Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fair Warning

We officially have less than one week until the elections, and I have to say that much of what goes on in my mind lately revolves around this very important event. Needless to say, the outcome is that most of what I write this week will be politically motivated. Of course I will attempt to throw in regular stuff like Owen's first day of preschool tomorrow, but for the most part, it's all about November 4th.

I'll start with an interesting email forward I got today from my mother-in-law. If you know me, you know I don't forward anything. In fact, my mom gets extremely frustrated at me for not even reading what she forwards. But I found this far too enticing to pass it by, and I still stand by my decision to not pass on forwards, so here you go...

" Here is a creative approach to redistribution of wealth as offered by a reader of the local newspaper, the Eagle Tribune.

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on an "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pret ty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

OR IS IT.........REDISTRIBUTION OF SOMEONE ELSE'S WEALTH IS A GREAT IDEA..............or just a fool’s political game!!"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Feeling Pretty "Spoiled"

Despite some pretty sad & humbling stuff going on in my life right now, I have to say that this particular morning, I am stoked about an opportunity that has come my way. Some of you have heard of Twitter. It's like a group text messaging system where you can "tweet" all your friends/followers at the same time, which now includes my sister. Anyways, I follow this TV spoiler site called Still Spoiled. A few days ago, they put out a tweet wondering if anyone knew any writers. Jokingly at first, I tweeted back, "I know me and I like to write." And to my surprise, they (well Ben really) got back with me. Seriously, me?

Now I don't talk much about my TV habits, mainly because I watch some shows that my teenage sister would more likely watch (but ironically doesn't), like One Tree Hill, Greek and the new CW show Privileged (which I love by the way). The other reason would center around the fact that I watch a lot of shows. Actually it's more like I stream a lot of shows on the Internet since I rarely get to watch them in prime time. I also happen to be addicted to spoiler sites, like stillspoiled.com & spoilerfix.com. So maybe it's a good fit for me to begin my writing career in the world of TV, plus I get early scoop on my favorite shows. (Disclaimer: I do like normal shows too like Heroes, Grey's Anatomy & Chuck. ) Since my dream is to one day write for a TV show, at least this will look good on my resume (that I don't have yet).

This morning Ben (who lives in New Zealand) offered me a trial for a couple weeks to see if it would work out. I'd be jumping on the couches right now, but then Owen would see me and think it was okay for him to do it, and I'm just not sure that is the example I want to be setting. Either way, I am super stoked about the opportunity, and wanted to share it with all of you.

Now if other areas (well really just one) of my life could iron themselves out, this might turn out to be one great day. This is definitely one of those prayer days, filled with praises and requests.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Really, it's not that hard to please me.

Depending on who you ask, everyone has their own favorite Halloween candy. Jo loves those peanut butter things that I can't remember the name of right now. Neil's favorite is...well, let's face it, he like anything with sugar in it. Clare loves Reese's, both the peanut butter cups and her daughter (who share the same name). And for Joyce it's all about the Milk Duds. But for me (& Katy), it's candy corn & peanuts. So today I go out...my sole mission, to get candy corn & diapers. I figure the best place to accomplish those tasks is good old Target. I go in, strap my little monsters into their "special" cart, and go off to find my items, and peruse the clearance racks of course. As I come up on the Halloween candy aisles, I begin my search for those delicious orange & yellow cone shaped candies. Hhhmm, that's weird, they are no where to be found. There were caramel flavored ones and chocolate flavored ones and the pumpkin shaped ones, but no plain old candy corn. So, I thought I'd ask someone. Maybe they have them stashed in another area of the store. In the very next aisle, there's a lady dressed in a red shirt, with a name tag that says "how may I help you?" I ask her where I can find candy corn. She says in broken English, and I'm not joking, "Um, I on da research team...dunno," then turns back to pricing packages of Dentyne gum. That was useless. I turn the corner to find another stock guy, so I ask him where I can find candy corn. He literally scratches his head and says, "I know we carry them, but I haven't seen any in a week or so."

Brief Pause: In the middle of all this, my husband calls equipped with a concerned voice. "What's wrong, Neil?" "Well, honey, it seems there is something horribly wrong with your blog. You finally post pics of the family, but there is not one of the dog." WHAT? I'm in the middle of a candy corn crisis, and he's worried about me posting a pic of the dog. I swear he is turning into his parents. But for those who care, here she is enjoying a little scratch and torture from Owen. But really, Neil, if you want me post more pics of Reese, then take more pics of her. This one was taken months ago in our old house, and it's the most recent one I could find. Now back to my story...

