Thursday, July 26, 2012

Somethings Never Change, and Somethings Do

This questions has been haunting me ever since Melissa gave us our topic for this week's Thursday Blog project: Tell us what you were like as a little kid: quirks, fears, interests, hobbies, passions, etc.

It is my general belief that you should go with your first instinct when it comes to be basically anything you do. If that were the case, than all you'd get today is the following: "I am exactly the same today as I was as a kid." However, upon further examination, I am not.

First and foremost, I wasn't a athletic type as a kid like I am now. Running was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I hated running. Hated. Hated. Hated. It was a necessary evil that I had to do for gym class. I did enjoy riding my bike, which is something I really don't enjoy now. I did, however, walk a lot which is something I still like to do as an adult. Actually, if I'm going somewhere I can walk to in a reasonable amount of time I will do so instead of taking my car. This is weather permitting of course!

As a kid I enjoyed activities that were creative in nature - dance, art, music. This is something about me that hasn't changed. I still enjoy all those things, just in different ways now. Instead of taking dance classes like I did for years as a kid, these days I would go see a dance company perform. Going to the theater is another thing I enjoy as an adult. The summer before my Bat Mitzvah, I went to a theater camp. In Jr. High and High School I was on prop crew as well. In the 4th grade my Auntie taught me how to knit. Though I didn't take it up as a regular hobby until 2007, it was my first exposure to the crafting. In elementary school I always looked forward to Art class, even though I wasn't a master artist. Music class was another favorite of mine. I was always part of some choir throughout my first 12 years of schooling. These days, the only places I can be heard singing are the shower and my car.

In some ways from a personality perspective I am the same now as I was as a child. Quiet and introverted in some situations; loud and outgoing in others. Many people don't believe that I'm a shy person. I always have been shy. As an adult I have learned to force myself to be more outgoing so I can thrive in situations that require such a personality. I believe my social circles are the same as they were as a child. I have a group of people I consider my close friends (so much so I consider them family) and then there are those that I know, but are more like acquaintances/basic friends.

As time has gone on my fears have evolved, yet some have stayed the same. One thing that has changed when it comes to fear is how I mange it. As an adult, I have a tendency to face my fears head-on vs. running away from them.

Upon further examination, I believe as a kid I was different in someway, but overall some key traits have stayed the same.

Now that I have talked about my thought on what I was like as a kid, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Her Imaginary Passenger Side Brake

This week for the Thursday Blog Project, Sara asked us to write about: Who taught you how to drive? And, what sort of experiences did you have as a new driver on the road?

A month and a half before my 14th birthday my dad died. When I was 15 my brother was at college. How are these two things related and relevant to this topic you wonder? Well, because of these two fact this left my mom as the person who would have to teach me to drive. (Even until this day I chuckle inside when I think about it.)

My mom. My wonder mom who was working hard to take care of me on her own (bless her!) was the one who would have to teach me how to drive. From the start, I knew this was not going to be easy for her to do; we both knew it wasn't going to be an easy experience. This type of stuff was left up to my dad. He was the one who had the patience to get in the car with an inexperienced driver and teach them what they needed to do. He was the one who taught my brothers how to drive. But he was no around when it was my turn to learn and, like many things during that period of time, mom and I would need to get through it the best we know how to.

Put simply, there were a lot of arguments about my driving abilities, and mom seemed to stomp on her imaginary passenger side brake many, many, many times. The incident that sticks out most in my mind during this period of time happened when we were on our way home from work one day (on my breaks I worked at the women's clothing shop that she managed). It was me, mom and the shop's seamstress, Bea. I didn't brake at the very moment mom felt I needed to and she got upset at me for it. Bea, came to my defense.

I don't begrudge my mom for any of this. As I mentioned above, she did the best she knew how. What I loved most about this experience is that mom knew when it was time pay someone to teach me to drive. She knew her limitations and that having someone one else teach me would not only be the best thing for me, but also the best thing for our relationship.

I couldn't get my license on my 16th birthday. I hadn't finished Driver's Education class so that held me back. When I did final finish the class I went to get my license. I failed the test because I jumped a corner as I was pulling back into the parking lot where the DMV was located. At the time my mom had a Chevy Caprice Classic boat car and I misjudged the amount of room. I was DEVASTATED!!! That following May when my brother came home from college I took the test again with his car. He had a small compact car (I believe it was a Ford). Thankfully not knowing what direction to turn your wheels when parking on a hill is not a deal breaker on a driving test. Aside from that one mistake, I did great and passed! I was THRILLED!!!!

