A Blend of Life, Family, Awareness & Tales

Archive for June, 2011

Golfing for a Cure!

Yesterday my little girl and I participated in our local Friends of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) golf outing. It was a fabulous benefit, largely due to my husband’s passion and event planning skills. Of course there were others involved with the planning, but I am so very proud of him and all that he did.

We started with a great lunch, followed by approximately 150 golfers hitting the course. Ominous weather was predicted for several days, but as the golfers arrived the clouds slowly drifted away, and by afternoon the sun was shining. We ended off the day with hors d’oeuvres, prizes for the golfers and a fantastic turnout for both the silent and live auctions.

My daughter and I, as well as another “Child with Type 1” and his mother, sold raffle tickets raising additional money. My little girl and I also spent a lot of time at hole number six, rolling dice (ok, I know the proper word is “die,” singular of dice, but it just feels weird saying that) with each foursome, to see where they could tee off, some cutting off as much as 250 yards with the roll of a three! The highlight for both my daughter and I though, had to be our golf cart that was just for us for the entire day!

Hole #6, not just for golfing anymore. Also cartwheels!

We really enjoyed visiting with each and every golfer, so many nice people there for the same cause. Many great stories, a few old friends and even more new ones.

A lot of money was raised and given to the JDRF, thanks to the many generous souls who donated their time, money or talent yesterday. Thank you everyone for your support, and most of all, Thank You Wonderful Husband for all you did to make yesterday such a success!

Wiener Roast

 

Tonight we had a campfire with the kids and my Mom and Dad. It was a beautiful evening, we had a big roaring fire, hot dogs and marshmallows. It was a traditional (albeit pared down) family “wiener roast” right down to the white bread instead of hot dog buns.

My entire life we have spent the occassional summer evening around a campfire. There is something so captivating about it. I could stare at the fire all night long, maybe once and a while poking at it with a stick, watching the sparks float into the sky looking like orange glitter. The kids were fascinated as well tonight. They spent hours finding long sticks and then burning the ends in the fire, calling them “fire sticks.” There was a close call or two with the ends of the sticks, but it provided us with a chance to reiterate fire safety, no one getting hurt in the process. 

It is so sad to think that some kids will never get the chance to experience something so simple, yet so magical. I grew up in the country so we could build a fire on our land whenever we chose to. Now that we live in town, we are fortunate that we have a beautiful county park with fire pits just minutes away. 

The kids are now sleeping, pooped from their big adventure. My husband and I are back in our “high tech” world, each typing away on our laptops. For at least a little while though I can reminisce about our evening each time I catch a sniff of the campfire scent floating off of me.

Saddle Up

Many of you do not know that in my previous life I was immersed in the world of horses. Even though that all ended more than half my life ago, I still think of myself as a horse person but no longer define myself that way. It wasn’t just a phase. Everything, including boys, always took second place to the horses. For several years it was a way of life for my Mom, Dad and I.

Yep, that's me 23 years ago. Photo by Jennifer Bierdz

My Mom has always loved horses, but more than that, she is an expert in pedigree, conformation and horse care. She knows more in those areas than I can ever hope to, yet we both share the love for the animal itself. My Dad was our driver, logistics expert and supportive husband/father. He was a good student of the horse show world, learning more than he probably ever wanted to about the horses.

Though my Mom had horses earlier in her life, the first horse our family purchased arrived when I was just nine years old. She was a sweet Purebred Arabian mare who took care of me as much as we did her. She was an old broodmare who really didn’t want to work, but was a kind to this clumsy young rider. She was the color of a shiny copper penny and gave birth to the first foal we ever had.  I showed her for two years at 4-H and local shows, forever hooked thereafter.

I have always felt a bit like an outsider in life. Even to this day I often don’t feel like I fit in, but high school was probably the highlight of my self-doubt and consciousness. I would have given just about anything to be part of the popular crowd, but at the time I was too shy to even approach them. What I did have though, were the horses. The horses provided me with confidence, experiences and a focus. Those four years we worked our way up through three show horses, and moved up from 4-H and local shows to the Class A Arabian and National Show Horse shows with hopes to show at the Nationals.  

Was I the best at what I did? Not even close. I have always had some apprehension when riding, even after years of doing so. Certainly the horses sensed that. But I personally defined myself as an equestrian. It was the one thing that I knew I did well, and the one place I always felt I fit in.

We travelled the Midwest with the horses, and did fairly well for our situation. I love horses, caring for them, smelling them, just scratching their necks. But the thrill of the competition was an addiction. I loved the shows, the rush of adrenaline as we entered the show ring, the lights in the coliseum at night and the cheers of the crowd. It was intoxicating. I craved to be in that show ring, not because I wanted attention, but because of the magic of the communication of horse and rider; Because of the thrill of the moment, like the montages in every sports movie ever made. It is an experience I have been unable to duplicate.

