remarkable

Week 2 of the ScrapShare Blog Challenge is about the word Remarkable.

Read the following quote and think on it:
"My students were middle-class kids who were ashamed of their background. They felt like unless they grew up in poverty, they had nothing to write about...I felt sorry for these kids, that they thought their whole past was absolutely worthless because it was less than remarkable."
-David Sedaris, from an interview in January Magazine
Admit it. You've said, "I have nothing to blog about. My life is boring." Haven't you. Haven't you?
Your challenge is to write about it anyway.
Write about your less than remarkable life. Write about your routines, your habits, your schedule. Find the unremarkable things about your life and CELEBRATE them.
Go - be remarkable!


Being literal in this week’s Blog Challenge, I thought about the quote first before reading on. Interestingly enough, the quote brought me back to my High School senior days when I was applying to college and had those darn essays to write. Back then, I was one of those kids with a different background. And I didn’t find myself REMARKABLE at all, but DIFFERENT and out of place - and that is what I wrote about in my college application essays.

Fast forward to now - I don’t find myself to be TOO Different anymore and yes, my life and daily routine is a bit on the boring side. Oh, and I read the rest of the challenge and realize that my teenage angst isn’t what this week’s challenge is about (thank goodness!).

So I started to think about the word Remarkable and what the word conjures up – I looked up a definition out of Wiktionary:
Remarkable (adjective): Worthy of being remarked or noticed; noticeable; conspicuous; hence, uncommon; extraordinary.
Side comment - Ack! Even the definition brings me back to my teenaged angst years (OK – I will need to keep on track again).

And as I was thinking about the word, the song "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall came up on my iPod, This was the first time I had listened to this song and I was drawn to how hauntingly appropriate it was to this week’s challenge.
Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on a wire

Suddenly I see

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

Suddenly I see
I think we all want to be Remarkable like the girl described in the song, and the reality is that we are ALL like the girl in the song. I look around me and find all sorts of Remarkable people, things and events. Just the other day, running in the dawn of the day, I observed a beautiful sunrise – wisps of clouds with pink, orange a yellow rays of light. I see Remarkable traits in my children and other people – immense talent, compassion, intelligence, even patience (to me – that is a most remarkable trait).

We are all remarkable – sometimes we just need to SEE it in ourselves.

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Visit from Auntie T and Uncle Ray

We had a nice visit from Auntie Teresa, Uncle Ray and cousins Zachary and Matty last weekend. They drove all the way from North Carolina to Illinois - it was their first visit since we moved
here almost four years ago. They arrived on Thursday around noon and stayed through Sunday. We had plans to go to the swimming pool, the apple orchard and other local attractions. Unfortunately, Friday was a washout with thunder and rainstorms, Because of the rain, I retrieved the Perler beads and animal templates from the basement (I re-discovered these while cleaning up for their visit). I didn’t realize that this would be THE activity of the visit - Teresa and I had to make a Hobby Lobby run just to get more beads. Of course, we ended up buying more templates as well.
Here are the results of the boys’ work (Erica refused to have her photographed).







The light colored beads are glow in the dark - the kids checked those out by running in and out of the bathroom.....

After the rain on Friday, the hot steamy midwest weather returned, so Scott and Ray took the kids to the new area pool. Saturday night we feasted on fried dumplings. Sunday was a beautiful day - low humidity and sunny. The boys enjoyed playing baseball in the backyard:

Zach tees up:



Matty hams it up:



Brian swings and throws:






We had so much fun and we hope they can come again (or we can visit them)!

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Colors of......

The scrapbooking bulletin board I frequent has put out a weekly Blog challenge. This week we are to blog about color. Here is the exact challenge:

This week, blog or journal about color. Your favorite color. Colors that make you happy. The color of your favorite flower. Colors that speak to you or that totally turn you off. The color of YOU. What's your color personality, according to the thousand websites out there that analyze that sort of thing? (Google "favorite color" and you'll find them.) Is the analysis accurate?

What color do you look good in?
What colors can you NOT wear?
What colors bring back vivid memories?
Do your favorite foods share the same color?


My favorite color would have to be green - that is what first popped into my head when I read the challenge. Not surprisingly, I chose a green based blog template! I love all shades of green - from chartreuse to deep forest green. OK, maybe not the avocado green of the refrigerator from my childhood through college years at home (I begged my mother to update that fridge, but you know, it worked and lasted for almost 25 years). But I digress.....

I am not really sure what draws me to green - perhaps it is so predominant in nature - green grass, green pine needles, glossy leaves. Growing up in New England the green of the pine trees in the mountains was always prevalent along with all of the beautiful maples. Something I definately don’t see as much here in the flat plains of Illinois.

Hunter green was my first obsession with the color green. In college it was a very popular color - I had a hunter green blazer, perfect for those New England fall days. I have a Hunter green KitchenAid mixer - a wedding gift from a group of my male friends in college - they even knew my obsession with that color and picked exactly what I wanted. As a result, much of our kitchen is decked out in Hunter green or some sort of variant.

Other green stuff I currently own:
Wallet - Hunter Green
Running shoes - Lime green
Matching running jacket - Lime green, of course
Purse - Lime Green accents
Laptop bag - Lime Green accents
Numerous Scrapbook albums - yep, green!

