Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Same But Different

So obviously I am a little like my mom.  I think a lot like she does, I project the same way she does. I even hurt myself just like she does.  But for all of our similarities, our struggle is different.

Clearly some of our struggles are the procrastination.  I'm blogging right now instead of studying.  But our major struggle is very different and I didn't really realize it until I started studying for the bar exam.

As I entered the phase of full time studying for the bar, I asked all of my friends and family for two things.  Leave me the hell alone and send me motivational e-cards, quotes, and pictures.  My mom has done more than send me e-cards.  Mom has sent me some care packages that have brought me to tears. The first package she sent contained a little desk flip calendar.  The title of the calendar is "You're Made For A God-Sized Dream."  This package arrived on a day when I was so down in the dumps about studying.  I knew the kind of ground I should be covering, and I wasn't anywhere even close.  I was feeling like I couldn't do it, and memories of having failed this before where haunting my every thought.  I was trying to hold on to WHY I am doing this to myself again, but I was struggling.  My dream seemed so far away and I was loosing hope.  But my mom, with all of her infinite wisdom and perfect timing, and greatly led by God's hand, knew what to send me and when to send it.  And day by day it has been a blessing, a quiet reminder on the corner of my desk about why I am doing this.

Today's post seemed particularly pointed at me.

It reminds me that God chose me for this task for a reason.  There is no Plan B.  This is just it. And that speaks to me.  It calls me to stand back up and keep fighting.  And that I have to be the one to get up and do the fighting.

My mom has also been a faithful sender of motivational e-cards as well, but I noticed a consistent message in hers that I completely agree with but I can honestly say they don't really apply to me as much as I want them too.  I certainly don't mind; just the fact that she sends them shows me her love and that she's thinking of me and believes in me.  But as often happens with love, we give what we actually need ourselves and I noticed this in the message of my mom's e-cards.

My mom's e-cards roughly sum up to "Tell me I can't, and I'll prove you wrong."  I can totally get behind that message.  Probably for most of my life, I have used that kind of "me-against-them" energy to fuel my fire.  I'm a little Scrappy Doo, I've always held onto that underdog mentality.  I really loving having someone to fight.  I love to have a target.  But the other day, when I got one of those cards from her, I realized that that no longer exists in my life.  Over the past year I have purged my world of negative energy and negative people.  So when I read messages like that, I can't harness that mentality because in reality, I am surrounded by nothing but people who believe I can do anything.

My only enemy is myself.

But I realize that isn't the case for my mom.  She probably can still really get behind that message because for most of her life, she didn't receive the support she deserved.  I'm not sure where the line is here on what all is ok to say or what isn't, but I'm just gonna say it anyways.  I doubt any of our family reads my blog, but on the off chance they do, maybe they need this reality check, and to know what I really think of them.

My mom is the youngest of four siblings.  The youngest by a LONG shot and the home she grew up in was very different from that of her brother and sisters.  My mom's youth was in a dark place in our family's history.  A phase which eventually passed and was followed by a great period of rebuilding and love.  But the fact remains that Mom was pretty much on her own, with very little guidance and very little support.  And of course she made mistakes, had to learn a lot of things the very hard way, but she never gave up.  But I think that some members of our family never let my mom live down the mistakes of her early years.

For example, my mom never graduated from high school....she had me instead. And then she worked hard and she climbed the ladder and eventually found her self in a pretty successful position with out anyone's help.  But to some people in our family, that didn't really matter...I mean what could she possibly know? She didn't even graduate from high school.

I have a B.A. in English Literature from a major accredited four year university and my mom is still better-read than I am. 

But the sheer magnitude of her accomplishments didn't matter to some people.  Never mind that she was a completely self taught and bright woman with a good business head on her shoulders....she still never graduated from high school.  So when I was in high school, my mom studied on her own and took and passed the exam to get her GED.  In case that is un-impressive to you let me put that in perspective....

After being out of school for almost 20 years, my mom TAUGHT HERSELF ALGEBRA and passed her exams with flying colors.   

