My crown collection

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11... A Confession.

It's a common question asked every year on this day... Do you remember?

I remember. I remember exactly what I was doing and what every member of my little family was doing at "that moment" on "that day".

I was pregnant with AnneMarie and had 3 little ones ages 6, 3 and 1 running the house. I hadn't slept especially well that night before and was still in bed in that awake but not quite functioning stage. Jared was home from work planning to go in late because he had taken JT to the dentist. They had just gotten home when a good friend called and said "Is your TV on?"

I remember thinking 2 things "DUH! I have kids" and "why does it matter?"

Instead I told him "Yes, on PBS kids, Sesame Street is on."

He said "Turn on the news."

"Why?" I asked

"Just do it." He replied and hung up.

I called out to Jared, as I rolled myself out of bed "Turn on the news."

He did as I waddled in from the next room . Then history was made. We were all watching when the 2nd plane hit. The house went silent, JT had been bugging his little sister and bear who wasn't yet 2 was playing with toys on the floor. Everything stopped and went silent. I know it sounds cliche but it was like something out of a movie. The kids didn't understand exactly what happened, I'm not even sure in that instance Jared and I even understood what had happened but we all knew life as we knew and as our country knew it was changing... forever.

We kept JT home from school that day, Jared stayed home from work, we couldn't stand the idea of being apart. The news was on for days until we realized that it was stressing everyone out and turned it off. We functioned and waited for news. My mom was in Georgia at the time and couldn't get home via plane so dad drove down to get her. JT paced until he knew she was home, safe and had not had to get on a plane.

We lived right under an airport fly path and so the noise of planes coming and going was just part of the soundtrack that was our life, then it stopped. I don't think I'll ever forget that eerie silence for the next week or so. Just as we were getting used to it the Happy Hooligans from Fargo flew over our house, fast and loud on their way to take some little pilot out of the air. The noise was even more jarring then the silence and the panic that hit all of us is something I can still taste.

I remember the birds seemed louder, the colors brighter but most of all I remember that as everyone watched and waited for the other shoe to drop we came together as a people. We were a little more tolerate, a little more compassionate, a little more focused on what really mattered. We love each other and we let each other know.

Stores couldn't keep flags in stock. Neighbors reached out to each other, families spent time together, hugs were given more freely and for the first time in my life boundaries seemed to be coming down through out our country. For a brief period of time we were again One Nation Under God brought together by something none of use could ever imagine but something that us stronger and most of all proud to be Americans.

I know it has been 9 years and that there are some who don't remember or choose not to remember but I think when we choose that route we forget the heroes that were born that day, normal you and me people who did what they had to do because it needed doing. I think we forget those that died simply because they were where they were at that moment in time. We forget the miracle that happened and all the other positives that came out of a scary and startling event but most of all we forget who we are and what we, as a people, as Americans, are capable of when we choose to forget "that" day. Ground Zero is still there, the Pentagon is still there, that field in Pennsylvania is still there. There are still families moving forward with out loved ones and family sending loved ones out to war to protect us and to remind us of a single day in our history. Time marches forward and so should we, but that doesn't mean we should ever forget.

I remember..... Do you?
I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. I hope it involves hugging someone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School... A Confession.

I love this time of year. I always have. The weather, in theory, starts to cool down. The trees are thinking of trading the myriad of greens for reds, golds and oranges. School supplies are on the shelves, sweaters and boots are in the stores and the lazy days of summer are traded for backpacks filled with crayons, pencils and a plethora of other required supplies. There is a feeling of equal parts excitement and dread in the air. Feelings I never really understood until I became a mom.

I LOVE starting school. I always have. I still love the idea of sitting in a classroom, a brand new notebook open, crisp white paper in front of me, a freshly sharpened pencil in hand and poised to begin whatever journey the teacher has planned. I love the smell of scotch tape or opening a brand new box of crayons all their tips perfectly sharpened as they wait for someone to transform their colors into something stunning. It always greets me as a new adventure, one with unlimited possibilities if I'm wiling to put the work in.

Once I had children that excitement changed to include them and the adventures they would have, the journeys they would take and the lessons they would learn. OK so it also includes the fact that they are at school and not at home fighting with each other but that is another blog entirely. Every year I talk up school. I ask them what they are excited about... "nothing... school sucks", is my most common response, although recess is a a close second. I ask them what is something you really hope you'll learn more about this year.... "nothing ... school sucks."