My freshman year of college was difficult for me. I was homesick, and looking back now I realize that not only did I miss my family, I missed our horses and what the horses meant to my existence. That autumn, I was to show at the National Show Horse Finals, but my dear horse injured a tendon ending our show season prematurely. I showed in a couple of classes over the next few years, but in reality, that was when my horse show life ended.

For a decade my identity was tied to the world of horses, and much like ripping off a bandage, it was gone in an instant. I was surrounded by peers who were still showing, my family would go to shows as spectators, but we were no longer “horse people.”

I am not upset that the shows did not continue. I understand why. I was a grown woman, not living at home, no longer expecting my parents to support my habit hobby. But nevertheless, it took many years to create a new identity for myself that I could love. I now sometimes share that I used to show horses, when we watch a show I am nostalgic for what I once had, but I am no longer defined by it.

Today I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a gardener and now hopefully, a writer. Some nights I still have dreams that I am showing one of my old dear show horses, dreams that once made me sad. But now I have learned to cherish those dreams as my chance to remember my old equine friends, and a way to experience the thrill of the show ring once again.

Reboot.

“How hard can it be to write that little blog? I mean really, it doesn’t take that long, you should be easily be able to do that each day.”

Who could be so crass as to ask me that? Well let me tell you, I am very busy. I mean usually don’t get on my laptop until evening, and then there is a lot of work to do. First off, I have a husband I want to talk to, and then there is the occassional movie we watch. By the way, we watched The King’s Speech the other night. One word-Fabulous.

Anyway, as I said, a lot of work. Here is a brief listing of the sites I must keep up with each day:

Now on an average evening this will bring me to probably 10 or 11 pm. I am usually tired from all of this work, and it gets hard to write that late. You see I am a terribly busy person, and it is hard to – –

What? This isn’t work. But how will I keep up with all the – –

What do you mean I don’t have to keep up with all of that? I should write first and then visit these sites? But – –

No “buts?” But…(Sigh) Okay. Write first, read later. I will give it a try.

I wonder if Snoopy has a website?

So who was it that dared to ask how I couldn’t write each evening? My common sense.

Now if you ask me what I do all day…

Mama, How Come Those People are Naked?

So today my Husband and I decided to take the kids on a fun, innocent family adventure, just minutes away in Madison, Wisconsin. I went to school there (UW-Madison), so it is always fun to hang out on campus for a couple of hours, boring the kids with the stories of our youth.

We decided to stop at one of our old watering holes for lunch, State Street Brats, which is located on (yes you’ve guessed it!) State Street. If you are at all familiar with downtown Madison you are aware that State Street is a great place to people-watch. Since it was such a beautiful day, we took advantage of the patio and ate lunch looking over State. There was the usual procession of street musicians, college students, older folks reminiscing, several twenty-somethings declaring their individuality with colorful hair, and dogs and their people taking a walk.

What we didn’t expect to see (yet not at all suprising) was the Naked Bike Day ride passing right in front of us. It was hilarious, but as parents we were not sure if we should laugh or be horrified at what our children just saw. There were A LOT of questions, and I think we answered at least most of them pretty well. I think we were both relieved that the kids both said “Private parts should be kept private.”

We were pretty proud of ourselves, thinking we had put the subject to rest, when the bareskinned bicyclists returned for an encore.

Seems uncomfortable on so many levels. Photo by M.P. King

Priceless

My first “real job” was in sales. Great pay, great benefits and even great people to work with (I met my husband there!), but oh how I hated the job. In the early 80s however, all I wanted to do was sell something. So much so that I nearly drove my parents batty with my obsession of selling Mason shoes. I ordered the shoe-selling kit which included a fabulously huge catalog, a chart to measure feet and a squishy foot-shaped sample of the insole that I absolutely adored.

This thing was fabulous!

The day it arrived in the mail, I proudly presented my sales kit and shared my plan with my parents. They did not share the same passion for shoe sales as me and promptly told me no way. You see my fantasy of going door to door selling shoes had its limits as I was only about 10 years old, and we lived way out in the country. While I was determined to sell those shoes, I did not have the motivation to walk up and down hills for miles lugging a five pound catalog. 

Lemonade stands held about the same amount of success, as the occassional car sped by at about 60 miles per hour, never even seeing me at the end of the driveway.

Therefore, when the kids decided to sell lemonade today, I was less than excited. We had no cups in our cupboard, and no lemonade mix either. Our little guy had the bug to sell something though, so he decided to sell his books for a nickel each. Good plan, but not one person stopped. They made signs and a stand, spending hours out there even enjoying dinner at the end of the driveway. The kids didn’t sell a darn thing, but I don’t think they cared. The fun they had together was well worth more than the $.20 (yes, 20 cents) they would have earned on in sales. What they had was priceless, a great end to another fun-filled childhood day.

So Patient.

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