When was the last time you did any math at all (without a calculator) above multiplication or division and were successful?

But still that wasn't enough for some in our family, I think.

My mom has always known God was there, looking out for her and looking out for her girls.  Maybe she didn't always know how to study His word, but she always had faith that He was there and that He had a plan.  I remember when I was in high school is when my mom really had the time and the ability to really sit down and get into His word and and to study.  And her relationship with Him grew by leaps and bounds.

Some people in our family don't believe.  Or maybe they do, I have no idea.  It's never my place to speculate on the state of someone else's salvation.  But there are some people in my family who are caught up in some vicious cycles of bad decision making leading to bad results, leading to more bad decisions and down and down it goes.  And when they would call and talk to my mom about it, my mom would try to offer them truth as it has been revealed to her in her own walk with God.  She would try to offer the answers that God had given to her own questions on the same subjects.  And they threw it back in her face.  After all, what could she possibly know, I mean look at all the mistakes she had made.  They completely missed the point.  Out of pride, out of a hardened heart, I don't know.

And sprinkle that same theme through out her entire life. Events just like that.  Even now, she faces nay-sayers.  Some of them are important to her, some less so.  But she still has to deal with someone telling her in one way or another she can't do this or that.  Maybe she doesn't really know what she's doing... This is never going to work...

I personally would just like to punch all of those people in the face and offer them a giant #^@% %@^....but that's not my point here.

I can look at what I know of my mom's history (or at least my limited perspective on it) and see the difference.  Most of her life she has been told she can't do that.  She shouldn't be able to do that.  Who does she think she is, daring to rise above difficult circumstances?  But that's what makes my mom GREAT.  She never gave up even when she felt like the whole world was stacked against her.

And because she fought against the odds like that, she ensured that my struggle would not be the same.  I almost wish I had the world stacked against me because that would give me a target, someone to fight against.  And I know how to fight against other people (why do you think I went to law school?). But I don't.  I have all the world telling me that I can and the only person I have to fight against to achieve great myself.

And in this struggle my mom supports me too.  The next care package she sent me was equally amazing.  She sent me a pocket knife.  That might seem strange, but being horse people, and Texans, we know the value of a good pocket knife.  She got my sister one too and had our nick names inscribed on it.  Also, since we share the same need to make lists, she sent me a little note pad.  On the first page she wrote me a note saying "You got this!"

My mom and I are both going through some major changes in our lives.  We are both on the cusp of achieving great things on the next level.  I am so glad we are doing this together though.  Even though our struggles are not the same, I can't imagine having to do this without her.

Words of advice from a 27 year old who clearly has it all figured out....if you don't have a good relationship with your mom - repair it...Immediately.  If you do, reach out to her as often as you can.  And if your mom is already gone, honor her by passing on the lessons and wisdom she gave you to your daughters.

 - Scarlett

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Unsung Hero

I talk on here from time to time about how I am my Mother's daughter and it's true.  Anyone who has ever met both of us will agree.  Several of my friends, after meeting my mom and seeing us together, have made comments like "scary," "creepy," "weird," "Shit, there's two of you," "That explains a lot."

I've heard them all.

I don't typically talk about my dad much on here, and it's not because he isn't around, doesn't participate, or isn't involved.....he just doesn't talk much at all.  But that doesn't mean that he isn't there, right when I need him, every time.

I talk to my mom almost every day now because my mom and I both enjoy the activity of talking!  My dad....not so much.  Anyone who has met him knows that his more of the strong, quiet, silent, keeps-to-himself, stoic type.  As a family we hang out and talk, if we are all driving somewhere and there is something interesting on the radio, we all talk.  And when my dad talks, we all listen.  But one on one, my dad just doesn't talk.

To someone like me, that's pretty damn intimidating.  Ever since I was a small child, my report cards always reflected great grades, but in the teacher comments, there was always a note regarding my willingness to talk.  I'll talk about anything if I'm not particularly busy.  We can talk about dogs, animals, the price of oil, religion and theology, whatever you want, I live for good conversation.  But my dad isn't really good at "conversation." My dad is good at explaining things, my dad is good at instruction, my dad is good at guidance, all of which he does with a level of efficiency that I have never seen matched.  My dad does not waste his words.