When I look back to that period of time, I laugh at all the things that seemed like such a big deal that are now so common to me. For instance:

• The first time I got onto the expressway on my own. I was so freakin' proud of myself as I hadn't much time driving on the expressway while I was learning to drive.

• Parallel Parking. It took me FOREVER to learn how to do this with confidence.

• Getting Lost. I have to say, my sense of direction wasn't as good as it is now.

These are just a few driving things that are no longer a HUGE deal to me - like they use to be.

I can't believe it's been 20 years since I've had my license. I've surely had my fair share of driving experience and hope that I will always look back on the experience of learning to drive as a humor experience as I do today.


Now that I have talked about my experiences with learning to drive, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about their experiences:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It Will Always be the Ideal Place to Live

For this week's Thursday blog project, I asked the group to write about someone they romanticize.

Last weekend I participated in my sixth 5k race. To date, I am halfway to my goal of completing 12 5k races in 2012.

Normally, when I chose which races I do so based upon the cause that it is supporting. Race fees aren't cheap and I want my money to go to a cause I believe in; however, this race was chosen for a different reason. The particular race wasn't to support a cause, it was part of a local area's summer festival's activities. An area which I happen to moved to 10 years prior this past March.

Now, I haven't lived in this neighborhood for sometime. In the years that would follow (and even until this day) I always compared subsequent residences to this particular one. Even when I lived in a beautiful, new townhouse I still held affection for this particular unit.

As I was running the race I thought about the two years I lived in the condo I rented. It was during this stroll down memory lane that I came to realize how much I really romanticized the time I spent there. Don't get me wrong, it was a nice place for what it was. An older building with a total of 32 units divided amongst four buildings. Each building was connected to one other via the basement area which had a washer/dryer and a row of nicely sized storage units. Each floor had only four units and the silence that this building and neighborhood afforded me was truly amazing.

The interior of my particular unit was nothing special, but I used to redesign it in my mind whenever I would daydream about possibly buying it from my landlord. I would put in a small dishwasher because it didn't have one and that was the place in which I learned how many dishes one person really could produce. I'd also put in some sort of divider that opened and closed in the open area in front of the sink that faced the dining room. Though I loved having the openness on a day-to-day basis, when I entertained I wanted to not expose my guests to mess that was going in the kitchen.

I loved being within walking distance of the downtown area, but also having the quietness of a residential area. I loved that there was a shopping center just around the corner. The Ace Hardware was very convenient and saved me on many occasions when I had an immediate home repair need.

It was the first time I had lived on my own. Up until that point I had always lived with someone. I even went in to living on my own reluctantly. I wanted a roommate and I tried to find out without success. As it turned out, living alone became a luxury and something I cherished.

As I following the race route I went through neighborhoods I had walked many times over. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be running through them one day. As with my walks I thought of all the things this neighborhood, and the place I lived, meant to me and why I looked upon it with such fondness. At the time I had moved in I was rebuilding and that life looked really good from the rear-view mirror I now possess. But that is when I realized that part of the reason I look back with rose colored glasses on that place, and neighbor, isn't necessarily because it was the only awesome place to live. I think in some ways it has to do with the fact of what it represents to me in the grand scheme of things.

I left my ideal location because my landlord didn't want to sell me the unit and I was ready to buy a home. I tried buying the unit above me, but that experience is a story all of its own. Though there were things I liked about the condo I would buy, I didn't like the building and there were a lot of things that ended up being a mess. My townhouse was nice, but it wasn't by any means a happy home. And now, well... I have a nice place and love my neighborhood, but in my heart I know it's going to be time to leave soon. In someways, I think where I am has been a transitional location and my transition has been done for some time. I'm ready again to find the place, like my old unit that I romanticize where I can plant some roots and really call home. I'm not sure where that is or when I'll get there, but I sure looking forward to finding out.


Now that I've talked about my thoughts on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Friday, July 6, 2012

What Would You Take?

