Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Tonight I find myself reflecting back on a summer almost gone.

This week my son is visiting his dad down in Oklahoma. The first of the summer I had a ton of days to myself while he was busy preparing and then going to Europe. Now I'm with another nine days all to myself while he's visiting his dad. He'll return and then it's prep for a new school year.


I've also seen my relationship with my son take a new turn - a really positive one. The Europe trip allowed him to see that he's more than capable of taking care of himself. He feels more confident in his capacity and comfortable in his own skin, and it shows in everything. Now I find myself at a crossroads in this new relationship.

It is very important to me to allow him this space to continue down the road toward manhood. Problem has been that so much of my life has been devoted to raising him, but now I have a chance to begin the process of considering what I will do post child-rearing.

Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to the opportunity in many ways. For the first time in nearly seventeen years I have a chance to consider some of the things I've wished to do - things I've put on hold. Trips I may wish to take just for the pure enjoyment of it.

And without my son along for the ride.

I know it scares alot of people when the kids begin to leave the nest. There will be moments that it feels a little scary to me, but this is what I've worked and sacrificed for all these years. The time has come to see the payoff. How could I not be happy that this day is rapidly approaching?

That means my son will be off in the great big world, forging his own path, and my job will be complete - for the most part anyway.

Now all I need to do is start figuring out where I'll want to go first. I've a pretty good idea of where that will be. :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Going Mental

Taking Saturday for a mental health day must have been a good thing. A really good thing.

I have a job interview.

Yes, even though the pickings are slim I've received another call for an interview. This is with a firm here in my hometown that is growth minded and yet still a small enough institution in which to have some influence and just plain fun.

After all, I love to be a part of making things happen.

Which is part of the issue in dealing with the big boys. Don't get me wrong - each player has it's piece in the puzzle. But for me, I prefer to be able to immerse myself up to my waist and slog it out with the best of the forward thinkers.

Which is probably why I love watching Deadliest Catch. I'd go out on a crab boat anyday if ever given the chance. Probably puke my guts up and be scared half out of my mind, but hey - what an adventure in which to do it. If you're going to die, why not go out in such a setting?

But getting back to the daily dose - I'm just really excited about the possibilities of being a part of such an institution. Whether I personally make a mark or assist in someone else being able to make theirs, slogging it out with the best is what makes it all worthwhile. All I want is a chance to prove myself.

And I still want to go crab fishing in the Bering Sea someday. Yeah, I know - then I'll really be mental.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mental Health Day

Today I decided to take a mental health day.

My son is gone for a week to visit his father. He's become the traveling teenager lately.

So I find myself home with few chores needing accomplished. The house is pretty much in order and the laundry had to be completed before my son left. That gave me a Saturday all to myself just to relax.

I've taken full advantage of it.

Spent some time emailing and talking on the phone with friends - yes, some of those friends I've recently come back into contact with from my high school days. The day allowed for two workouts (hey, a girl's gotta try and stay somewhat in shape at my age), a smack of time playing a game on the computer, a little dose of reruns of Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel, and some wonderful hours of reading.

In my younger years, I could devour a book in a matter of hours and the massive books I could spend reading most of the day. Those times were always so nice and have been rather fleeting or nonexistent most of my adult life.

So today no job searching, no chores, no errands to run - just pure unadulterated relaxation.

We all could use a bit of that now and then. I'm learning how important it is to one's well-being and plan to take advantage of it a little this week before my son's return and the rush of back-to-school preparation.

Then it will be back to chaos for another school year. Then hopefully a direction for me too.

But I've enjoyed my summer off. :-)

Friday, July 24, 2009

High School Memories

Not sure what the deal is this week, but I've seen a flurry of old friends from high school cross my Facebook page. It's been wonderful to catch up with a few of those old friends and reminisce about life back then and where life has taken us all since.

Some experiences were hard. Some great, and some not so great. But each thread of experience has woven us all into the person we've become today. We're probably all better for it in many ways, though life would have been easier if we'd made some better choices earlier on.