On the internet, here is what one site says about the color green:

Green: The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes hope, renewal, and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest, and patient and so may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized, and reputable.


Hmm - the only glaring incorrect analysis is the patience thing - something I definately am not!

OK - some comments on other colors:
Orange - My least favorite color, probably because I look terrible in orange. And of course, I am the middle of Illini country, where everyone is obligated to wear and bleed orange . I even had to go out and buy an orange Illinois T-shirt just so that I wouldn’t stand out at the sporting events. My kids love the color orange. In fact, it is Brian’s favorite color. Scott’s friends give him grief because his kids are wearing orange Illinois sweatshirts instead of Syracuse!
I do love the orange-red of the rising and setting sun. Especially the rising sun. Everything is so peaceful at sunrise.

Blue - I love color of the sky and the ocean. Purple - my favorite garden flower color - purple coneflower, geranium, iris, lilac, aster.

Red - How could I not like the symbolic color of China? I tend to save the color red for special occasions. Oh, the first car I bought (and still have) is a little red convertible - I consider that purchase to be a special occasion.

Colors that I like to wear - Jewel toned colors - deep blue, burgundy, aubergine, rich chocolate brown. Can you tell that I am craving the return of Autumn and fall clothes? In the warmer weather I prefer pink, light blue, lavender and aqua.

So, what is your favorite color??

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Brian's Lost tooth

This tooth has been noticeably "wiggly" since I got back from China. In fact, I thought it would have come out while we were out east on vacation. Each day, either Scott or I would ask, "has your tooth come out yet?". Brian would simply smile, show us his bottom row of teeth and wiggle his loose tooth with his tongue. "No, not yet". Offers to pull it out were always met with a determined (and somewhat fearful) "NO!".

But tonight, as the kids were romping around in the pool, we were informed that "Brian's tooth is really bleeding!". As I inspected it, the tooth was still attached. Then Brian grabbed it and declared "It's out, it's out!!". And then the "I dropped my tooth - where is it??". I retrieved the rouge tooth from the kitchen floor and placed it in a safe place.

And as Erica has reminded all of us, we need to "keep it away from Daddy" because when she lost her first tooth, Daddy inadvertantly threw it away. Can you tell we have not forgotten that?

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Summer Vacation

We endured three digit heat and a power outage during our yearly visit out east. Otherwise, it was a very nice visit with family and friends.

Some of the highlights - fishing with Grandma Nai Nai on the lake - we rented out a small motor boat and headed out early on Monday morning:



The lake was quite still, almost like glass, as we cast our fishing lines in. After only two casts, I managed to tangle up my entire fishing rod line. Guess I'm out for the count. It's not that hot out (yet), so I help the kids with worms, casting and pulling in the abundant catch of the day - seaweed:




Finally, Scott and Erica score a couple of small perch. Obviously, they aren't keepers:




Erica seemed to have the most effective fishing style - just ignore your pole and line and they will come. Both times she caught fish, she thought she was bringing in more seaweed!

After 21/2 hours, it is starting to get hot out, so we go for a joyride on the lake. Both kids steered the boat:





While in NY, we also visited Scott's friends from college, Mark and Marianne. Their two kids are Erica's age and they all had a blast playing together. We hadn't seen them since their kids were just a couple of days old.

After NY, we headed to Boston, where we had to endure the Big Dig detours and 100+ degree weather. Fortunately, my parents' house has central air. While in Boston, we went whale watching - our first time. We saw lots of whales - Finback, Humpback and Minke whales. The Finbacks even came close to our boat (we were told this was unusual for the Finback whale). Our excursion took place after the heatwave broke, and it was a perfect 80 degree day with plenty of sunshine and fairly calm seas. As we set sail out of port, Erica and Brian practice using their binoculars along the shoreline and we pass by the Mayflower 2:





We pass by this lighthouse (I think it is the smallest one off the coast of MA) before heading out to the prime whale feeding area:


Here are just a few of the whales we saw on our trip, all humpbacks:



The back fin of the humpback (her name is Freckles):


Pictures of the Plymouth beach shore:


And the Plymouth Rock pavillion:

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Hot Hot Hot (too Hot)

Today was just too hot. It had to be 100 degF out there, and while the humidity didn't seem to be too bad, it felt as if you were walking inside an oven.

The heat followed us from Upstate NY to the Boston area, where we are visiting LaoLao and LaoYeh.

Really, we don't have that much to complain about - coddled by central air conditioning and pool. Fortunately, the rain has come through to cool things down.

But I need to blog about something, and after my seemingly constant blogging in China, I feel as if my blog is feeling very ignored.

Our trip in NY was very pleasant - did some fishing, swimming and general carousing. Visited Scott's college roommate, who we haven't seen in over 8 years.

Bought Erica a pair of Crocs. Now I want a pair - just need to find a store here (and I won't have to pay tax on them - a small consolation).

Tomorrow, I am going for a nice morning run - something I haven't done in about a week. Then we will check out the local forest preserve to swim. I'll have to check out the pool as well. Lobster roll for dinner (YUM)!

Cooler weather is on its way!

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