Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Donation of Love

This is my friend James and my hairdresser LaVonda.

Now, I have been going to LaVonda for 7 years. She is a treasure and she treats me very well. I have trusted her with my curls for that long, the only one that I will let touch my locks. Maybe this is why James decided to see her too. I have sent several people to her and in return, I reap the rewards.

Many months ago, James asked who I would recommend to cut his hair. Now, in this picture you can't see all of his hair, and I mean ALL of his hair. He had these curls that anyone would just die for. Gorgeous hair, too gorgeous for a man to have. But he took care of them, he never looked like a mop and he was always very well groomed. He was also being cautious as to whom would cut his hair.

Over the months he let his hair grow and grow. I was amazed how long it had gotten. But there was coming a time that it was going to have to come off. He was accepted as a Military Chaplain, and you know what that meant. The hair was to be cut off.

I suggested to him who he should go to and I also mentioned that I wanted to be there. And when the time came for the cutting of the locks, I was present. Ready and waiting with my camera.

LaVonda measured his hair. She cut 10" in a pony tail but there was about 11" to 12" that he had to have cut off. Wow, I couldn't believe that! She put it in the ponytail and proceeded to cut. Ok, no one cried, but I knew that James was a little apprehesive about it. This was an experience for all of us.

And off it came. There was a lot there! But it was going to a good cause.

A while back, James decided to let his hair grow long enough to donate it to Locks of Love. How wonderful is that? He gave up beautiful curls for a child to have a wig. How giving, how very unselfish is that? And I was very proud to be there, to be able to watch the entire thing and to be a part of this.

I had to chuckle a bit when the clippers came out. It was rather weird to see his hair that short, for clippers to be that close to his head, but you have to do what you have to do. The military is a little picky about what they want on your head.

Wow, what a difference!

I was very impressed with the outcome. He looked wonderful, very handsome. And I am happy to know a young man that is so generous. He is following what he believes is the way to go. He donated a possession to a child that needs it more than he did. He was unselfish in his giving and will be rewarded greatly for the donation.

Now doesn't he look handsome? Yes, he does. And he has a spirit that matches. A giving soul. A tender heart.

LaVonda didn't charge him. She was honored to do it. I was honored to be there. It was a wonderful thing for all of us to experience.

Thank you James for your kind spirit. Your generosity. You are one of a kind and I, for one, have been blessed knowing you.

Chuck's Valentine's Day Surprise

Let me start off that Chuck hates Valentine's Day. To him it is just another day for the florist, candy people and Hallmark to make more money. He doesn't send flowers on Valentine's because they do cost a fortune. He will buy a card and, like last year, make a dinner. But he has to work today until 8, and he is planning on a very busy day at work. So, I know that I won't get anything from him. BUT PJ has something from school for me. So, that will work.

A few years ago I sent him some tulips from ProFlowers. Those suckers cost me a small fortune. And really, they don't last long enough to justify the cost. So, I really don't buy flowers anymore. They may seem romantic at the time, but really now, the price is just outrageous.

This year I got a little creative. I think that when you make something it means more to the receiver than spending the money on them. Yes, I would love, and I MEAN LOVE, to get a delivery today. But I know I won't. I may not even get a card.

So, in this bouquet I have hearts, dozen roses and chocolate dipped strawberries. I bought the bow and then got home and realized that it wouldn't go all the way around. Ok, now what. I put my little brain to work, and came up with this. One ribbon through the hole in the bottom of the pot, one over the top, and tie in the middle. And then I had to cut that green foam to get it to fit in the pot. That was a mess, just an outright mess. But I got it all in there.

I orginally had the roses wrapped in the thinner gold foil, but a dozen roses wrapped in foil was a little too much, along with hearts too. Nope, I did not like it, I was not happy with it either. So, I just cut some press and seal and wrapped them in that. You can see the color better anyways.

That is my gift to my honey this year. I didn't spend that much on it, cost doesn't matter. It is a gift from the heart. Now, I get to deliver it to work. That should be fun. I know the reaction that I will get from him. And it is all worth it!

