Photo Friday – Wings of Wonder

The family and I are on our annual visit to the grandparents.  Grandma and Grandpa live in a small town.  If the weather is nice, everyone enjoys being outdoors.  But if it is raining, searching for fun, interesting things to do can be a challenge.   

Luckily, Grandma is the creative type and found a wonderful treasure for us to visit.  The place is today’s choice for Photo Friday.  I am happy to announce I have a guest photographer for today’s blog.  It is my son, Old Boy.  For christmas my husband, aunts, uncle, and grandparents all chipped in to purchase him a Cannon Rebel EOS camera.  At the time of the purchase, I doubted the value of such an expensive camera.  But after seeing the beautiful photos, I know it was money well spent.

Today’s Photo Friday subject is Wings of Wonder.  Wings of Wonder is located 20 miles Southwest of Salem, Oregon, in a town called Independence.  It is run by husband and wife team, Bob and Betty.  Bob has loved insects and reptiles since he was a child, so he runs the critter areas.  Betty is a plant lover, so she designs and runs the flower garden and picnic areas.

The butterfly garden opened it’s doors in 2007 and has a 2,400 square foot greenhouse containing butterflies, small birds and exotic plants.  Located on the grounds also a reptile house, landscaped outdoor garden area and gift shop.  

West of the butterfly greenhouse is the site rearing lab.  The butterflies are ordered from insect farms around the world in their chrysalis stage.  They are incubated in the lab to complete their metamorphosis.  The butterfly life span varies from a couple of days to months, so over 300 chrysalis butterflies are ordered per week. 

In the mist of a rainy my family and I were delighted to be transported to a tropical paradise.  It was a bit of a drive for us to get Wings of Wonder,  but well worth it.

 Special thanks to Grandma for the visit suggestion and Old Boy for his amazing photos.

Enjoy.  Talk to you soon, friends.

Cable Confusion

Cable tv

A conversation between a mother, two teenage sons and a little boy.

“Momma, can I watch some television?” – Little Boy

“Um, well…I do not know how to work the remote for the cable TV.  Where is Grandpa?” – Mom

“Not here.  Come on, Momma.  Please?” – Little Boy

“Okay, let me see the remote.  Hmm…good grief.  Why are there so many buttons?  This is confusing.” – Mom

“Hey Mom, what’s up” – Old Boy

“I am trying to figure out the remote for the TV.  Okay, here we go.  The TV is on.  Now, let’s see.” – Mom

“I want to watch Mythbusters.” – Little Boy

“No, Mythbusters today buddy.  I will find a PBS station.  Good grief!  Why are there so many channels?” – Mom

“Hey, are you guys watching TV?  Can we watch Man vs Wild?” – Tall Boy

“No, we are looking for something appropriate for your little brother.  Which seems to be nearly impossible?  Where are the kid shows?  Look at these ridiculous show titles.” – Mom

Mom looks at the TV screen bewildered.

“What is this?  Where are the show titles” – Mom

“Mom, you are in the paid view section.  You have to pay to watch those movies.” – Tall Boy

“Oh, we do not want to do that at Grandma’s house.  What is that show?  Big Boobs 6?  XXX.  What?  We are in the adult cable section!!  Help!” – Mom

“Ha, ha.  Too bad we didn’t get to watch Big Boobs 1-5.” – Unidentified Teenager Boy

Three boys laughing.  Mother is skin color turns bright crimson.

“Momma, are we going to watch a show about boobies?” – Little Boy

NO, WE ARE NOT!   Help me get out of this section of the cable, NOW!” – Mom

“Okay, okay.  Look all you have to do is push this button.” – Tall Boy

“Whew.  Thank you.  Sweetie, I think you better go find Grandpa to help you out with to find something to watch on TV.  By the way boys, this is a perfect example to show why we do NOT have cable TV in our home.” – Mom

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Quiet -The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

What do all these people have in common?  Sir Isaac Newton, Theodor Geisel ( Dr. Seuss) , Steven Spielberg, Marcel Proust, J.K. Rowling, and Albert Einstein?  They are all introverts.  Each of these fascinating people has created art, ideas and inventions that have had a huge impact in our everyday lives. 