The good thing about catching up is being reminded of all the tidbits of fun and orneriness (but in a good way) we used to get into. There's so much I'd forgotten. My later high school years had some very difficult and unpleasant experiences associated with them. Therefore, I waited only to get away as soon as I could and throw the terrible memories into the dung-heap.

Only problem is that when we throw aside the bad memories, the good ones go right along with them.

So now that I'm being reminded of all the fun and absolutely hilarious memories of the past, it gives me so many warm feelings on which to hang my hat.

I think I'll let those stay awhile.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Collection Complete

My son's Europe collection is now complete and he can bid a fond farewell to the experience.

His final sword just arrived.

This one is much more elegant and detailed than the Lionheart sword. It is another heavy weapon, but came with its own wall plaque.

Thank God it also came with its own mounts and brackets. Another wall in his man cave is going to hate me very soon.

This one is a Robin of Locksley weapon (also known as the Earl of Huntington - better known as Robin Hood) and sports a pretty red crystal embedded in the pommel. The blade is etched with elegant runes and the hilt is decorated with two eagles' heads. It's a lovely specimen. No wonder it cost a bit more than the first.

The store also included a large brochure (in German, of course) that included examples of many other swords, specifically swords of kaisers and those of historic German nobility. My son visually devoured it and found several additional swords that hadn't been on display when he'd been in the shop. He's already making a mental list of those he'd like to have, though he wants to wait until he goes back (if he chooses to do so) because the group received nice discounts for purchasing in the local stores. How considerate of him. Hmmm...

Just a glance at the website reveals that they received some very good discounts indeed. He did good.

Now if he decides to return in two years...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Weapons of the World

Speaking of weaponry and my son's love of swords last night reminded me that I promised to post pictures from the weapons cache in the Louvre during my son's visit to Paris. He took some great pictures of Greek and Roman helmets, breastplates, and swords. There's even a pic of a couple of dueling pistols and full-body armor, but I'm not sure from what era. This was where he was in his element.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Slaying the Snowman and Other Sword Tales

The deliveryman just came bearing a gift.

My son finally received one of his swords purchased in Rothenburg, Germany during his Europe travels.

Comparatively speaking, it's actually rather lightweight for as long as it is. The medallion at the cap of the handle sports the familiar symbol of Richard the Lionheart. It's a nice rendition of a medieval knights sword.

The sword quickly found its place on my son's sword rack in his man cave. It's a good thing the sword was a little lighter than some of the other ones because I don't know how much more weight the wall can hold. Now there are only two open slots left on the rack.

The remaining sword to arrive has a home ready for it unless it comes with a separate hanging plaque. Another wall in his man cave already sports Anduril from the Lord of the Rings, but it hangs on it's own plaque. Had to buy special mounts to screw into the wall before hanging it because THAT, my friends, is one heavy sword (not to mention the thing is loooong!). That poor wall would kill me if we tried to hang another sword on it.

Never realized my son's penchant for swordplay until he was four. I bought him a cute little plastic sword, with which he summarily slayed a snowman and broke the tip off into it. We finally found the tip when the snow melted, but that poor sword didn't last long no matter how much superglue we used. Then he received another larger plastic sword as part of a costume a few years later.

Then came fencing classes when he received his first "real" sword, an electronic rapier weapon. He's been collecting various swords ever since, including two from the Final Fantasy movie sitting on his bedroom dresser. Sometimes I forget about those.

Of course, I have a tendency to support his fascination when birthdays and Christmas come around. Fantasy is my favorite genre remember.

For now we'll await the next brave deliveryman to grace our doorway, once again bearing a gift from the Old World to the New.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Everything In Its Place

Busy day, but it was so much fun!

Our friends came into town last night and we all got together today. Everyone ended up staying later than expected, but it seemed to be because we were having such a great time. The boys went straight to the man cave, went swimming, came back and filled their plates and went straight back to the man cave.

After all, it's what the man cave is for I guess.

I talked to one of my friends who spearheaded this thing once everyone left. She and I both agreed how much we all enjoy getting together. This is a group of people that we can just let our hair down with and be loud and obnoxious and laugh uproariously and still be friends at the end of the day.