A Valentine's Idea

I love to do things for the family for Valentine's Day. Of course I live with a grouch who believes that Valentine's is just another day for people to buy cards and to buy roses, diamonds and whatever else you can think of Valentine's Day. Me, on the other hand, well I just love it because it is a way of expressing my love towards the family.

A few years ago I had 25 tulips delivered to where Chuck was working at the time. He didn't expect that, sorta surprised him too. But he did appreciate the thought. He also got picked on from the employees. That is just something that you put up with. Last year, I didn't do much for him, only because it snuck up on me and I nearly forgot about it. With PJ playing basketball and things with church and Eric, I just lost track of the days. But we did have a very nice dinner that Chuck had prepared for me. The boys ended up eating before I got home so that way Chuck and I had a nice candlelight dinner, alone.

This year I started planning sometime last week or so for something for Chuck. Now he has to work that day, so for me to do something for dinner would not be possible. And flowers are just so stickin' costly, that I hate to waste the money on them and they be dead shortly thereafter. I heard advertising on the radio for some place to deliver cookie bouquets, that was a thought. But the cost of the delivery for subpar cookies is not something that I really want to pay for either. Then it came to me, I can do this myself. So I started out with the thought of making cookies and maybe something else in a flower pot would be nice. Well, to make things when Chuck is home is not possible, so on top of doing the odd jobs in the house this weekend, I had to make some of the things for this little project of mine.

I eventually got all that I needed and I thought that a dozen roses would be nice. And this is what I came up with:

So I decided that the roses in a pot along with some other things would be really sweet. A lot cheaper than flowers and he can share them with others too.

Now, I am not done thinking. The local store has strawberries out now. And I just adore strawberries. Love them too! But I am buying strawberries, dipping them in chocolate, putting the lollipop stick in the top and put them in the flower pot too.

I will wrap the pot with the clear plastic and then tie it with a bow. Deliver it on the lunch hour and come back to work. Cost? Maybe about $25. It might be a little more than that. But not much more.

Now PJ is still at the age that they pass out the little Valentine's cards. Remember those? I loved them! And now that I still have one that gives them out, I love them even more. It is fun to pick out the cards and watch them fill out the cards. And of course the box that they have to go in.

PJ came home the other day telling me that he had to have a box. I knew that. It was just finding a box for him. The one that I had was too big and I didn't have the paper to cover it. And then I spotted it, the empty tissue box, PERFECT!

I figured out a way to cover it, cut the hole out and decorate it. Now, I have a ton of scrapbooking stuff so I didn't have to buy anything to do this box.

PJ added a few things to it and in the long run we were both very pleased with the finished product. It doesn't take a lot of money to do something like this. Just a little creativity. You know that some will come to school with boxes covered with lace and other things. I would rather have something simple and cute.

Fond Memory

Growing up I clearly remember having to be packed to my mother's parent's home at least 3 times a year. This went on until I was old enough to decide if I wanted to go or not. I say up until I was 15 I would be up there 3 times a year. Easter break, summer break was for 3 weeks at a time, and Christmas break, the entire 2 weeks. They never came down to see me, they would visit my mom's grave, 2 miles from the house, and then not stop and see me. Oh well, they saw me 6 weeks a year, that was enough for me anyways.

Once a year we would go to this one restaurant that I just loved going to. It was the best food that a 9 year old would eat. Yankee Potroast, Leg of Lamb with mint jelly, and a bakery to die for. It was one trip that I would look forward to, and oh how I loved going there.

Recently I have found this picture of my grandmother and me. It was taken on Aug 14, 1976 at The Milleridge Inn located in Jericho NY. This place has been around forever. Ok, it opened in 1672, and I looked it up today, it is still standing. I glanced through the menu, and all the wonderful memories of my childhood came rushing back. I was able to dress up in my frilly dresses. The ones that I couldn't wear at home. I was able to act like a little girl should, I was allowed to escape and to be someone else, other than poor pitiful Patti.

