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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Once Upon a Time There was a Mother...

Once upon a time in the land of Mayfield in a kingdom call The Springs there lived a family.  There was a father who was handsome and kind, a mother who was smart and witty and a son and daughter who were as smart as they were beautiful.  The parents adored their children and always wanted them to have the best of every opportunity.

When their eldest, the son, was of age he was required to head to the Castle to receive his training to be a productive member of the kingdom.  Although the mother was sad that her son had to leave her, it was just for the day and the instructor, Lady Sharon was fun.  Her cottage was full of magic.  There was a mini cottage inside so the children could pretend to be grown.  There were turtles so they could learn to care for animals.  There were books and colors and crayons to teach them to think and create. So the mother was happy and so was the son.  He learned much.

There was a Queen who ran the Castle. She seemed nice.  She was very, very organized.  She was always nice to the mother.  She liked the son, too.  He was very good at coloring in magic bubbles that somehow magically showed how smart he was.  This was a skill that he was considered gifted at doing.  The mother wasn't sure what coloring magic bubbles had to do with running their bean factory, but she trusted the Queen and really liked Lady Sharon.

The next year her son trained under Lady Giana.  Lady Giana had a pretty train in her cottage where the children could read books and play pretend.  There were crayons and books every where.

And the following year there was Lady Melissa who was equally as talented and fun.  Each child studied in ways that fit their very different personalities.  She even taught them yoga for when they were having a hard time focusing.

There were clubs and activities after the normal Castle times and her son loved them all.

Her son also continued to show that he was one of the best at picking the best magic bubble.  A skill that was revered at the Castle and especially by the Queen.

The mother was pleased.  Although she still wasn't sure why coloring and selecting magic bubbles was important.  But since she was wasn't part of the Castle and simply ran a bean factory, she trusted them.  She loved her children more than anything in the world but she had grown up in the Castle system and trusted it. 

However, the mother also started to notice that many of the people from her village of Mayfield in the kingdom of the Springs had chosen to send their children to other Castles.  In order to keep the Castle full, children from other villages were sent to their Castle.  Many of the children from these other villages didn't have parents that knew or appreciated how special they were so they hadn't spent very much time with them before sending them to the Castle.  Many of the children seemed angry.  Some were hungry.  But even with the children from other villages, some of the cottages were empty.  They had been overflowing with children.  Where had they gone?  And the Ladies and Lords of the Castle were leaving for other Castles as well.  In droves.

The mother was concerned.  But her daughter was now about to study under Lady Sharon.  She was excited for the wonderful world that her daughter was to experience.

But Lady Sharon seemed different.  She had been told that her mini cottage wasn't very useful for coloring in magic bubbles or picking the best magic bubble.  Lady Sharon also couldn't cook any longer.  The children from the other village were rude and disrupted class so Lady Sharon couldn't do many of the fun things; she had to teach these children how to listen and be polite.  Her daughter, still happy and confident, was learning, though. Her daughter was also exceptional at identifying and coloring the magic bubbles and this was deemed a good thing. 

The son's teacher was very good, too.  Lady Erin was smart and precise and the Queen liked her a great deal.

The clubs were gone.  The Queen said it was because the new children needed extra help so she had to cancel the activities for the other children so the new children could practice their bubbles.

The mother was not pleased. 

At the same time, Lady Erin was faced with a big problem.  She lived in a village just outside of the kingdom of the Springs in the kingdom of the Son of Hender.  The cost of wheat was very expensive and the steed that she rode all the way through the two kingdoms was very hungry.  She asked to work in a Castle closer to her home cottage.  The new Castle was very excited to have her because she was a very good teacher.  It also saved her on the cost of wheat because the Lords and Ladies did not receive much in payment from the kingdom.

The Queen, however, was angry.  She did not care that the Lady had to spend all her pay on her feed.  To punish the Lady, she made her count all the bubbles before she would release her to the new Castle.  The Lady was hurt.  She thought the Queen had liked her.

The mother was concerned.  Perhaps the Queen had bumped her head?  Why would she be so angry with Lady Erin?