No airs. No faces or hats. Just being who we really are and knowing we have a great time together.

That's what real friendship is all about.

It's why it hurts so bad that the one family moved away. Hey, but their coming into town is what gives us all a good reason to get together again.

We need to come up with more excuses to do that more often. Give me a little time and I'm sure I'll think of something. I've got this big house now and it's great for entertaining.

Even if it takes much longer to get in order for guests. Hey, they're all worth it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pavement in Heaven

Today we've been pretty busy preparing for the arrival of guests tomorrow. We're having a get-together at our house to celebrate the brief visit of some dear friends. Their son was part of the gang of five with my son and their other friends until they moved away about five years ago with a job.

My goodness, has it been that long?

Anyway, they go visit family in Wisconsin every other year and so spend a couple of days here to reconnect with everyone on their journey north. It's always so nice to see them again, and also to see the boys all back together. They've all changed so much!

I will always regret one thing, however. Just before they moved to Texas, the mom and I had time to connect and develop a friendship. We'd do a girls night out or just hang at her house or my house picking up and dropping off when our boys would get together. Then the news of the move dropped like a bomb.

I was devastated.

It'd been several long years since I'd had a good friend, someone that I felt comfortable confiding in and whose husband wasn't secretly after me (long story). So the news seemed like a blow to my heart once again.

So I decided right then and there that I wasn't going to hesitate anymore in seeking out and developing close friendships. Early in my life, I recognized the need for realness in relationships, especially among trusted friends.

I'm blessed many times over in that regard once more, but I learned the lesson through many bumps and bruises. However, I'll take the bumps and bruises anyday rather than NOT risk friendship - before it's too late.

So my message to you tonight is to take a chance and work hard to develop friendships while the opportunity is there. In today's society we need them more than ever. They are worth the time invested. If you have hesitated before, make a vow right now to not waste another moment to obtain good, close friendships.

Relationships are worth their weight in gold. Remember, that's mere pavement in heaven.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Loving the Louvre

There were so many pictures to choose from with my son's shots of the Louvre, but here's a small sampling for your viewing pleasure. Find enclosed a picture of the Mona Lisa - it's surprisingly small. He said there was so much ceiling art, but I'll only offer up a few choice pieces. His favorite part was the room with all the historic weaponry and Roman armor, but that will probably require another post. After tomorrow, I'll take a break from posting a bunch of pics and get back to more important matters. Like writing!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cruising Through Paris

I promise I'll get back to posting proper articles and stories again very soon. Here's a few pics of the Arc de Triomphe looking down Champs Elysees, the Paris bridges and a few sites they saw on their Seine River cruise while in France. Can you guess which one is known as the Napoleon Bridge? Ah Paris!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The City of Lights

Well now that we’ve enjoyed some pictures of England, I figure it’s time to see the sights of Paris, the City of Lights. Once again, my son showed what a natural talent he has for photography. Someone even mentioned that the one of Sacre Coeur and one of the Eiffel Tower pics look like postcards. Nope, all were from my son’s camera (as my bank account groans from processing all 638 pics).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pomp and Ceremony - English Style

Normally I don't post on Sundays, but since there's still sooooo many pictures to go, I wanted to post one more time on their England leg of the journey. The pictures here are at Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guard. I didn't realize the pomp and ceremony for this event. They block off traffic and have a big parade every day as part of this ceremonial ritual. I wonder if any of the guys from the trip tried to make the guards smile.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Carousing London's Cathedrals

My son took some pictures of incredible chapels and cathedrals in England, with their fabulous architecture and stunning details. The picture at the top is of Westminster Abbey, but I'm not sure about the others. However, the interior shots at the bottom were inside Wesley's Chapel, home of their first performance during Sunday morning services. It's funny though because the most humble of exteriors houses some of the most beautiful of interior details and an enormous pipe organ. My son fell in love with the pipe organs of Europe.
There's more of those to show, but we'll wait for later posts. Gotta stay in order, you know.