I would hve all kinds of places that I would visit when I was with my Aunt. She made me go to the ballet, I saw Baryshnikov dance. I got to visit the Guggenhiem Museum, Museum of Natural History, I shopped at Sak's Fifth Ave. I ice skated in Rockafeller Plaza. I saw the angels down Broadway, been to the top of the Statue of Liberty, Twin Towers, and Empire State Building. I hated every second of it growing up. I thought that I would be around there forever and see it all the time. Now, I appreciate all that. I treasure every memory that I had growing up in NY.

I got on the website for The Milleridge Inn, it hasn't changed at bit. It looks the same, like I remember it many years ago. Stop by and visit the site, peruse the menu, look at the pictures of the bakery and all of the wonderful things that they have there.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Eric had a project. So over the weekend we did some creating. He wrote a haiku on Snowboarding:

And then he put his brain to work on what he could do for the project. He came home and told me that his idea was to get a piece of styrofoam and do some work to it.

Off to Hobby Lobby (oh how I love that store) we go. I was looking at my addiction, yarn, and he took off and came back with a cube. Well, I can't get a knife through the cube, so I had to go back there and find exactly the right thing that would do the trick. Leave it to me, I will find what I need.

He finally decided on the rectangular piece. Thank God! I knew that I could work the magic with that. Now onto something else. He found a surfboard, nope, that won't work. So, since they have everything in scrapbooking stickers, he decided that maybe we could find something over there. They only have about 4 aisles of stickers, so this was like looking for a needle in a haystack. But we looked down each one and found the perfect snowboarding stickers. Amazing how they have everything that you can possibly imagine in stickers! Now, one more thing, the paper to write on. Oh my goodness, he is so picky, but it is his project, so he has evrey right to be picky.

We get all of this home and I helped him draw the picture on the styrofoam, I have come to dispise that stuff. He liked what we came up with, so out come the knives. Now, generally, I don't do anything on their projects, except pay for the supplies. But considering that this involved knives and lots of cutting and a mess beyond all messes, I decided that I would cut everything. I really didn't want to clean up his finger after he cut it off or go back out for another piece of styrofoam if he cut that the wrong way. So, I took those matters into my own hands. Two different knives, lots of scraping and loose styrofoam later, I was done.

Ok, so let's get the project on the road. He comes up with the idea of putting the sticker of a snowboard on the styrofoam, but how. Ok, well, cardboard works well, and so stick and cut and then pin it. That way it will spin like a snowboard. Cool! And then having to deal with the whitespace, and there is a lot of white space on this thing. I am sure he can figure out something. And he did. He orginally had the poem written with the snowflakes holding it down. Looked nice, until he went next door to ask the teacher how it looked.

He asked me first, and since I am the mom, I am a little bias. I loved his Egyption dictionary. I thought it deserved better than a C. But, I am momI think everything that I see him work very hard in deserves a grade better than a C. His planet book was nice, I really thought he would get better than a C, but he didn't. He got a C. I think that they look at the 6th graders and they expect them to be more like 9th graders.

Eric heads out the door and comes back in. "She said.'I would take 10 points off for the printing, you need to put that on the computer and print it that way.'" Well, Eric and I look at things this way, do projects on your own merit. Do your own work, except for the knife work, and do it in your own handwriting, no matter what. I don't like going to school seeing kids use the computer to put everything on. Yes, I know times have changed, but who is to say that the parent didn't do that for them?

Oh Eric was so hurt, "she hurt my feelings again. She always does. She wants me to go over tomorrow and have him print it on the computer for me. I don't want to. I want my teacher to see that I did the work, that no one helped me. So, let's do something about this white space and I will worry about her later." Good for him. He got the wheels turning and he did what he needed to do.

I came up with the finish line thing. I needed the material anyways, I had the interfacing, so I made a little flag for him.

Only with his approval first though. I did what I needed to do, and he got done. He was very happy with the outcome of this project. I know it is a simple one, but he did a nice job. I am happy to see the creativity there. He thinks about the poems that he has to do, he thinks the best way to descibe them in project form, and then he works very hard to make a project worthwhile.

As for the neighbor, she came over, and he told her that this is his project and that he needed to do the work himself. Good for him. He is very proud of his own work, so let him do it.