So when I am going to go in and talk to my dad about something, I have to pretty much give myself a pep talk.  I have to make sure I have correct facts on whatever it is I'm going to ask him, I have to be ready to be in there for a while, and I have to have my words planned out so that I communicate efficiently, and most of all, I have to be ready to hear whatever he says and marinate on it without interruption.  My dad invites questions, he doesn't mind if there's something I don't understand because I lack sufficient facts and I am seeking clarification.  But my dad does not have words or time to waste on playing devil's advocate and arguing things just for the sake of it.

I AM A LAWYER!!! (sorta) Do You Have ANY Idea How Hard That Is For Me?  The question "Why?" falls out of my mouth almost automatically when anyone tells me anything!!!!

So talking to my dad is hard for me, but it is certainly an exercise in setting aside my pride and picking up a lot of humility, which is something I need to do more often.

Talking to him over the phone is a little easier.  I will admit that some of the best conversations I have ever had with my dad were over the phone.  I think that I have probably exchanged more words with my dad over the phone than I have in person actually.  I don't know if you think that's sad or not, but, whatever, it works. I think it's easier because my dad has a very impressive physical presence.  He's not huge, he's not a body builder, he doesn't look like a bouncer, and he doesn't wear a permanent scowl.  But he is very clearly, as my mom refers to him, The Man In Charge.  In everything he does, even watching TV or cooking, my dad displays a level of focus and concentration that I think most of us would attribute to a battle-seasoned special ops soldier.  I can just watch him watch TV and I can see the level of intelligence working in his brain.  I can see his eye movements and know that he sees everything, notices every detail, and is processing it on the fly.  I'm not saying that I've seen it all, but I've made it a point to expose myself to all different types of people, and I've never seen anyone who worked like that outside of someone with a high level of military training.

That's why I think it's easier to talk to him on the phone.  In person, I can see everything, like I said, eye movement, breathing patterns, body language in general and it's a lot to take in.  

This has all been a squirrel.  The point of all of this post was to share with you something my dad said to me that marked me, that inspired me, that gave me guidance and showed me his love.

Almost two years ago now, I was in my first really bad car wreck.  I absolutely totaled my car but somehow walked away with barely a scratch.  The front driver's side of my car was crunched up literally to the petals.  On top of all of this, I was in a rough place at work and was trying to simply survive financially, while at the same time I was supposed to be preparing for my first dance with the Bar Exam, just a few weeks away.  I talked to my dad every day at lunch for the full hour for two weeks.  During the three days of the bar exam, I talked to him at lunch every day.  I knew in my heart that I had not been able to study and prepare like I should have.  I pretty much only had one week...most people studied for 2 full months.  But every day we talked and he was encouraging.

One day after work, before the bar exam, as I climbed in my rental car, I called my dad to chat for a bit before I started the drive back to my hotel.  He was encouraging me to find my way in life essentially, to find a way to not have to work for anyone else.  He said that there would be no better time in my life than now to "throw the bones." To just go for it.  I was scared.  Scared in general, scared of not having a job, scared of the bar exam, scared because at 25 I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, scared because I didn't feel like I had any real skills that were sufficient to hold me up if I just struck out on my own.  And then he said this:

"Boldness comes from preparation.  The risk is insignificant."

It struck me.  I was still listening to him and letting it sink it, but even though I hadn't had time to marinate on it, I knew I needed to remember those words, so I fumbled around for a pen and wrote it on the back of a receipt.

I repeat this to myself often.  I'm 27 now and I finally have a goal.  I have found that thing that I want to do for work, that will be great work, that will bring fulfillment to my life and that I know will be a more than worthy use of my life and time on earth.  I know that it will be my greatest adventure. It will consume my whole life.  It will require my very best effort.  It will take a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of research and mostly a lot of doing.  It will require that I be strong and healthy.  It will require that I be alert and attentive.  It will require all of me, all of me at my best. And every time I want to quit studying (now going for my 3rd round with the bar exam), every time I want to not work out, every time I want to sit down and eat the ENTIRE package of Oreos sitting in the very top of my cabinet, every time I get scared that maybe this is too big for me and that I'm just not going to be strong enough, I repeat that phrase to myself.