Today’s book, Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking celebrates the introvert.  If you are unfamiliar to what an introvert is here is a definition:

An introvert is a person who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people.  Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings.

Before I get into my review of today’s book choice, I must confess something.  I have not read the entire book.  I know it is lame to do a book review and not have read the entire book.  I am doing it anyway, because I love this book. 

I read a review of this book long before it was available for purchase.  Introversion is a subject near and dear to my heart.  I live with introverts.  My husband and three boys all have introvert traits.  I bought, Quiet, as a way to better understand them.  At times, I have felt different from my boys and wanted to better know the world from their perspective.

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, was once a corporate lawyer and now a successful writer.  Her book is incredibly interesting for those of us who live and work with introverts.  Ms. Cain’s book well researched and filled with stories of real people.  She clearly explains what an introvert is and is not. 

My goal for reading this book was to develop a better understanding of my immediate  and extended family.  Both older sisters, my brother and in-laws are all introverts.  I have always considered myself an extrovert.  Most of my friends and family think the same thing.  But when I took Ms. Cain’s book assessment, I found out something very interesting.  It turns out, I am an introvert too.  The informal quiz listed all sorts of behaviors an introverted person might do and I answered yes to most of them.

I have always know certain things about me, but did not realize they were considered introversion traits.  For example, I enjoy solitude.  I enjoy to express myself with writing.  I do not enjoy multi-tasking.  I feel drained after being out, even if I’ve enjoyed myself.    I often let calls go through to voicemail.  Pretty interesting stuff, huh?

Once I started reading, Quiet, I began to understand the person who I would learn most about would be…me.  The book gives examples of extroverted people and how extraversion is considered by most in the business world, a more desirable trait.  But the book also, provides a lot of examples of introverted people very successful in business, despite their quiet demeanor.

The book is broken down into four parts:

Part One:  The Extrovert Ideal

Part Two:  Your Biology, Your Self?

Part Three:  Do all cultures have an Extrovert Ideal?

Part Four:  how to Love, How to Work

On the introvert scale, I am not nearly as introverted as my family.  When I first became a parent, I struggled with my children’s need for quiet after a long activity.  I was often disappointed when they were not interacting with other children in big gatherings.  In some ways, I wished they would be more outgoing, outspoken and easy.  I fell into the same trap of idealizing the extrovert, that Ms. Cain claims so many of us do.

What makes this book most appealing to me is how it celebrates how over one third of the population being introverts.  Instead of trying to convince the reader to be the societal ideal extrovert, it provides many examples of why introverts are valuable.  The book reminds the reader we all have something to give, no matter what our personality trait is.

Still in the process of reading this wonderful book, but I had to tell you my impression so far.  I am learning so much, not only about the people I love the most, but the person who I often misunderstand the most…me.

Happy reading friends.

Water Conservation

A conversation between a mother and a teenage son.

water stream from shower in close-up, showing ...

“Honey, I am going to take a shower.” – Mom

“Great.  I will be in to join you in just a minute.” – Dad

“Mom, why is Dad joining you in the shower?” – Tall Boy

“We like to conserve water.  So,we shower together.” – Mom

“But we are in Oregon.  It rains everyday.  You don’t  need to worry about saving water here.” – Tall Boy

“Oh.  I guess you are right.  But I need Dad to wash my back.” – Mom

“Mom, too much information.” – Tall Boy

Prepare For Takeoff

 What a lovely morning.  After a relaxing breakfast with the family, I went for along walk in the cool, crisp Oregon countryside.  

Ethiopian Airlines 757-200

The family and I are on vacation at my in-laws.  Despite the very rainy forecast, I am very happy.  We make at least one annual trip to visit the grandparents, in their home state of Oregon.  They retired eight years ago in a small town, located near a river.  It is a peaceful, haven located near a small forest of trees. 

