December 15 2017

Different (Five Minute Friday)

If there is one thing I have always been, it is different. I was never thin like the other kids in school. I never really looked like my siblings, at least not in my opinion. We all had differing hair colors and heights. I have never had the same hobbies as most people, especially my siblings with the exception of reading. I have always loved to read, but I used to read very slowly. When I went to high school, rather than take the required speed reading class for a single grading period like most of the kids, I had to take an entire semester. It is probably just as well I did because it did help me to read much faster.

I never liked dressing like all the other kids, not that was really a choice growing up since we were too poor to buy the “in” clothes. I have always enjoyed going to Goodwill or some other second-hand store and choosing the clothes I liked because they were different. I have never liked the idea of being a cookie cutter and going along with the crowd. I wear what I want, what I like, what fits at the time, what I could find cheap that fit my budget.

I even raised my kids differently than most parents at the time. When they got to have candies like Skittles or M&Ms, they couldn’t just eat them like other parents let their kids do. Nope, we sorted them all out by color and made bar graphs out of them. Then we talked about how many would be left if you ate two blue ones. We discussed which color had more and which had less. We did all sorts of fun things with them as we ate them.

We read to our kids, we read with our kids and had them read to us. We let them see us reading and enjoying reading. We let them take books with them when we went out to dinner. The only rule was that they had to close the book while the waiter or waitress was there to take our orders and once the food arrived, but they could read again once they finished eating their dinner. We almost always took them with us when we went out to dinner unless it was our anniversary. We would eat out usually on Friday nights and we took turns choosing where we would eat. The kids knew they couldn’t choose any place that was expensive or fast food, but pretty much anything else was fine. We taught them to read the menu and choose their own food, but they had to eat what they chose and it had to be a balanced meal. We made them try new foods, usually, the rule was that they had to eat the number of bites of something that matched their age. A four-year-old had to try 4 bites before getting off the hook.

We took our kids on vacations with us and we usually went to science museums or children’s museums because that is what they wanted to do.

Being different isn’t always bad, sometimes it is a good way to get to know yourself and an excellent way to raise very smart kids.

Embrace your different-ness! It makes you unique and memorable.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Different
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

October 14 2017

13 Lessons Learned on Friday the 13th at the Airport

1) Do NOT under any circumstances, show up less than 30 minutes before boarding time begins at the designated gate.
2) ‎Try to avoid making stops to your spouse’s work to pick up the jacket and headphones he forgot to bring home. This delay will cost you more than a new jacket and headphones in airport food prices alone, not to mention the time you can never have back. Plan ahead, make a list or do without.
3) ‎Bring some snacks in your carry on luggage. Preferably healthy ones.
4) ‎Wear comfortable and sensible clothes and shoes.
5) ‎Pack all chargers for cell phones, laptops, tablets etc. In your carry on luggage. Preferably in small zippered bags so they don’t get tangled and you can find them easily.
6) ‎Also, make sure you have all medications with you and not in your checked luggage. Luggage gets lost or sometimes it gets to the final destination 12 hours before you do.
7) ‎If you are traveling with children, especially those under five or six, bring an adult to be assigned to reach infant or toddler because babies require a lot of care, and once they have learned to walk, they tend to run off unexpectedly. Trust me this is a parent’s worst nightmare, so admit you need help and bring it with you.
8) ‎Know where the restrooms are, and wash your hands each time you visit them because anything less is just gross! Hand sanitizer is great AFTER you wash your hands, not instead of!
9) ‎Wear long pants because it may be chilly and you just don’t know what has been touching the seats in the waiting areas or plane. Better to ruin a pair of pants than developing a rash on your lower body.
10) ‎Wear or bring a jacket, preferably with zipping pockets because it may be cold or you may want to wad it up for a pillow and you wouldn’t want anything falling out of your pockets as you rush around the airport.
11) ‎Be patient, polite and thoughtful of your fellow passengers. Nobody enjoys a sourpuss who complains about everything.
12) ‎Get plenty of sleep and do whatever is needed to keep your children from getting fussy. No one wants to hear kids whining, crying or screaming. You, as a parent, don’t need the added stress either. Upset or badly behaved children just add tension to an already stressful situation.
13) ‎When you go through security or leave any seat or area, check carefully to be sure you didn’t leave ANYTHING behind. I can’t tell you how many announcements we heard about keys, Apple watches, or other belongings that were left behind.
We even heard one where a person was asked to call the rental car company because they needed their car key back!That’s it. Thirteen tips to help you as you travel in honor of the Friday the 13th I spent in the local airport waiting over 13 hours for a fight out to start our vacation. It all turned out well enough and it gave me the info to write this post to help others.

Best seatmates: 8-year-old Jake and his mother, Tammy. It was truly a pleasure sharing a flight with both of them.

Best line given by a flight attendant: Bottoms up or give it up!
August 24 2017

Crochet on a Plane

When we were getting ready to fly to London in September 2015, I began researching whether or not I could take my crochet hooks with me on the plane. I knew I was a nervous flyer, so I figured that crocheting hats for the homeless would allow me to focus on something, anything but the fact that I was on an airplane for the next few hours and would not be able to move around much. For someone who is claustrophobic, this is a daunting prospect.

