Thursday, April 28, 2011

Out and About: Cats

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content.

I am the Apricot Lady and I laughed an evil laugh when I saw this little kitty stuck in this big palm tree. {I know, I am just wicked.} What did you laugh at out and about today?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Fever

Okay. Now that the word is out, I can blog about it.
Kate Middleton and I are best friends. {not now, but we are going to be}
This is why she is coming to visit me on her honeymoon. {she just doesn't know it yet}

Why are we {going to be} best friends, you ask?
We have so much in common:
I went to London for Christmas.
She is coming here on her honeymoon.
A lot.
Hey, I even walked through Westminster Abbey. I WAS where SHE is going to get married!

I married my prince.
She gets to marry hers.
{and mine is not in line to be in charge of a country...I prefer it that way}

I am a commoner.
She is a commoner.

Although the list is long, I won't go on with the other things we have in common.
I think I've made my point.

I'll let you know if I spot her!
You guessed it...I will be stalking!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Out and About: Fresh Produce

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content.

I am the Apricot Lady and this is how my lettuce is delivered to my grocery store. What did you see out and about today?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out and About: Transportation Options

* This fine photo is brought to you from the Apricot Lady Collection of Random Funniness. This photo was not selected for its composition and/or artistic quality. It was selected purely because of its bizarre content.

I am the Apricot Lady and I have transportation options: a mini-van or a car-a-van. What were your driving options out and about today?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Evidence of Adventures

Sometimes the boys of the family feel the need to get away on adventures on the weekends. So they just take off and go hiking or snorkeling or some other grand adventure.

I feel happy that they get time alone together. They get to climb and get dirty. They love that stuff.

Then they come home with evidence of their adventures.

Pictures like these:

There he lays. My only son. On the ancient high place of sacrifice. A mothers heart does not find this comforting.

There he is again. My only son. With his legs going in all manner of different directions.
Am I the only one wondering what will happen when my son {my only son} wants to breathe? Air. Since his snorkel is full. Of water.

Then there is this one...

This time they dragged my little baby girl into it. My only baby girl. Dangling off a cliff. I won't even comment on the dangling position of the photographer {my hubby!}.

But when I see what the camera captured...

The evidence of their adventure makes my heart smile.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How We Turned Out the Way We Did

Our parents tried their best to provide us with the perfect childhood.

house in the ‘burbs
swing set and playhouse in the back yard
birthday parties with balloons and pink cake
a dog and a cat
hand-sewn Halloween costumes…

the whole package.

Our childhood neighborhood in the burbs.

Fast forward thirty years. Our parents look at the lives that their daughters live, scratch their heads with a mixture of amused puzzlement and mild horror, and say: “How did this happen?”

On the surface, the crazy lives that we two sisters live may not have much in common. To begin with, one of us [the one who normally writes this blog] lives in the Middle East and the other [the guest blogger, yours truly] lives in Detroit. But, if you go back far enough [as all psychologists will tell you that you need to do], the common denominator in much of the craziness of the lives of these two sisters begins with these three words:
Salt Lake City.

Those mountains were the backdrop of our childhood.

Our Midwest family was transplanted to Salt Lake City, Utah in the late 1970’s. It was a very different place than the one from which we had come. We didn’t know anyone there. It was arid. There were mountains. Plagues of grasshoppers. And it was Mormon. Very Mormon. And we weren't.

Let me enumerate just a few of the ramifications and effects that this environment has produced in our adult lives:

Cultural Outsiders
Living as minorities in a majority culture is something that few WASP-y children in the U.S. have the opportunity to do, yet this is what Salt Lake City provided for us. I’m not just talking here about living as non-Mormons among the Mormon majority, although there were plenty of cultural mysteries to be unraveled there. I’m also talking about things like puzzling over what could possibly be fun about trying to cheat death by plunging down a snowy, tree-lined mountain on two waxed pieces of board.
We became used to knowing that there was probably some kind of cultural explanation for what was going on around us but often not knowing at the time what it was; aware of some kind of cultural undercurrent that we couldn’t exactly put our finger on. And thus our “normal” became the position of the cultural outsider and was a medium that we eventually continued to seek in life.

