Friday, June 24, 2011

Don't Stop!

I'll stop for you.
Today I stopped for a woman whose car was broken, the hood up, at an intersection.  I had to wait for several cars to go around her.  As I pulled behind her, I notice the tops of car seats in her back seat.  As I pulled around her car, I noticed her.  She was my age, standing in the shade, looking worried.

I stopped.  I asked her how I could help her.  It was an easy help, which involved moving her small boys into my car in the shade, and pushing her car out of the intersection.

I guess the surprising thing was how many people drove around her before I got to her.  I know there are times when people do stop for one anther, and also am surprised by how often I am the first to stop.  There was nothing ominous or sketchy about this woman on her way to drop off her boys at vacation Bible school.

I know doomsday is coming where thieves are hoarding the last tins of tuna in their broken down car.   The last ten men on earth lure you to their broken car (counting on the milk of human kindness during an atomic winter), and ultimately process your remains into tins labeling them "tuna".  We have all seen that movie.

I think that people pass by others in need for reasons besides fear, though mostly it is fear.  Another reason might be selfishness, and thinking he has nothing to offer.  As it turns out, the only reasons to pass by a person in need, are bad (except self preservation, I don't stop for the grungy man in a broken conversion van, or if I feel the situation is dangerous in any way).

Here is why I stop, and it is not because I am good.  I am just as fearful, selfish and insecure as anyone else.

I don't want to miss anything.  If you don't stop, you will miss something, something good, something adventurous, something life changing, which isn't to say that it might be hard.  Think of all the times you've stopped, and something unexpected happened.  For me, it is immeasurable, as this blog is a testament to.

Several years ago, I stopped when I saw a boy, maybe 5 years old, in the culvert on the side of a busy road. I am sure I was not the first person to see this small person alone in a dangerous spot.  I parked my car to guard him from traffic, turned on my flashers, and called 911.  I sat with him until the police and his mother came, and there was something different about the boy.  No one stopped, until the police were there.  The boy was very autistic, and wandered out of his house and around the corner several blocks.  His mom was CRAZY with worry and guilt for losing him for 40 minutes.  Either the drivers of the 50 cars that didn't stop before I got to him didn't see him (scary) or didn't think they could help (scary).  I felt like that day I actually helped someone, just like I felt this morning as I pushed a Jeep Wrangler to the side of the road.

If I had passed by, I would have missed it.  I am sure if you are the kind of person to read this, you are the kind of person who will stop.  How many times have I been on an adventure because I took the time to pay attention?  I can't know.

Friday, June 10, 2011

DIY Hula Hoop Tutorial

It is officially summer vacation and is officially beautiful outside.  It is my intention to stay outside as much as possible, and only inside to cook, sleep and other necessary tasks.
In celebration, we went to our local hardware store to get the items required for super-awesome hula hoops.  Here is how we did it, step-by-step.  It is so easy even kids can do it!!
Basic materials: 1 inch irrigation tubing 100-150 thickness, cut to a length so that the hoop hits you in the lower-ribs.
(I sweet-talked the nice guy working at the yard to cut them for us with his sharp knife.  Smile and bat your eyelashes)
1 inch couplings
Sand paper
not shown:soap, hot water, black duck tape (you know what those look like)

We sanded the tube so that it will be a bit sticky.

We then washed the lumber yard off the tubes.

After heating some water, we soaked the ends in warm water to make them more pliable.

These are the 1" couplings and dish soap.  I put some dish soap on each end, so that they were slick.

After the tubing is soft, and the coupling is slick, the whole mess slides together easily, making these:

This is our finished project.
One for mom, son, and daughter.  Maybe the kids will do this, instead of bickering.
Maybe I will do this instead of losing my mind with bickering.

Here are the happy kids.
 They had a competition to see who could do it the longest, then they tried some fancy moves.
It only took us about 30 minutes to make them, and $10.  I had purchased some flimsy ones for them for $5 each, but they seem useless compared to these.  Now, we can spend the rest of the summer by the pool, reading, gardening and hula hooping (it is too cold to swim in, for an adult, but it sure looks nice)

Monday, June 06, 2011

You Can Never Go Home

"You can never go home" is a paradox.  It is how I try to think about each day.  I try to live in this moment.  It is more true, if you move away from your hometown, as an adult.  I, however, deliberately moved back to my hometown after several years away.  I don't know what I was expecting, and for sure I wasn't stupidly thinking I was coming home to the same place I left.  I came back with kids, 10 years of marriage, and a university degree.

Now that I have been back for several years.  My hometown not only shaped me as a child, but is my home again.  I struggle with how sentimental I should be about my story, so far, and my stuff.  Sometimes I am very sentimental, and then I move and throw/give all my stuff away.  We are in a lean time for stuff, and a rich time for people.

At my church, my sister, mom and I set a table for a tea.  Tea is my thing, but tea settings aren't so much.  Rules and etiquette make me feel rebellious.  Groups of women make me feel shifty.

Like I said, I got rid of all my stuff (or never had any), so I don't have tea settings, which is fine with me.  We set the table with my grandparents tea service from the 50's.  I cut flowers from the yard to decorate, and I didn't compare how homespun our table was to the fancy tables nearby.

As my sister and I were sitting at a table full of contented ladies, I unexpectedly felt very sentimental.  All these people were enjoying one another partly because of my grandmother's stuff.  We could have been eating from plates made in india, sold at Ikea for $2, but we weren't.  It was an unusual, and mysterious feeling for me.  It felt like home.