The great thing about crocheting hats is that the supplies needed will fit into a quart sized zip top plastic bag. I can carry yarn in my carry-on and have the hat I am currently working on in my purse so I can pull it out when ever I find myself with some extra free time. Unfortunately, the quart sized bag with yarn and hook can be rather round and puffy inside my purse. I looked on the TSA website and the one for the airlines we were going to fly with to make sure they would allow my crochet hooks on the plane. As was reading the guidelines, I was surprised to see that knitting needles were specifically allowed but crochet hooks were not mentioned at all. I figured a knitting needle was much longer and pointier than a little six-inch crochet hook that wasn’t particularly pointy, so I took my chances. I picked one metal hook that I was fairly certain I could easily replace to take on the plane. I also chose to keep my extra hooks and scissors and such along with the set of plastic hooks I bought just in case metal wasn’t allowed in a plastic sliding pencil case. This worked very well. I highly recommend grabbing a few of these in the fall with back to school sales for traveling. They make great cases for headphones and charging cords they are safely stored and easy to find, plus they stay tangle free and won’t break or short out as easily if stored in a sturdy case of some sort.

So, as it turns out, focusing on the stitch counts needed for the beginning part of my hat pattern was very helpful for not stressing out during the take-off and landing times. It also helped me relax while we were flying over that little puddle that some folks call an ocean. I managed to make something like eight hats in the seven days we were gone. I became known as the lady who makes the hats amongst our twenty-nine person tour group. It turns out crocheting works well as an ice breaker and stranger felt perfectly comfortable approaching me to ask what I was making. Some of the men on the trip were surprisingly observant and noticed that the hat I was working in today was different colored than the one I was making yesterday. Many of the ladies expressed regret that they hadn’t brought along their yarn projects. A few went so far as to say they didn’t think it would be allowed but admitted they hadn’t thought to research to find out for sure. I admit I brought the inexpensive plastic hooks along with the idea that I would be willing to give some yarn, a plastic hook and an extra copy of the pattern I was using for my hats away to anyone who seems genuinely interested in learning to make hats. Unfortunately, it never got that far. Most people were just curious what I was making and many thought I was knitting. I can’t believe people don’t understand that knitting requires two long pointy needles and crochet needs only one short hook.

During my research about what I could bring, I learned that the scissors were the thing that you had to be especially careful about. They had to be small and have blades less than four inches long. I found a small folding pair that claimed to be TSA compliant on the package, so I bought those and still carry them in my crochet on the go bag.

So if you are going on a trip anytime soon, consider how much time the traveling will give you to work on your WIPs. I would recommend taking small easy projects that you wouldn’t be terribly broken up about losing or having taken from you. I also read that you should be ready and willing to demonstrate the fact that you can crochet or knit on demand. Leave the intricate sweater or afghan and the hand-carved one-of-a-kind hooks at home, they are too valuable to lose.

Don’t be afraid to be seen knitting or crocheting in public. You never know when it will lead to a lasting friendship.

July 20 2017

Why did the Peacock Cross the Road?

Last weekend, while driving around southern Indiana back roads, my hubby spotted a peacock crossing the road. I didn’t believe him. I mean really, a peacock? He assured me he was serious, so he turned around to prove it to me and I took the photos you see here because nobody would have believed me either.

So, my immediate reaction to seeing a peacock crossing the road was to ask hubby, “Why did the peacock cross the road?”. He laughs and I tell him, “To get to the other side of course!” That is so cliche, but apparently, even peacocks need to cross the road sometimes.

The peacock looked much less majestic than I had expected. He was dragging his tail behind him. Maybe he was having a bad day. I’m just glad we didn’t scare him or run over him.

The lesson in all of this is to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings at all times. You never know what The Lord will put in your path. Also be sure to keep your phone charged and always at hand so you never miss a chance to take a photo of one of God’s beautiful creations when it crosses the road in front of you.

During this same day of roaming around the back country roads in areas south of Indianapolis, we also experienced the sounds of someone burning brush bonfire style. I heard it and smelled it while we were stopped for a time. During that stop, I took the time to look up and out the car window and saw how pretty the sun was shining through the trees.

At yet another stop, we clearly heard what was obviously someone doing target practice on the other side of a stand of trees. We wisely decided not to wander around while we were stopped there.
 

We saw cool bridges, small country churches, and so many trees. The weather was not too hot and not too cold. Perfect for using the air conditioning during the highway driving and yet nice enough to be pleasant sitting on the side of the road with the windows down.

In case you are asking yourself why we were driving around and sitting along the side of the road for extended periods of time, we were working checkpoints for a national SCCA Road Rally, but that is a post for another time assuming I can get hubby to explain the attraction of this sport he enjoys so much. Maybe sometime I will understand it well enough to explain it to others so you can understand. Until that time, just know that it is a thing and it might be of interest to you if you enjoy exploring the world off the beaten path.

If you find yourself with a free day and want to wander around Indiana, I can highly recommend the roads between Greenwood and Brown County State Park. Drive at a leisurely pace so you don’t miss seeing any of the surprises God puts in your path.