Am I really in Target, or have I somehow managed to wonder into Walmart without knowing it? You might be saying, "Hills, what's the big deal? Just go to another store." Okay, if you just thought that, you are clearly not pregnant with two toddlers in tote. That is so easier said than done.

Luckily, I managed to swipe up the last box of size 4 diapers, so my trip wasn't a complete waste. Now I'm home, the kids are fed and down for nap, and all I can think about is how I have plenty of peanuts and no candy corn. Such a sad day. If only I could have a tree like this one...

I'd be in heaven. Better yet, check out these sweet turkey treats. Aren't they cute?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Too Blah

I've decided my blog can be a bit blah at times, mainly lacking in things of the pictorial. So I thought I would dedicate an entire entry to the life and times of the Pennington family.

Let's start way back in August. This is us at the neighborhood picnic. It was a fabulous way for us to get acquainted with our new community. There were about a hundred people there, and a ton of kids for Owen and Blake to play with. Since then, I've attended the community association meeting and have volunteered to put together the newsletters. I'm working on my first one as we speak (or write).

Here is a pic of my friend, Katy & I (both preggo) in my new house. I'd post pics from moving day, but really, none of them are very good. I think Neil was in a close up mood. Okay, just so you know what I mean, here is an example: the stairwell leading from the basement (where we have our very own bar) to the main level. Seriously, I have 20 pics of the new house and not one of the front. I'll try and work on that.

So I didn't want you to think that I could just do photos. You all know how much Neil likes kayaking, and how much I love my husband. This is one of those videos that make me smile and screech all at the same time. I'm sure that he doesn't come down every drop as nicely as this. If you look closely, you'll see a blue blotch over by the rock on the right. Yep, that another guy's boat stuck up against the rock. Neil had to fish it out. So when you ask what Neil is up to and I say "kayaking," you'll know what I'm talking about.

So for the last couple years, our playgroup has gone to this farm nearby for a hayride, maze & pumpkin picking. Owen loved it. Blake could have cared less until it came to the hay itself. A few highlights of the day: Owen had a hard time picking a pumpkin because he thought they were too wet. Blake inadvertently had on two different shoes. I keep telling him to double check before leaving the house, but he just refused to listen. Owen finally decided on a medium sized pumpkin, then traded it for Blake's teeny tiny one. (never satisfied). Blake wasn't too keen on the pumpkin patch. He couldn't walk two steps without tripping over a vine, and he could care less about the pumpkins themselves. Owen thought the idea of a port-a-potty was "gross," but enjoyed washing his hands at the make shift sink.

Thanks to my friend, Amy, for sending me these pics. It seems that I can't ever remember to bring my camera when we go places. All this hay reminds me of Halloween, and how I still don't have a costume for Owen. He wants to be a Knight. Clare got him a shield at the Renn Faire, which he is super excited about. She also sent me to a website where I could make a costume for him, but that just sounds like work. Anyone know a real short knight who doesn't need his uniform on October 31. That would be super easy. Blake benefits from Owen's hand-me-downs, and has graciously agreed to be Superman. Isn't he nice.

It's time for me to take off for now. I have newsletters to write, camps to plan, a husband to satisfy (get your minds out of the gutter) and kids to raise. I wish I had all the time in the world to write, but I don't.

One more thing real quick. Check out the Like Hate Blog. Just do it. Don't ask questions, but I'd love to hear your feedback.

Monday, October 6, 2008

So How'd It Go, Hills?

I realize my last post was over 2 weeks ago. I think that is by far the longest I've gone without writing, and I always regret not writing. There were so many times during my trek down south that I wanted to write, but the circumstances just weren't conducive. So I thought I'd just write when I got back. It was almost as if the moment I hit my driveway at 3 am in the morning last Sunday that I was literally catapulted into real life and it hasn't slowed down since. Entering my third trimester of this pregnancy, I constantly find myself barely making it to 5 pm when my dear husband graces the front door of this home. And then it's time to make dinner, clean the kitchen, and get some laundry done. By 8 pm, my feet are swollen and weary, and all I want to do is plop down on my couch, prop up my feet, and veg a bit before I rest my body for the night.

