Where Are You From?

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kids.1Many people ask me this simple question and I usually give a short answer that briefly encapsulates the truth in a small enough reply as not to hog the conversation and bore them with too much information. In reality, the answer is a long complicated one that is layered with locations and flavored with regions that contrast each other. Details? Ok, here goes…

I was born in Nebraska but we were merely passing through Lincoln when labor began. It’s a flat space and considered heartland of this country. I don’t have a memory of it as a child. The South left its impression on me with its southern twang that varied from city to city and it’s spicy sweet baked beans and buttered biscuits. I lived on Waffle House, juicy peaches and fresh pecans pulled right off the trees in Georgia. At least every six months I watched the corn fields go by in a blur from the backseat of our old car as we moved to a new dream. Truck stop waitresses named Donna would give me extra whipped cream on my hot cocoa in exchange for a sweet smile and good manners.

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Pennsylvania meant lush green landscape with auctions and the Dutch Amish country of Lancaster. Homemade corn chowder served steaming hot in a Styrofoam cup and warm peanut butter cookies while my mom admired the patchwork quilts with their myriad of colors and diamond designs on a white background. My dad would jokingly imitate the auctioneer with his fast-talking style of calling out the prices on items for sale. Horses and cows nearby that could be pet if I took my time and waited for them to evaluate me in my turquoise jeans, pink shirt, rainbow suspenders and brown round-toe cowboy boots.

The sound of the harmonica, John Mellencamp, and acoustic guitar all take me back to a feeling, a time where I was little and it doesn’t have a particular address. It smells like early summer nights when the warm breezes carry the scent of the trees and shrubs. It sounds like crickets and our feet hitting the pavement as we take a family walk holding hands. It looks like fireflies dancing in the air and lighting up the night sky. It feels like moments of home, moments of normalcy where it doesn’t need to get any better and things are just fine. If only it could have stayed that way…To Be Continued

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The Getaway

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A road trip with a classic paper map by Rand Mc Nally and a pen to mark our route. Kings of Leon coming through the speakers and the wind in our hair. This black convertible Cadillac is taking us on an adventure to see our country and indulge in culinary specialties from every region.

First stop the South for some hot deep fried crispy hush puppies and the tangy smell of barbecue underneath the white magnolia trees. We’re laughing because we really did it and here we are living out one of many shared dreams. I steal the last puppy and run off laughing. Time to get back in the car and head to New Orleans where we’ll settle into a dimly lit blues bar for a bit of soul infusion. Ice-cold beer contrasts the sticky, thick humidity and we set off into the night air to see the great unknown.

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Canine Capers

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Dogs draw me in, they lure me with their toothy grins and furry smiles. They reward us just for coming home and are content to be our shadow in every room of the house, even the bathroom when the door isn’t shut all the way. My bathmat is actually a dog bed and my sole purpose is to shuttle my dog back and forth to camp and the park so that she can see her canine friends and run laps with them. If I have not left the house by our usual time, she nudges with me with her cold wet nose and stares at me with amber eyes determined to get me out the door.

Koa is my third child and she’s great but there’s just one thing; she can’t calmly walk on a leash past another dog at any distance. Once she spots it, she starts the whine and then my left arm gets a massive workout as I try all the tricks the trainer taught me with the food in the other hand. My voice goes up 8 octaves and I try to convince her that she doesn’t need to hurl her 60 pound body across the street to pounce upon the mellow dog that is cruising with it’s owner who looks at me with a scowl and obvious judgement.

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Poor Koa, she doesn’t understand that her “bark, lunge, pull, bark some more and rear up on hind legs” routine is not regarded favorably by others. In her head, it means “hi, HI! Hello! Let’s play? Can we play? C’mon?!!!!!” Sadly, something is lost in translation and she is reluctant to process this fact.
We have sought help from the local version of a dog whisperer and I’m waiting with baited breath to see if we can reach normal walking down the street without acting like an idiot status. To be continued…

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Why Am I Doing This?

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New goals are inspiring, exciting and a little scary. The burst of momentum often tapers off after a few days or weeks and then slowly dissolves as the little voice of negativity gets louder and overtakes it. Not this time. I’ve decided that the only thing I want to pursue as an extracurricular activity to parenting is to learn how to use my husband’s really good camera and to turn my practically unheard of blog into something more substantial. Blogging is a way for me to share the wild ride I am on with my family and hopefully entertain and sometimes inspire others. I am exhilarated and I get butterflies in my stomach when I think about the commitment.

Fast forward a few days and I feel like a hokey novice with this giant Canon hanging around my neck, manual wedged into the back left pocket of my jeans, and the setting on autofocus just to start with. Gotta start somewhere. I can do this. One foot after the other. I snap a few pictures and get home to realize the mode was wrong and the distance and angle were off. Ok, tomorrow will be different.

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This time, I try landscape and things become a bit more exciting. I’m pretending that I actually know how to do the composition and guess what? It works! The coolest thing happens, the background gets fuzzy and the focal point of the image is sharp-I love that! I’m actually doing it!!!!

In my head, my husband comes home and I excitedly show him and he says “not bad for a start” and I’m waiting for him to say, “just kidding, that’s AWESOME!!!!!!” I’ll let you know what happens later…

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