Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Recent Visit to Texas- A Northern Perspective

It just goes to show you that you are never too old to learn.
I grew up spending summers on Canandaigua Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of NY. We spent our time in a little cottage with my grandmother, the six of us, my aunt, uncle and two cousins from Texas. The eleven of us stayed in a seven room home. Yes, that’s seven rooms total, four of them being bedrooms, plus one and a half bathrooms. Right. One shower. Eleven people. It was certainly interesting.
Growing up every summer with our cousins, they became more like distant siblings. We were best friends in the summer, and pen pals all year round.
That bond will never end, despite the miles that separate us most of the time.

So, skip ahead many, many years, and my cousin’s first born got married this past weekend. How is that possible? I can remember her swimming in the lake with a tube because she could barely touch the bottom! I remember making her the first swimsuit I ever made, in a size 4t! Just a few days ago, she got married!
My daughter and I decided to make the trip down to Texas for the wedding. I calculated that it had been 27 years since I’d last been there! Far too long between visits! We were able to meet my brother and sister in law there as well, who flew in from Connecticut. We had a great time!

Here are some things I learned while down there:

Texas takes their BBQ seriously! Our first meal when we arrived was some incredible authentic Texas barbeque! It smelled amazing, came quick, and fulfilled the fantasy! I hadn’t realized that the love for this amazing meat was huge down there. HUGE.

What’s with all the German names for things here? Well, apparently, Germans came through Mexico and Texas selling and trading, and therefore, left an influence that I knew nothing about. Schlitterbahn, the largest water park in the country was just nearby. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go there, but that’s just a reason to have to go back!

Mariachi bands are par for the course. Yes, there is another huge influence in Texas, and that is Mexican. One of my memories from my last trip south was the Mexican food. Living waaay up north, we don’t have much opportunity for such yumminess. Just as I remembered, it was fantastic. Simple, fresh, and oh so tasty! The mariachi bands were all around! They came to our meals, they were outdoors, they were even at the wedding! My daughter and I smiled every time we heard them. They have such a happy sound and colorful look to them!

Mexicans are a colorful people! Not only is their skin a beautiful, golden brown with that wonderful raven black hair, but their lives are full of bold, bright, amazing colors! Their clothing, traditions, drinks, food, everything seemed to shine with color! I wondered if growing up in that environment ever meant you were used to the color? If it was mundane because they live with it every day? As a visitor from a place full of clouds and snow most of the year, I loved it all! I appreciated it, and saw how it added to the culture down in Texas.

Between the German and Mexican influences, not to mention the cowboy aspect, Texas is very rich in culture! They have so many combinations that I don’t see every day where I’m from, so I found it very interesting the things they do just a bit differently. Lots of country music, cowboy boots, sombreros, southern hospitality, sweet tea, and of course the food just to name a few! Sometimes we felt like we left the country, it felt like such a world of its own.

Some other observations while we were there. Some of them I knew, some of them I forgot, some of them were new:

Texas is hot. Even when it’s not hot, it felt hot. The sun burns even when behind clouds. As a redhead, I knew this, but got a bit red anyway.

They’ve got the air conditioning figured out. Thankfully!

Cactus and wildflowers grow together. Everywhere. Beautiful!

Forgot how much I liked margaritas!

There are many coordinated dances in Texas, and not just the two step. Apparently everyone knows them. From the young to old, and everyone in between, they all know how to dance!

Texas is big. Well, it’s huge really. Everything in it is big. The land is mostly flat with ranches that go on beyond our sight! The longhorns are immense. Sports is, well, let’s just say it matches the state’s size in love there! They have stadiums for the high schools that I only see for colleges up where we are. Music, hats, boots, weddings, drinks, food…it’s all big in Texas! A good time for all!

Cold water is never really cold. Which made me laugh, because I remembered the time one of my cousins remarked at how cold our cold water is up here! Now I know why!

Mexican polka? Yep.

Sweet tea is perfection in a glass.

