Saturday, July 28, 2012

Full On Smize.

 The Smize...
If you are not familiar with the term, it is defined by Tyra Banks (America's Top Model) as "smiling with your eyes."
Tyra says that it's really important to
 " and exude warmth from your eyes, without warmth, your eyes will appear soulless and empty."
Gasp! Who wants empty eyes?
Lily has never watched America's Top Model but absolutely did not want her 11 year old eyes to appear one bit soulless. Thankfully, her big sister was able to step in and teach her the art of the smize while they were together on vacation.
The trick (so I'm told) is to "take the hungry out and leave the happy in."
Don't they look very expectant in their smizey-ness?
The thing about the smize is that once you start, it becomes a part of you and you might find yourself in smizing away while eating Cheerios.

( I think that Harry the budgie might be a little smizey here too, or perhaps he is just begging for cereal- hard to tell with hungry little bird eyes.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pay it Forward.

My rowdy family at breakfast, Hilton Head Island, SC.
 A remarkable thing happened to my family while we were vacationing last week.
We were finishing up our breakfast, when the restaurant hostess came over to our table and told us that another patron had bought us breakfast... our check was paid for and we could go whenever we were ready.
(of course I didn't believe her and went up to pay anyway)
Are you sure it was our table?
You must be mistaken...we don't know anyone here.

She assured me that our meal was already paid for... most definitely.
We were a table of eight big eaters, which makes for a big bill. Why were we the benefactors of such a random act of kindness?
We couldn't figure it out. It was a true mystery.

The younger kids concluded that there must have been a really nice person in the restaurant who felt like doing a really nice thing for someone... and we were the family that got lucky.

(the universe is less mysterious when you are under ten)
 The next morning we returned to our new favorite breakfast place and following our meal, I told the hostess that we were in the day before and someone paid for my family's breakfast and now I wanted to secretly pay for the breakfast of the family who happened to be sitting next to us, in addition to our own. 

 "No problem," she said, as she totaled our breakfast neighbors bill... "I'll just tell them that yesterday someone bought your breakfast for you so today, you wanted to pay it forward, and buy theirs.  
Pay it Forward
It was quite lovely to hear this expression explained so simply by our breakfast hostess.

My grandfather used the term a lot and also my father...
They both borrowed it from OSU football Coach Woody Hayes...who borrowed it from Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Who knew that philosophers and football coaches held on tight to the same beliefs?

Here is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Coach Hayes as he quotes Emerson.
 Try to take that attitude toward life, that you're going to pay forward.  So seldom can we pay back... Emerson had something to say about that: "You can pay back only seldom. You can always pay forward, and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent." That was Emerson's attitude, and no one put it better than he did.
Pay it forward.

Thank you dear coffee shop patron who paid for my family's breakfast for no apparent reason.

And thanks also to my Dad, and Grandfather who taught the concept of paying it forward,
and their inspiration for the term...Coach Woody Hayes.

And finally, thank you Ralph Waldo Emerson for coming up with the ideology itself of Pay it Forward  that inspired kindness in so many for 200 years after he first wrote of it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet Peanut Butter...and Dorito.

Meet Peanut Butter...
and his little brother Dorito.
Their new proud parents, Henry and Jamie.
Henry came up with the clever hamster naming strategy of naming them after two things that went well together.
He wanted to name his little fellow Peanut Butter and have Jamie name his little guy Jelly, but Jamie rebelled against that and insisted on calling his guy after his favorite gas station snack.... "Dorito."
Henry was annoyed, but by then strongly felt that "Peanut Butter" should most definitely be the name of his oldest son, it was a cute name, it suited him and he was already used to it. Of course, Jamie felt equally strong about his own chosen name and wouldn't budge on "Dorito."
An impasse was reached and both hamster names now stand as is.

Such is the drama of my sons and their rodents.
Peanut Butter and Dorito are royal hamsters... they spend a fair bit of time lounging about their castle, and poking their pink noses through the turrets.
Peanut Butter looks a little surprised to be photographed here...he might be the only hamster on our block whose castle is stalked by paparazzi .
The boys wanted to see what life inside the giant hamster ball was like and fortunately had that opportunity at Newport on the Levee, where for a few bucks, your kid can roll around a kiddie pool in a blow up hamster ball.
Both Jamie and Henry thought this was the coolest thing ever and Jamie became quite accomplished at this skill. If Hamster Ballz ever becomes an olympic sport, he has a fighting chance of a medalling.
Their report on what it's like inside the big ball...
"Fun and wiggly...also, hard to hear stuff..."
So there ya go... boys and their hamsters, alike in so many ways. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fabulous French Lick.