That's great, Hills, but how was the trip? It was okay. The drive down was difficult, and not because of the demanding voices coming from the back seats. It was my dad's birthday, Sept 22. It's always those special occasions that get to you, right? Well, it got to me and of course it has to hit me as I'm driving down I-85 alone, pregnant with two toddlers. For a while I let myself dwell on Dad, still trying to get past those last few weeks, then I harnessed it all back in and focused on getting us safely to Augusta.

For the most part, the week seemed like a scheduled visit with family, almost like a typical holiday. I visited with Sherry, my step mom, my lil sister, and Neil's parents in Augusta before heading to Warner Robins to see my grandparents, my mom, my aunt, uncle, and cousin's wife and new daughter. It was good to see everyone. Heck, I even got to see my aunt's (who lives in VA) new husband as he was passing through town on his way back home. As I drove back to Augusta, I stopped briefly in Milledgeville when Neil and I went to college, met, and fell in love. I guess I was feeling nostalgic.

If you've ever traveled back roads in Georgia, you'll know that it's difficult to get cell service. I was in a dead zone for nearly an hour and a half. In that time period, I managed to rack up 6 voicemails and several missed calls, one of which was from my sister (who I was talking to when I lost coverage). When I called back, I found out that my dad's sisters and my own sister would not be able to make the internment due to the gas shortage. Now I have to be honest, with the exception of my sister, I have to say I wasn't all that sad. Actually I was relieved. Now I didn't have to deal with all the drama I wrote about in my last post. I was also relieved to hear that Sherry was still planning to move forward with the service, since I had traveled all this way and wouldn't really be able to come back. So Saturday came, and Sherry, Alex (my lil sis), and I made out way to Magnolia Cemetery, a place I'd been many times with my dad over the years. It's an ancient place, county owned, and completely sold out. But my dad spent so much time there, continuously exploring it's history, writing about it's people, and getting to know the caretaker. They made a place just for him underneath a young magnolia tree. Dad would have loved it. The service was short, simple, and sweet. Sherry's best friend's husband read from the Book of Prayer while Sherry placed the box in the ground. We said a prayer and that was it.

I think I needed the simplicity of it all. I miss my dad so much. Sherry and I both would talk about how much he would have loved the politics of today, and how pissed off he'd be at the stupidity of those dorks in Congress. And when I think about the drama in the family, I know he'd be pretty pissed about that as well. Of course, if he were still here, it wouldn't be happening now would it? I feel bad for Sherry and Alex because I know what it's like to be cast out, intentionally or not, from the same family. Now I find myself in a situation I am forced to deal with, to make a decision, to stay stagnant or move forward. Now that Dad is gone, I could walk away from his family, and I could almost guarantee they would most likely not even notice. Sure, from time to time, my name may arise in a conversation or two, wondering what became of me, but I seriously doubt anyone would actually pick up a phone to ask. Seriously, before those fateful few weeks I was in GA, I hasn't spoken to most of them in years, and if I did, it was because I went to visit or called. Granted I do get Christmas cards from two of my aunts each year, and on the rare occasion I make it down to Florida to see my mom, I make the effort to see my Aunt Cathy, the only aunt to attend my wedding 7 years ago. But other than that, I feel like a complete outsider to that family, so it would be easy to just walk away...but would it be best? When I was fifteen or so, I chose to spend Thanksgiving with my Dad's family which always happens at my Aunt Helen's house. I think at that time, they were still living in Macon. Soon after that, they moved to TN. Anyways, I went there every third week in November until Neil and I moved up here (and then it just didn't make sense). If I didn't go, I would never have seen any of them. It's still not feasible for us to travel to TN for Thanksgiving, with all the other families we have to visit, so I'm not sure exactly what the solution is. Do I make an effort to have a relationship with Dad's family? Of course I will, because that's what I do, that's who I am. It's who I've always been. The question is how, and that I don't have an answer to right now.

So it seems my trip was more about dealing with family then it was about Dad. And maybe that's the way it was supposed to be. I'm pretty sure it's about 21 years overdue, and I now realize I need to deal with this junk that has build up inside of me, for my own good, for my own peace.

It's time to get ready to go to the Y for Owen's swim lessons. The first two times we went, he literally sat on the edge of the pool and cried. He'd tell me each time how he didn't want to go swimming, then he switched gears, and now he loves it. Next week, I'll be signing him up for pre-school 2 days a week, and if budget allows, I'd like to keep him in swimming lessons for one more session. He's growing up so fast.