The mother asked lots of questions.  She received some answers.  She was told there was not enough money for the Castle.  The kingdom was in hard times so they didn't have enough resources.  The mother offered to help.  She offered to leave her bean factory to help with the children from time to time.

She was told no. The Lords and Ladies could do the job on their own.

But other parents were allowed to help.

Not this mother.  She had asked too many questions. 

Then Lady Jeannie who taught the children who were very gifted at coloring and picking bubbles became very sad.  This made the mother very worried.  Lady Jeannie was the best part of the Castle for her son. She encouraged him to do things other than color bubbles.  Lady Jeannie took them on quests in the mountains to count the stars and to the ocean to swim with the great beasts.  The mother liked this; she still was not sure why bubbles were so important.  At her bean factory she never used bubbles.  Ever.  She did use many of the skills that Lady Jeannie taught in her cottage.  The years before, the other Ladies and Lords had taught these things, but now they were told that to keep their cottages, they had to only focus on bubbles.

Then the Queen who was angered that Lady Jeannie kept teaching non-bubble skills, banished Lady Jeannie to a cottage on the edge of the Castle grounds.  She would not let Lady Jeannie use the many tools she had brought from her home cottage.

And her daughter who now had Lady Giana was not allowed to draw or color any more.  Her daughter lived to draw and color.  Those were not important skills to pick bubbles, however.  She asked Lady Giana where the crayons she had sent with her daughter to the Castle had gone.  Her daughter had said the Queen removed them but she thought her daughter had made it up.  The kind Lady said it was, sadly, true.

Her son's instructor, Lady Denise was wonderful.  The mother was torn-- the Lords and Ladies were exceptional, but the Castle wasn't offering all the wonderful activities the other Castles did.  And the Lords and Ladies kept leaving.

So the mother made the decision to move her children to another Castle.  The old Castle had begun to look sad.  And every year more of the Lords and Ladies were abandoning their cottages and moving to other Castles.  Some in kingdoms as far, far away as Saudi Arabia.  And more children from the land of Mayfield were going to other Castles.

But then the organizers for the Association of Lords and Ladies of the Castle held a rally.  They were angry with the changes the Queen had made.  They wanted the Lords and Ladies to overthrow the Castle. 

The mother listened.  She heard the many other families share their stories about the Queen.  They wept.  Former Lords and Ladies of the Castle, some whom she had never met, also shared their stories.  They wept as well.  The mother was very moved.

The mother felt bad.  She was only worried that her son had no clubs and her daughter had no crayons.  She had money from her bean factory that she could use to join other clubs and buy her own crayons.  What about the children whose parents didn't have their own factory?  Who would care for them?   Plus, her children didn't want to leave their Castle to go to another Castle.  It can be very hard to change Castles and make new friends. 

The mother talked to the organizer.  She wanted to help.

The organizer said he would be in touch.

And the mother waited. 

The new Castle season was almost starting.  She wanted a new Queen or King to run the Castle.  While she did not hate the Queen she thought the Queen with her excellent organizational skills should be at a Castle that was in disarray. 

She called the organizer.  He did not remember her.  He really wanted to overthrow the Queen.  The mother explained that she thought the Queen was only doing what the kingdom had told her to do.
He scheduled a meeting.  He did not show up.

The mother was mad as her bean factory was a very busy place and she did not have time for people who did not respect her time.

So the mother got together the parents of the other children-- even the ones who were going to other Castles.  And some of the Lords and Ladies came, too. They came even though they were frightened by the Queen;she had told them that she would ruin their careers in the kingdom.

But the Lords and Ladies that came didn't care.  They cared more about the Castle and the children. They were brave and true.

Some of the parents were scared, too.

But the mother wasn't.

She knew that the Queen didn't understand what the consequences of her actions were.  And if she did, she felt sorry for her.  She had once been a good Queen.

So the mother called the people who set the rules for the Kingdom.  The worked in the Palace.  They told her they knew about the Queen and were working on it.