We have had talks about attitude, stretching ourselves, reaching out to others.... "great how about if I do that from my bike as I ride around the neighborhood" Nothing seems to get them excited. They are nervous, anxious and dread-filled.... How did this happen? I managed to pass on my eye color to one, my hair color to another, my sarcasm and wit along with so many other things but not my excitement for learning, at least not in a school environment. I blame it all on their father's genes. He has the same attitude. He goes because he has to. There is no joy in it. I haven't been able to cheer lead him into a different state of mind either. So as the school year kicks off. I will relish the new supplies, the adventures on the horizon and shake my pom-poms until they realize... "Hey school didn't TOTALLY suck today b/c:" I made a new friend, we had pizza for lunch, we are reading Harry Potter again, recess was extra long, I got a A; can we hang it on the fridge? Whatever it is we'll celebrate it and maybe my genes will push their way up to the front. Until then I'll keep relishing it for all of us.

I now return you back to your regularly scheduled programing. I've got pencils to buy :).

\^^^/ Ang

Monday, August 2, 2010

Waterfalls.... A Confession

My hubby , Jared and I, love waterfalls. I mean we REALLY REALLY REALLY love waterfalls. We spent our honeymoon waterfall hopping along he North Shore of Lake Superior.

I can spend hours sitting by them listening...watching... climbing over rocks and trees to get the best view, best picture.
We are now passing the obsession on to our kids. Each year we are aiming to visit at least one waterfall. Last year our trip took us to the North shore of Lake Superior in October where the leaves were showing their falls colors, the waterfalls flow under the highways and where we saw these:

The kids at Caribou Falls

Hidden Falls on the Temperance River

Temperance Falls which flow right under the highway

Cross River Falls which also flows under the highway

Cross River Falls after it goes under the Highway

The Whole Family at High Falls at Tettegouche State Park

Step One of Two step Falls at Tettegouche State Park

Step two in Two Step Falls at Tettegouche State park

Upper Gooseberry Falls

Middle Gooseberry Falls

Lower Gooseberry Falls

This year our summer waterfall trip took us to the MOTHER (at least in North America) of all waterfalls... at Niagara Falls!!!! Where we rode the Maid of the Mist, got SOAKED to the skin and walked the entire park looking at the amazing falls!
Photo credit: Al Melhinch
Many people don't realize that Niagra Fall is actually made up of 3 seperate falls: American Falls, Bridal Veil falls and Horseshoe or Canadian Falls. Collectively they are called Niagra Falls because they are on the Niagra River.

The whole family at Horseshoe falls after riding the Maid of the Mist... thus the wet hair.

Horseshoe falls, these are the ones people refer to as Niagara Falls, they have the most water going over them at 600,000 gallons a second.

The whole family overlooking American (furthest away in the picture) & Bridal Veil (closest to us in the picture) Falls

Anyone got a barrel?

Up close of Horseshoe falls..... that's A LOT of water!

As you can see it was awesome and made us super excited for our fall trip and the falls of Watkins Glen State Park in New York! Where we will get to see 19 falls all on about a mile and half walking loop!!! Hey if your interested in falls.... let me know and I'll help you find some awesome ones near where you live :) I now return you back to your regularly scheduled programing.

\^^^/ Ang

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Competing... A confession

OK I admit it I hate competing. Don't get me wrong I TOTALLY enjoy the process and preparation. I love the wardrobe and sparkle. I adore that it gives me an opportunity to take care of me for a bit. I LOVE the various categories of competition; Interview and the opportunity to discuss my platform, changes I'd like to see happen and be part of making and getting an opportunity to think on my feet. Gown & fitness: I love walking the stage and get a rush just before I hit that first mark.
I hate the scores. I hate having someone tell me I was only worthy of a 2 in fitness wear, that I lack grace in evening gown or that my interview outfit was the wrong color for my skin tone. I hate that on that one day at that one moment 5 or 7 to however many people get to, if I let them, put a number on my self worth.
But I endure it for 2 reasons. First, it keeps me working out. I hate exercise and I REALLY hate being forced to do it. I'm quite comfortable sitting at home reading, sewing, blogging, writing or any number of other things. I don't get up in the morning and think "man I can't wait to work out!" I don't enjoy what I call the S-es of working out... stinky, sweaty, sticky and sore. So I need a goal to keep me focused, competing gives me that.
Second, I'm all about my platform and volunteer work and a title helps further that work. If I win it is great and my titles have opened doors and helped me promote my platform in some AMAZING ways but all that said I really see the crown as optional. I'll do the work regardless, it just takes longer and I know too many people who can't afford to wait so I keep competing so I can unlock rather then pound doors down despite my love hate relationship with competing... OK scoring.
I now return you back to your regularly scheduled programing.

\^^^/ Ang

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monsters... A confession

I believe in monsters. Now those that follow my other blog are probably thinking 'Well DUH! You lived with one.' I am, however, not talking about those kinds of monsters. Those unfortunately are all too common in our world. I am talking about real live, hide under your bed, in your closet, hairy, scary, friends with the boogie man kind of monsters. The kind stories are written about and movies are made about. Monsters like Randell, Mike and Sulley.