For this week's Thursday blog project, Susanna asked us the following question: In light of all the fires and other natural disasters, if you had to evacuate you home, what would you take with you and why? If your home was destroyed what would you miss most?

This past weekend I had to flee my place due to a power outage. It was not a situation where I knew whatever I left behind would be destroyed. (I'm VERY thankful for that.) It was, however, a situation that not only made me think about my own well being, but the well being of my cat, Elsie. Also, it got me thinking of "what if" scenarios (even before Susanna gave us our topic).

In the event of having to evacuate for a natural disaster, assuming all living being were safe and sound, I'd bring the following items:

• Drivers license, health insurance card, credit cards, etc.

• Physical copies of important documents that I may need and cannot be obtain easily.

• Laptop (Or some other way to get to important documents that don't have physical copies and I'd prefer not to access on a public computer.)

• Photos. (I'm a sentimental person and if I could grad at least a few photos from years ago I would.)

• Clothing and basic toiletries.

The one thing I really want to put on this list is something I know I wouldn't be able to take with me - my grandmother's cedar chest. If there were someway I could get this particular piece of furniture out in the event of disaster that would ruin everything in my home that would be it.

I've sat for a long time trying to wrap my head around this question as I did a few years ago when the home of a friend of mine burned down. She had to start from scratch. When they rebuilt their home, they made the floor plan exactly as it had been prior to the fire. She would tell us it was eery and had hoped her parents would have done things a little different to make it new.

Again, I don't know. Seeing my friend go through what she did made me even more thankfully that what I experienced this past weekend was just a power outage (and one that didn't really last THAT long.) Honestly, I hope to never know or need to use such a evacuation plan as this topic asks us to think about, but at the very least I hope this gets all that read this post thinking about what they would take in case they would take in the event of a natural disaster.


Now that I've talked about my thoughts on this topic, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say:

Mom of Many (Susanna)

Momarock (Sara)

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just Another Way This Isn't Four Years Ago

Four years ago, when I had to decide on what area of Chicagoland to move to, I chose to stay relatively close to where I had been. For many reasons this was a "controversial" decision as a lot my family and friend live about an hour away from me. Understandably it made sense that I would want to be as close to them as possible. However, I decided to keep myself an hour away. (Again I made this choice for many reasons... none of which are relevant to this post.)

Sunday, a strong storm hit the Chicagoland area. I was having lunch with a friend at a local Panera location at the time it hit. From our vantage point, the storm didn't look like much. Sure the rain was pouring down vigorously and it seemed to be somewhat windy, however it didn't look THAT to either of us. Before we knew it, the rain left just as quickly as it had arrived and the sun was out once again.

After parting ways with my friend, I ran around a bit and proceeded to make my way home. While at the grocery, I received a text message from a good friend of mine who was on vacation and had received a text from ComEd (our electricity provider) that service was out in her area due to the storm. She asked me if I could swing by the house to make sure there wasn't a tree in her front yard, and that the back-up sump pump was working. "Sure, but it might not be until later tonight or tomorrow" I replied. (At this point I was truly in a bubble and had no clue the strength of this storm.) As I ventured back to my part of our area, it became crystal clear why my friend was concerned about her home, and as I neared my area I became concerned as well.

"The power is out and there is no ETA as to when it will be back on." (That's what I was told when I inquired about the status of accessibility to electricity at my home.) "Crap Monkey! Crap Monkey! Crap Monkey!" I thought to myself. Then another thought popped into my head.... Elsie. Elsie is the ball of adorableness that has taken up residence with me. Not only would I need to find a place to stay for a day - or possibly two - I would have to make sure the place was "Elsie friendly". Thankfully I'd only have to make one phone call to find someone who was eager to meet Elsie. Once the bags were packed, it was off to my friend's house to check on the tree and sump pump situation, and then off to temporary housing.

On the way to temporary housing I reflected upon how different this whole scenario would have went four years ago when I had just moved to the my area and really had no support system around me.

It felt good to know refuge was just a phone call away. It was nice to see how calm and collected I stayed through the whole thing, not letting one bit of this awfulness get to me. I guess sometimes it takes events like this to really force me to take a much needed step back. It caused me to take a moment to not only be proud of the life I've established in my little corner of the world, but it also made me thankful for all that has been brought into my life as well.