The mother pleaded that the situation was dire and that immediate change needed to happen.  They had been working on it for seven years.  It was time.  She did not hate the Queen or blame the Queen-- she just wanted her children to have a happy Castle experience like she had had.

Part of the unhappiness of the Castle, she realized, were the silly rules the kingdom had to follow to get money for the Castles. Even the people in the Palace couldn't control it.  People who had never worked in Castles made these rules.  They were like the mother and ran bean factories.  The mother appreciated that running bean factories was nothing like running the Castle.  Children were not beans.  The people in the Palace understood the mother's concern.  They asked the mother to be patient.  They hoped it would be fine soon. The mother said now.  They said be patient.  She said she respected the people in the Palace but her son only had one more year at the Castle and she wanted it to be good.  The people in the Palace were kind and knew this mother was not crazy.  They knew she would not give up, too.  The mother trusted the people in the Palace would do the right thing.

But... just in case.. because the mother was no fool... she called the Council of Elders.  Each Castle was assigned an Elder to represent them to the Palace.  Her Elder Patrice was kind and thoughtful and listened to her.  She understood her passion for her children.  She was a mother, too.  She also was happy that the mother did not want the Queen's head on a platter as others had requested.  The mother said she knew the Queen was not truly evil, but it was too late to do anything to fix the Castle if the Queen stayed.

The mother also had a secret informant at the Palace.  The informant told her that the Palace was mad at the Association.  They didn't want the Association to think they could control the Castles.  The mother said she didn't care.  She wasn't in the Association.  She just wanted a new Queen for the Castle so her children could stay near their home and with their friends.

The mother also went through her Rolo-Parchment and sent word to all the people she knew throughout the kingdom.  People who knew she would not give up.  They called the Palace and said "I know this mother.  She will not stop."

All the villagers and Lords and Ladies told her that her fight was futile. The Queen would stay, she always stayed.  There was no way she could convince the Palace that the Queen needed to move.  Others had tried and failed.  Why did she think she was any different?

In fact, no one told her that what she was doing was going to work.  NO ONE. Not even her handsome, kind husband who worked in another Castle.  He did not stop her, however.  He told her he was proud of her and secretly prepared for her eventual disappointment.

But she did not stop.  She would not stop. 

She kept meeting with the mothers and Lords and Ladies in her cottage.  More would come throughout the land at every meeting.

She did not sleep.  She was worried that all the Lords and Ladies who were risking their livelihoods would be punished.  She did not want that to happen.  She went to bed with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

The mother had set up, with the help of the many other mothers and Lords and Ladies, a group of people who were going to present their concerns to the Council of Elders at the monthly meeting in the kingdom.  Then everyone would know about the things the Queen had done.

The mother did not want to do this.  She did not want the Queen, who had served the kingdom dutifully for years by focusing on bubbles, to have to suffer through this.  She did not think it was fair that the Palace would let this happen but she kept trusting the Palace to do the right thing.  She was told she was crazy.  She was told that the Palace never did the right thing; they did the easiest thing.  The Palace, however,  had a new Superintendent.  She knew there was a new era at the Palace.  She had faith.

Then one day when the mother had a very, very bad day- one of the saddest days she had ever had-- she heard the bells ringing.

The villagers were calling to tell her the Castle had a new King.  And everyone who knew the King said he was kind and fair.

The Queen, who had also been riding her steed from the kingdom of the Son of Hender would be working in a Castle near her home cottage.  It was best for her.

The Lords and Ladies who had been scared of the Queen wept.  They sent messages of thanks to the mother.  The parents called and said they were happy that new times were coming to the Castle.

The mother was happy that everyone was happy.  She was sure that her Elder and informant and the good people of the Palace had all been sincere and taken action very quickly so that no one would be hurt.  She was happy that the people to whom she entrusted her children, her most valued treasure, knew what was the right thing to do. 

But the best part was that night, when tucking in her smart and beautiful son, he looked up at her and said "You did it, Mom.  Thank you."  His clubs and activities would be back. Her daughter would have her crayons.

For in the end, that was the reason she had done it.  Not out of anger.  Not out of vengeance.