My family spent the weekend in our neighbor state.
We visited the great state of Indiana... in a magical place called French Lick.
Before you go making fun of the name, check out the hotels.
This is our Lily in the atrium of the West Baden hotel.. nope it's not Paris, but rural Southeastern Indiana.
 And here is the back of Lily meandering through the lobby of the lesser of the two hotels, the one where we stayed with our dear friends and tribe of children.
Yes... those are gilded murals painted on the ceiling. 
Did you know that NBA great Larry Bird is from French Lick?
On occasion, Mr. Bird was called The Hick from French Lick-
(though probably never to his face)
and only because it rhymed. 
I'm fairly certain that those meanie name callers didn't hail from a town with gilded ceilings and domed, columned atriums. 
Had they visited such Indiana majesty, I think that they would have totally taken back that "hick" comment.
Skipping 'round the old spring house...
French Lick became a vacation destination in the mid 1800's when modern medicine meant spending quality time "taking the waters" of the sulphur springs that were discovered there.The mineral water was bottled and sold as a health drink called Pluto Water, meant to cure a variety of ailments including psychosis, scarlet fever, depression, acne, and of course...  
 One of the great things about youth is that you don't really know or care what a laxative is. This innocence of our dear sweet, and very regular, youth, made it much easier to get the kids to pose smiling under the giant and historic laxative sign. 
(snicker, snicker...)
While Jamie didn't mind posing under the laxative sign, the highlight of his weekend was the evening showing of his now favorite film, Jaws in the hotel pool area.
(Jamie is holding a few rubber sharks to play with in the pool- he rarely travels without a rubber shark or two) 
Rosie's weekend highlight was finding a pony to ride and an honest to goodness Ray-Ban wearing cowboy to lead her around for a little while.
Rosie's perfect morning defined.
It was a truly lovely weekend and my team felt that we made a wonderful discovery...
 a fabulous hotel made historically famous by laxative water and then better by the addition of Jaws and ponies.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Brothers of the Sun/Sisters of the Sandbar.

Myself and seven gal pals were able to go see a couple of brothers of the sun the other evening. 
One of the ladies felt that such an evening called for a limo and used her car company connections to score us one for the evening.
She was so right... nothing says big fancy limo more than eight women in hats and boots.
We felt very cool and important and all remembered to pose hand on hip, like our prom-going daughters.
Who are the brothers of the sun, you may ask?
This is the first brother...Tim McGraw.
Please note the tighty whitey jeans... they quickly became the most discussed point of the evening.
This is the other brother of the sun... Kenny Chesney, who was fabulous in his own right, but alas- his jeans were not nearly as epic. 
 We were lucky enough to have seats in the area the tour called the "sandbar" which meant that you had no seats, but a super amazing up close and personal spot, close to the stage to enjoy the show.

It wasn't long before we all became Sisters of the Sandbar.
 We were so close in fact, that we felt like those brothers of the sun were singing directly to us... so many of the songs had great lyrics that resonated with us sisters...
She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem
and our personal favorite
Truck Yeah!
They were all poignant and lovely songs and we felt like they spoke to our soul just as much as did those white jeans. 
The night turned a little woodstocky when Tim McGraw was rudely interrupted by a dramatic thundershower.  A severe storm rolled in and the sisters of the sandbar were directed behind the stage and into the stadium to wait out the storm, where we had a celebrity sighting.
The entire crowd from the sandbar was responsibly marching into the safety of the stadium when one of our sisters peels away from the crowd and toward the backstage trailers. Apparently she had spotted Brett Michaels and need to go pay a visit. I wasn't aware that Brett had diabetes, but Kate sure did, and when she flashed her insulin pump there was an immediate connection... he called out to her...
Hey Babygirl, I know how it feels, I know how it feels....
They shared a beautiful moment...
I wanted to photographically capture that experience for Kate's scrapbook, but sadly, the severe thunderstorm was too much to my camera to function. I guess that she will just have to imagine herself and Brett in diabetic solidarity, as the rain poured down around them.
 Then we continued on our way to the shelter of the stadium where we calmed down, waited for the storm to pass and looked for a ladies room.
We had a lot to go over... Kate's new relationship with Brett, life in the sandbar and of course Tim's white jeans. We were still in discussion when the storm cleared and Tim was back on stage in full swagger, pointin' and singin' as is his habit.
 After Tim's set, Kenny took over the stage and had his own dynamic sensibility... he was fun and very energetic. The sisters of the sandbar loved Kenny's adorable and hyper little self.
 Then the special surprise guest, Brett Michaels (which was not a surprise to us) joined Kenny and Grace Potter (of Nocturnals fame) on stage and we all felt a certain kinship with him since he and Kate shared that moment in the rain.
Both brothers of the sun and their special guests ended the show by covering Jackson Browne's Running on Empty.
It was a mighty fine ending of a night full of fancy wheels, great friends, a short but dramatic thunderstorm, and fun and energetic music. 

A most perfect summer night.

As Tim McGraw
(and the sisters of the sandbar)
would say... 
Truck, Yeah!