Monsters like those found in the pages of Where the Wild Things Are. Monsters that keep a nightlight burning in every room of my house and keep me from letting my arms or legs hang off the edge of the bed at night. Yes I know this is silly and I'm aware that at thirty something years old I should be pass this but I'm not. I still firmly believe the Boogie man parties in the basement with the dust bunnies and whatever else is hiding down there after the lights go out and everyone heads to bed. I believe the nightmare in my closet is trying on my shoes and patiently waiting for me to forget to turn the nightlight on and step out of bed in the dark so it can lick my face and scare me to death. Finally, I know for a fact that if I don't cuddle close to my sweet hubby or if I uncurl from the fetal position allowing my brightly painted toe nails to dangle over the edge of the bed before the sun starts peeking over the horizon that the family of critters that live under my bed will pull me out of bed and make me part of their world. Since I don't look good covered in fur or hair or whatever it is that they wear I make sure not to let even my tiniest toe hang over. I know it bums the monsters out but it is the way it is going to be.

The good news is that because I know the monsters are there I know how to play the game. Because I know how to play the game I have lured all the Monsters to my end of the house, keeping my kids safe from the scary, hairy things that lurk in the corners, crevices and closets at night. Obviously I haven't quite made friends with the critters the way Max does in Where the Wild Things Are nor have they found a way to make me laugh the way Mike and Sulley do in Monsters Inc but we have come to an understanding of sorts. They are allowed free reign in the basement at night and know the rules everywhere else and as long as we all obey them no one gets eaten or turned into a monster. It all works at least until we can find a way to party together.... I mean doesn't a wild rumpus sound like fun?? Well maybe not with monsters.

I know return you to your regularly schedule programing... did I plug the nightlight in in the bathroom???

\^^^/ Ang

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thunderstorms.... A confession.

I am terrified of thunderstorms. I don't mean jump like the lady in the Kay Jewelers commercial does I mean full on terrified. Hide my head under the covers, bury my head in my husband's chest, wake up the next day with my whole body hurting because I tighten everything in my body terrified.
Yes I know thunder is just noise. I know that thunder can't hurt me. I'm even very much aware that the likelihood of my home, myself or anyone I know getting struck my lightening is crazy remote even more remote then the likelihood that I'll ever own an island or win a national title but the fear is still there. It goes beyond anything logical.
I have friends who love them and my kids can sleep right through them or even fall asleep in the middle of one. My husband can sit and watch them for hours but if they go on for any length of time I will be a sleep deprived mess by they time they are over. It's crazy, it's sad, it's completely juvenile and totally true. I'm terrified of thunderstorms and if the last couple weeks are any indication of what spring is like in Ohio I'm going to be a basket case by the time summer arrives. And with that confession...I now return you back to your regularly scheduled programming. I'm just praying it isn't a thunderstorm.

\^^^/ Ang

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beauty Queens....A confession

I'm not your typical Beauty Queen or a least not what society wants everyone to perceive as the typical beauty queen. Most days you will find me bumming around in sweats or jeans, hair pulled back in some fashion and make-up free. I don't have time to be high maintenance and I don't have the energy. Like most women I have too much to do and not enough time to do it and so I often cut out the extras... If I'm not going out in public make-up, hairspray and real clothes are extras.
In addition to not meeting the glamazon criteria for being a beauty queen; I don't enjoy beating others down with hateful comments on discussion boards. I don't have thousands upon thousands of dollars to spend on a wardrobe, I actually only own 4 gowns. I have a brain and a voice and I use both. I don't compete because I NEED another crown. My crowns & sashes are not on display and rarely come up in conversation. I'm honestly happy for whomever wins the crown as I stand clapping in the background. I believe the title of Miss Congeniality is an honor and not a pity prize. I don't have a talent or a ready prepared song, dance or instrumental piece to use on a moments notice. I've never put Vaseline on my teeth. I HATE a french pedi-cure, on my toes. I don' t have a trainer on speed dial or retainer. I enjoy food, love me some french fries, and I only exercise because I have to for my health, I can't afford to gain the 85 pounds I threw away back again (I don't use the word loss b/c they aren't lost I know right where they are). I frequently loose competition because I am too candid with the judges in interview and I've yet to perfect the glide.

All of that said I do really want world peace and will NEVER understand why we can't just get along. I do believe that one voice can bring about change. I have taped and sprayed body parts to keep them in place on stage. I've smiled so long my face hurt at the end of an evening. I've met some of my best friends while competing for the same title. I seriously LOVE shoes, I'd explain why but I think my good friend DeAnna Linz says it better in her blog and I'm like a month to a flame when it comes to anything sparkly and shiny... come to think of it maybe I am a typical beauty queen.... and I'm OK with that. I now return you to your regularly scheduled programing.. let's hope it's about jewelry.

\^^^/ Ang