networks to report the election results. Margaret and I had stood in line before work for nearly two and a half hours that morning to cast our ballots. In Virginia 81 percent of registered voters cast a ballot and across America record turnouts were reported.

At 11:00 pm eastern time NBC was the first network to call the election in favor of Obama. A lot was said about what a moment in history that would become. They are right. In a country whose history is not dotted, but rather flooded, with race inequality this truly is a new chapter.

From the Trail of Tears and the pushing the Indians off of their land to the scar on the land that slavery was, to keeping Japanese-Americans in intermittent camps during WWII to the Civil Rights movement, America has always struggled with race relations.

What makes the election of Barrack Obama more spectacular to me is that he is the child of a Mixed Race Couple. An issue which many people struggle with today, and in the fundamentalist church I was raised in was discouraged well into the 1990's. His election truly has given America a chance to redeem some of the ills of the past and to look towards the future.

The most amazing thing about this election to me however is not who was or was not elected. It is the fact that here in America, unlike many nations around the world, we were able to once again see a peaceful transfer of power. The people had voted and the results were in. John McCain gave a speech showing the graceful man that he is. Then there was the victory speech by Barrack Obama, and here in Washington DC that was followed by people celebrating in the streets.

With all of this, and with the hard fought election and the deep emotions had by people who voted for either candidate, there have been no reports of unruly rioting, and will be no attempt at a coup of government. Around the world, it is rare that a change in philosophy and ruling governments goes so peacefully. I believe that even if the election had gone the other way there would have been an understanding by the American people that this was the voice of the majority and that we are government for the people by the people.

It is this, the fact that Americans can put so much feeling and emotion behind their candidate, and understand that in defeat the real miracle is the democracy that always prevails in America, that I am truly grateful for.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Collecting Forks

Growing up everytime I would ask my mom for something she would look at me and say "Honey, money doesn't grow on trees" (This is a fallacy because money is printed on paper which is made from trees, so technically it does) but whether or not money grows on trees or not, I think Margaret and I have a fork tree.

We have accumulated more forks than you can shake a stick at. I mean really, there's only two of us how many forks do you need. Timothy has his own plastic baby forks that I'm not even counting, but we have a dozen regular forks, a dozen differenty sized forks and like a dozen salad forks. Now you think well that's nice for when you have people over at the holidays and such, but what you don't realize is that when we have people over Margaret breaks out the other forks that match the nice China.

Then on top of that we have accumulated like a thousand plastic forks. We never buy plastic forks they just seem to magically appear. It's like everytime you turn on the dishwasher it creates a plastic fork. (If the dishwasher is going to be creating things I should figure out how to use that to my advantage).

However the sudden rush of plastic forks reminded me of something I may have done back in high school. I can't admit to doing it because my mom reads this blog but I may have had something to do with this

That's called forking a lawn. Similar to tp ing a house but more work and more of a pain in the but for people to clean up.

I don't think I'm going to be forking a lawn anytime soon (especially since halloween passed without it happening) but I really would like to know where the heck all the forks are coming from.