Mixing cultures and experiences is one of my favorite things in the world. Last weekend we got to do that, along with family and friends! We hope only wonderful times ahead for the newlyweds, and we already decided we will have to go back to Texas again some day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Ultimate Understanding- A Rambling

I think the best way to understand someone is to know them. To get to know someone is a process. It takes time. It doesn't happen just because you introduced yourselves. It may not even be nice all the time. People are different. We all come from many different places, different situations, different genes, different upbringings.
Sometimes we find things out about a person we don’t like or agree with. Personally, I find I try to stay away from these people. Nobody is perfect, including me, so perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh. (But I have that keep-myself-happy thing in my brain, so it tends to push me away.)
Lately however, I feel like people need a more worldwide understanding about ourselves.
Why do we fight? Why do we have war? If we knew the people we fought with, perhaps we’d be more understanding about them. Perhaps we wouldn't find it necessary to fight.
To know someone.
Talking, sharing times, laughing, finding common interests, and really knowing the ones that were once different. These are ways we get to know someone. Sometimes we get to know a person so well, and we like the same things as they do. We put our lives closer to theirs, because it makes us happy.
Sometimes we are forced to be around people we are different from. Perhaps we go to school, or work with them. Maybe their a member of our families. They do things different than we do, so we don’t like spending time with them. We find a way to put up with their differences, because we have no choice. Perhaps we find that we can be near them, despite the differences. Perhaps there are things that are fun, or silly, or smart, or creative, or intelligent, or philosophical, or what have you, that you find interesting about those people. And even though you have differences too, there are one or two things that are similar, so you can get along.
Learning to get along.
Knowing each other.
Ultimate understanding.
I think that’s the key to world peace. I mean, I don’t even know if I believe in world peace, because I know how idealistic and Utopian it sounds. But I guess I always did believe it would be nice. Really nice.

Monday, May 12, 2014

To Vlog or Blog?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the terms above:
Blogging - to write about something and share it on the internet.
Vlogging - to record about something and share it on the internet.

Which do you prefer? Or do you like both?
Recently I’ve become fascinated with the You Tube world. I even have my own channel. It is an exploding video media for teens and 20 somethings. There are vlogs, parodies, original hilarity, how to’s…you name it, you can probably find it there. It’s great fun when you have a few minutes to spare.
Unfortunately my few minutes tend to turn into a half a day or more!
I get caught up on one You Tuber and watch dozens of their videos! The funnier and more creative the better. I will also watch their vlogs. Often times a funny or entertainment channel will have a “second channel” for their more serious recordings. There they get a bit more real, a bit of their every day goings on.
I was going to use the term voyeurism here. Until I actually looked up the definition. It’s all sexual and stuff, so that’s not the word I’m looking for here (if that’s your thing, then all the power to you, but that’s not what I’m trying to address here).
Watching these videos after a while feels like you know the person/people in them on a level totally different and way more personal than anything on television. It’s the next step in reality tv. It’s personal video. These teens and 20 somethings are becoming famous by being on You Tube. As famous as any television or movie celebrity. Now, they may not all have millions of followers. Not all, but some do. Many of them though, have hundreds of thousands of viewers and are making good money over there on You Tube. You see, you can get paid for original content on You Tube by how many hits (views), subscribers and clicks on your advertising you get. These “kids” are making their living by vlogging.
“Bravo,” I say to them! They’re doing something they love and making a living at it! Isn’t that the dream after all?
I get a kick out of it all. Technology. I love it.
Now blogging has been around since the dawn of the internet as well. People are using the internet to share, share, share! People blog about everything under the sun!
My favorite things to read are my daughter’s blog, of course; Fair Flying. She writes. It’s her life. It’s a part of her and it is amazing. Not just saying that because she is my daughter either. It’s really great stuff. (Their might be a little bias there, but hey…you’ll never know unless you check her out!)
My sister’s blog as well; The Whimsical Sweet. My sis blogs about her amazing life as a stay at home, home schooling, business owning mom. Never a dull moment or blog there.
I will pretty much read any friends’ blogs about nearly anything. I like to see what my friends have to share. I like anything funny, witty, touching, lesson teaching, baking or creating things blogs.
Mostly it’s about being entertained for me, with the occasional learning on the side. I am grateful for all the bloggers and vloggers out there. They’ve helped me learn many things, laugh and even shed a tear. So, thanks for sharing, you internet peeps! Keep it up, as I look forward to your next posts!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ode of Mothers

Soft, snuggly,
Always loving,
Always giving.
They make everything feel right and good.
With their hugs,
Their kisses,

Thank you mom.

How can this be?
When did this happen to me?
This is more special than anything else in the world!
To be responsible for this life,
This being,
This miracle!
Now there are three!
What a responsibility!
What an honor,
A blessing that they chose me!

I shall do my best
To pass all their tests,
And be the best mom I can be!
(I hope I succeed!)

Mom, what do you want for Mother’s Day?
A question that appears each year.
It makes my head spin,
For I am in a place of honor.
I am in the place I have put my own mother.
Now we share the honor together.
Not only once a year as we remember and celebrate,
But every day.
We are mothers.
Every day,
Every hour,
Every moment.

Thank you mom.