Out of love.  For her children.

Because the moral of the story is when you do the right thing for the right reason, you can fight the giant.

And hopefully, they all lived happily ever after.  Even the Queen.

The End.

Now about the importance of those magic bubbles....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Home Improvement Show Observations.... My Obsession with HGTV

I am not like most women.  I don't enjoy shopping in the least.  Shoes do nothing for me and I will never understand purses. I'm not into jewelry.  And while I adore MY children, I have no desire to hold anyone else's.  I've never seen an episode of any Housewives show.  Ever.

With that said, I love HGTV.  I always have.

They did get rid of my favorite show of all time "Weekend Warriors."  This was one of their early shows.  It consisted of a couple usually, getting together with their friends to take on a home improvement project which they always inaccurately estimated would take a weekend.

It was fantastic.  Couples fought.  Words were bleeped.  Friends that said they would show up, blew people off.  Nothing ever fit or worked like the plan.  The "weekend" projects would last months.  Eventually one spouse would give up and call a professional.

It was true reality TV.

Part of my recent obsession is because were are trying to update our house to possibly sell it next year.  Or to stay in it.  We are "Love It or List It."  Which I love.  It makes me think outside the box.  Then I see how much the renovations-- or Reno- cost and think "Well crap... no wonder..." 

I also like Canadians and I'm pretty sure EVERY show is in Canada.  The word aboot makes me smile.

Anyhow, so "Love It or List It" has a designer gut a house, try to put in everything the homeowners want (never happens as planned) and an obnoxious realtor tries to convince the homeowners to sell it because they can get exactly what they want somewhere else.  Now, once these houses are remodeled they usually love amazing.  As someone who spent most of my 20s moving, unless the new house came with movers, it would take a LOT for me to move.   Which is our real life debate.  So rather than have our own arguments, we get to watch other people do it.  It's much easier that way.

"House Hunters" is another favorite because I use it to mock people. 

First of all, no one NEEDS granite countertops.  They look nice.  They are not the best if you actually cook-- and let's face it, most people don't.  I have Corian.  I love it.  It doesn't crack.  I can put a hot pot on it.  It doesn't scratch.  I cook.  

Second, a lot of these marriages are on thin ice.  Which is like watching a train wreck.  The bickering, pent up anger- AWESOME.  There is nothing better than seeing other people fight it out.  It makes us feel better about ourselves.  I think they need a follow up show "Did They Stay Married?"  Especially when they buy the house the one spouse KNOWS they can't afford... they are SO going to be fighting about it for every mortgage payment....

Third, people's lack of understanding of paint amazes me.  "Oooh... i hate this color."  Well, fortunately, Einstein, there is this magic cover that you can put over it.  You need a magic brush and then the secret sauce.  Idiots.

Fourth, the "entertainers" who you know never have had a dinner party in their life want to make sure they have enough room.  For what?  You are dorks that are lucky to have found each other (say  the two dorks on the couch watching...).  You can have pizza and beer on the couch, no need for the formal dining room.  We entertain quite a bit and I would never buy a house for the 4-5 parties we throw a year.  We did find this great model though.....

"International House Hunters" is just my cheap way to take a TVcation and tour the world.  It also reminds me that I am an American Pig in my McMansion that has no unique characteristics.  But I have a tub that I can stand in, so call me a pig and cover me in BBQ sauce.

We also bet on which house they will get.  My husband bases his decision on which is most practical.  I base it on whomever is the most obnoxious-- they always win.  My son is even getting into it. 

All the home improvement shows are a kick.  I just watched a women get very excited about faucets  Made me laugh.  You would have thought she was in an adult store if you couldn't see the screen and heard her descriptions-- the excitement seemed a little over the top.

But in the end, my true obsession is based on the fact that we are facing a big decision and quite honestly, I don't want to make it.  Watching other people fumble through it makes me feel better about myself and hopefully, I'm learning from their mistakes.

It's also been 118 degrees and a nice way to pass time.

And it HAS to be better than watching a bunch of botoxed, angry, trophy wives get waxed.