Monday, August 13, 2012

going back in time

Today I officially went back to school. Kids don't come until next Monday. I've had several workshops and work days in the last few weeks, but today was my official end of summer vacation. It is always a sad day. And never any fun. Boring workshops all day. Sitting in the cafeteria in meetings for most of the day. Yuck.

These last few weeks in Arkansas have been so hot. I think that July went in the books as the hottest on record. 

Now, maybe it seems as though I'm rambling, but I do have a point. Back to school and record breaking heat do have a connection. And it is that connection which caused me to find so much enjoyment in finally arriving home this evening.

You see, during the summer I spend much of my time in a sports bra. About the only time I put on a real bra is for church or going out to eat - some special occasion. And for years now I have worn spanx type tank tops over the bra to gain some control over the giggle. But honestly, it has been so hot that I have foregone the spanx. Yep, for the last few weeks in hopes of catching even a small breeze, I have let the jelly rolls and love handles breathe. Who can worry about containing giggle when it's over 100.

But today. Today I had to go back to work. Which meant a real bra and a layer of "suck-it-in" under my shirt - like a Southern Belle tied in her corset. I would not have made a good Southern Belle. I couldn't wait to get home tonight and unleash the beast.

Not very genteel. Not very refined. But oh so comfy. Ahhhhh!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

an unexpected blessing

For the last several years I have kicked off the month of August by attending the Methodist Family Health Big Dam Bridge Walk for Children and Families with the UMY group. It is always extremely hot on the day of the walk. There were some differences in this year's walk but not in the temperature - it was HOT. In years past, we have had quite a few people in our group. And it has usually been hared for me to huff and puff my way up the the bridge. This year it was just me and a few of the youth kids. And I was able to stay at the front of the pack - even passed a lot of people because they were walking too slow! That was new for me.

When the walk was done, we went to get some supper and then headed to the lock-in at Wild River Country. After that hot afternoon, the kids are always ready to hit the water slides. Because I was the only adult, I grabbed a lounge chair and got my book out. But it was just soooo hot, even at 10:00 p.m. In hopes of cooling down just a bit, I left my perch and headed for the lazy river. As I was coming around to the exit, I noticed a women floating and walking along beside a boy in a tube. She was talking to him. The boy, in a life jacket and awkwardly laying in the tube, was obviously enjoying the ride.  When we got near the exit, another lady was waiting with a wheelchair. I thought it was neat that he was able to float in lazy river and enjoy the lock-in. And then I went back to my book and lounge chair. Soon I noticed that the ladies pushed the boy in his wheelchair back to their loungers which were just in front of me.

I didn't want to stare. I tried to return to my book. But my attention was drawn toward the boy and his caretaker? mom? youth leader? I'm really not sure. When they got back to their seats, one of the ladies covered a lounge chair in towels; I thought it might be his mother. But then the other lady lifted him out of his chair and place him on the lounger. The first lady then left. The lifter lady went on to cover the boy with a towel. Then she carefully dried him and without moving the towel managed to change his clothes. Now, I'm telling you I tried not to stare, but I was drawn to the action in front of me. It was obvious that the lady and the boy had a good relationship. Soon she lifted him again and placed him back in the wheelchair. And I wondered how many times she had lifted that boy. How many more times she would have to lift him. How many more years she would be able to lift him. And I was taken aback for just a moment. And I prayed for the boy, for the lady, for my boys, for the kids I brought with me, for the kids splashing in the water around me. And I thanked God for his many blessings.

How many times do we, in our rush and hurry, not notice God's presence in our daily lives? If I had brought more kids, if another adult had been with me, I might not have noticed the boy and his lady. I might not have seen God's angels in front of me. I might not have taken the opportunity to pray for the many people surrounding me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

new orleans weekend

I am married to a workaholic. When he has nothing to do, he THINKS of something. Yesterday evening when it was still over 100 degrees, he comes in for a few minutes between jobs and says, "I think I'll go wash the back of the house." Really?

So a few weeks ago, I was surprised when he suggested that we go to New Orleans for our anniversary weekend. And even more surprised that he didn't back out.

We left Friday morning after he had completed his early morning chicken stuff. Lovey really likes Dairy Queen, and he was happy when we found one in the town where we stopped for lunch.

I actually made our hotel arrangements as we drove down. We stayed at the Bourbon Orleans. From our window we could look down on a small section of Bourbon street.

It was raining when we arrived. We took the umbrella with us on our first trip out but never had to use it. Several times during the weekend it sprinkled, but we managed to miss it every time.

Lovey really enjoyed people watching from our hotel window. When we checked in they asked if we wanted to move to a room with a balcony. It was $60.00 more a night, and I thought we wouldn't be in our room enough to justify that much. Had I known how much he would look out this window, I would have gladly paid for the balcony. However, we might not have gotten the rooftop view with a balcony room.

Saturday morning we walked to Cafe du Monde for beignets. And then went to the French Market. The beignets and cafe au lait were soooo good. I can't say the same for the French Market - I was disappointed.

Then we walked along the river and found the aquarium. I am a sucker for aquariums. And I wasn't at all disappointed here.

There was a small screened in area full of birds. For only a $2.00, I bought food sticks. After just a few minutes I had two birds perched on my hands eating from the sticks.

I just have to say here that New Orleans humidity and my hair did NOT get along. And this screened in area had misters! I could feel my hair getting bigger and bigger while I was out there.

I could walk around Jackson square all day. There were some amazing artists there. And the square is just beautiful. This photo of the cathedral is my favorite of the entire weekend.

We found a balcony on Bourbon street and had lunch there. The food was good, but we had to wait and wait for service.

The balconies in the Quarter are just so pretty. It took us just a minute to find the one that had the bubble machine on it. Bubbles were everywhere on this street.

In the afternoon, we were picked up at the hotel for an airboat tour of the swamps.

The pictures just don't do it justice - it was gorgeous!

And of course, we got up close and personal with a few of the locals.

After walking around the French Quarter all afternoon and our ride on the air boat, we went back to the room so that I could try to get that hair under control. I made Lovey stop for a few pictures before we went outside - I knew the hair would blowup as soon as we stepped out on the sidewalk.

Sunday morning we hit Cafe du Monde one more time. And then wondered back to the hotel and headed home. But along the the way we stopped at Middendorf's for lunch. Oh my, it was good. Maybe the best seafood we had on the trip - and we ate seafood for everything except breakfast.

It was a great weekend getaway  - no schedules at all. We just don't get the chance to do this very often. But the workaholic had a great time. Maybe I can talk him into another weekend trip soon for the next anniversary.