I am feeling very peaceful now, but yesterday was a very different story.  We flew from Southern California to Oregon yesterday.  A short flight, by flying standards. 

As much as I enjoy our annual vacations, I dread the preparations and real traveling.  Preparing the family for a simple trip takes weeks of planning.  It ridiculous how much work it takes.

This year was especially difficult, because of a huge error I made.  Prior to booking at type of airplane travel, I scour the airlines for the very best prices for airline tickets.  Paying for five people is not cheap.  Deals must be found.  Planning a trip requires careful scheduling too.  I like to fly direct flights and in the early morning.  This year I prided myself on finding a terrific deal on our airline tickets.  Everything was great until the family and I went out to lunch last weekend.

“Mom, why are we leaving for Grandma’s house in two weeks?  We get out of school this Friday.” – Old Boy

“What?  What do you mean you get out of school on Friday?  I thought you had the week before Easter and the week after Easter off for Spring Break.” – Mom

“Not this year.” – Old Boy

Determined to prove my oldest son wrong, I consulted robot girl (Droid phone) for the boy’s school vacation schedule.  Turns out Old Boy was right.  I had bought tickets to Grandma’s house, for all FIVE of us on the wrong dates.  I tried to stay calm, but it did not work.

“Mom, did you book our flights on the wrong dates?  Are we not going to be able to go to Grandma’s house?” – Tall Boy

“Great.  Now we are going to be stuck at home for two weeks, with nothing to do.” – Old Boy

“I want to see Grandma and Grandpa.” – Little Boy

“BE QUIET EVERYONE!” – Mom

I told my husband to take everyone into the restaurant for lunch.  I remained in the car and phoned the airline, explaining my error.  The young airline consultant informed me I could buy new tickets.  I was thrilled.  My error would be easily fixed by buying new tickets for the correct dates.  The consultant told me I only needed to a pay an extra hefty fee.  I groaned, as I thought of the hours I spent looking for the lowest fare, only to now have to pay top dollar for the same trip.

The change of dates for our trip, meant the family has only a few days to prepare for vacation, not the planned two weeks.  I think I may have mentioned before, I am not a Type A person.  I do not plan for weeks in advance for big events.  I do plan, but usually there is a lot of last-minute things to do.  With this trip, everything would be the last-minute.  I felt horrible for making such a costly error.  Because I felt guilty for my mistake, I started to get grumpy. 

There was so much to do to prepare for our trip.  Pets needed tending to, mail and paper needed to suspended for a while, bills to be paid, home repair work to be rescheduled and worst of the laundry.  Every mother knows, packing can not even begin until all the laundry is washed and folded.  If all the laundry is not done, then some one inevitably will start whining how their favorite pair of jeans are missing.

I begged my husband to take a day off work.  Thank goodness he did.  I know you are thinking, “Nate, you are such a wimp.  You made you husband take a day off from work to prepare for vacation?”  Yup, that is exactly what I did.  But even though the two of us were working at light speed, we still did not get everything done. 

Going on vacation should not be so stressful.  The point of a vacation is to relax, right? 

Somehow, we managed to pack the bags, make arrangements for all the pets and clean out the fridge.  We always manage to do it…every year.  It is almost silly how much I worry that things will not get done.

It is ALMOST silly.  I forgot to pack enough underwear.

Doomed

Camping out in Florida - The tent, by Styles, ...

An email conversation between a husband and a wife.

Wife forwards email to husband from friend.

Hi Honey.  Bob (fake name) wondered if we would be interested in joining his family on a camping trip.  Here is the information.  He says they have cabins!  Let me know what you think.

Husband sends email response to wife.
Checked out the camping site.  No cabins available I am sorry to say.  Did get a fully shaded spot though. Sounds like it should be a great place to stay.  Fishing, great for bike riding, hiking…
Wife sends email response to husband.
No cabins available?  Where are we supposed to sleep?
Husband sends email response to wife.
We will all sleep in a TENT.
Wife send email response to husband.
I. AM. DOOMED.