Danger, Smanger
Places where other people generally don’t want to live or vacation [like, for example, the most dangerous city in America] are attractive to us. I don’t have a good explanation of this one. Perhaps it was the fact that we saw mountain lions roaming down the sidewalks of our suburban neighborhood or, more simply, that our parents took a significant plunge in moving to Salt Lake City to begin with. With the exception of skiing, my sister and I take a fairly fearless approach to trying new things in life.  While realistic about the possibility of violence or danger […yes, it is in fact a possibility that I could get mauled by a mountain lion while walking to my friend’s house], the threat of it didn’t consume us.

Hair Problems
Maybe we can’t blame this one on Salt Lake City as much as the fact that the ‘70’s and ‘80’s were just a very bad time for hair. So, hair savoir-faire is just a vanity that both of us have had to put aside in our current places of residence. My sister has blogged on this extensively here and here and here. And don’t get me wrong – my dear friend Ms. Brenda of the Designed to Shine Salon has always done right by me. It’s just that I’m the only person who ever comes in asking for a perm to make my hair curly instead of straight.

A Love of Strays
Having been an outsider, one develops a lifetime compassion for outsiders and strays. This includes animals, people, and in my case, buildings. This leads to my last and final point…

Photo from a fascinating project about Detroit you can see here.
A Love of Lost Causes
I have an incredibly deep love of things that are unlovable and for lost causes. A delightful afternoon for me is tramping through an eighty year old abandoned building with a client, stepping over squatter’s trash and the crumbling remains of the collapsed ceiling, and thinking about how beautiful the building was and how beautiful it could be again.  This is also why my sister and the group of women that she works with craft recycled trash into works of art. We share a vision for transformation – for the possibilities that transcend what things are and offer a glimpse of what they could become. Because, in our belief [a belief, that I do believe is shared by our parents], there may be lost causes but there is truly no lost person. There is Hope for everyone. Even if they did grow up as an outsider in Salt Lake City.

Monday, April 4, 2011

An Idealistic Childhood

Sometimes I like to lay around and feel bad that I have totally messed up my kids because of the decisions my husband and I have made about living overseas.

After all, I am forcing them to give up a 'normal' childhood. We brought them both home from the hospital to our typical house in the States. It was nestled on 5 acres out in the country, 1/2 way between two great West Michigan cities. It was an all brick ranch. It had all original oak wood floors. There was a barn on the property. There was a mini-fruit orchard in the backyard. A home-made swing hanging from a big branch. When I would come get my small boy out of bed in the morning, I would often find him laying on his stomach with his head propped up on his hands, looking out the window and watching deer walk through our backyard. It would have been a typical mid-western up bringing. An idealistic childhood.

Then we moved.
And sometimes I start feeling all bad about the 'good' things my kids may be missing out on.

Then I find stuff like this in my kids notebook and I don't feel so bad anymore.

Translation: I skipped school and went to Little Petra. There are lots of caves. And everyone knows that there are lots of mountains. I like goats. I pet a Billy Goat. I saw a donkey. I climbed a mountain. I went to Little Petra, not Big Petra, Little Petra. And a Bedouin that had no teeth that was cross eyed.
{Just so you know, the Bedouin that had no teeth and was cross eyed was from a different trip we took. For some reason, she felt the need to document it on this trip, however.}

Little Petra, not Big Petra, Little Petra

Stuff like that makes me think of all the things my kids are gaining from this wonderful adventure we call our lives.
  • they have friends from around the world, I can count 10 nationalities off the top of my head!
  • they eat all kinds of things and don't complain
  • they have strong immune systems!
  • they are aware of world news and world history in a way I never was at their ages
  • they see people everyday that live in poverty and are often suggesting ways to me that we could help them
  • they are exposed to different religions which allows them to contemplate their own journey of discovering who God is
  • AND they get to skip school and hang out with toothless, cross-eyed Bedouins
What more could you ask for?

It may not be the idealistic mid-western childhood that I always imagined my kids having. But it is a surprisingly wonderful alternative.


{A few days after I posted this, my sister wrote this beautiful piece on our childhood.}