Boldness comes from preparation.  So I will prepare.  Even when I don't see the point, even when I'm tired, even when I have momentarily lost my hope or my sanity, I will prepare because my future is coming and I refuse to let it pass me by.

I'm not sure if you'll ever see this, Dad, but just know that you have always been the unsung hero in my life.  I have never given you enough credit, and certainly never to your face.  Maybe because I just figured you already knew how awesome you are and any extra words on the matter would be superfluous.  But as the talker of the family, you know I always err on the side of saying too much rather than not enough, for better or for worse.  I love you, Dad.

 - Scarlett

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Am My Mother's Daughter...

So for anyone that follows my Mom's blog, you are very familiar with the many ways she finds to hurt herself.  To say that my mom is accident prone is a serious understatement.

But alas... I am my mother's daughter.

I cut my thumb open last night and the circumstances surrounding it couldn't be more ridiculous.

It all starts with a bottle that, interestingly enough, my mother gave me.  It's this cool looking bottle with a neat little sealed pressure lid. It kinda reminds me of those old timey bottles they would sell that magical cure-all, snake oil elixir in.  I used this bottle to keep my apple cider vinegar/honey mixture in.  You know because it really is that secret elixir that will cure all your ails.

I mixed up another batch a few days ago and put it back in the cabinet.  On the counter under that cabinet I had a bag of golden potatoes and a sweet potato.  I went into the kitchen the next day after getting home late from a movie and just saw this strange colored sappy substance all over my counter and my first thought was "Oh No!!! The potatoes went bad all over my counter!!"  I only had my little over-the-sink light on and didn't bother with turning the big kitchen light on.  I scooped up the potatoes, threw them away and cleaned up the mess.  Thinking that was the end of it, I went to bed.

Having removed the incident from my mind, I opened that cabinet to get some rice the next day at lunch and was again shocked to see this same strange colored substance all over the bottom shelf of the cabinet...then I saw the bottle.  It was my apple cider vinegar/honey mixture.  Somehow, and I have NO idea how, the bottle was broken.  I'm thinking it must have exploded because the base of the bottle was still upright and completely stuck to the shelf and there were large pieces of glass laying close to it, all covered in the sticky, sappy mixture.  Now, I wasn't' the potatoes.  Now that the mystery had really been solved and I realized I had thrown out a whole bag of perfectly good potatoes, I cleaned up the remaining mess and moved on with my life.

I had to tell you that story to tell you this one.  Apparently, when I was cleaning up the mess in the cabinet a small piece of glass (shaped like a tiny mountain) fell onto the counter and apparently became quite stuck there because it was covered in a honey mixture.  I was talking to my mom on the phone, cooking dinner and moving some things around on the counter last night when my hand just felt some kind of crumb or something stuck on the counter.  Distracted by conversation, I didn't think twice about what it could be and just reached out with my thumb to dislodge the item and then throw it away.

In case you didn't know don't just dislodge a piece of stuck glass from a counter top with your bare thumb.

I cut myself on the glass.  It took me a second to even realize what had happened, and that it was glass in my hand.  As I threw it away it occurred to me to check my thumb, and sure enough the blood was starting to ooze out.  The whole time my mom is in my ear asking me what has happened and do I need stitches??

No mom, I don't need stitches.  But it was still bleeding.  and it was picking up speed.  it was just deep enough in the skin to really bleed.  Still on the phone, and still with an eye on my dinner, I head to the bathroom to get a band aid.

I just moved into my house and was in a mad dash to unpack and get settled.  I had several friends help me and while that was a blessing, it was also a curse because now I can't find a lot of stuff....Mainly my first aid supplies.

As I'm digging around in the cabinet in search of my band aids, my mom is still in my ear talking shit about how at lease she knows where her band aids are and my thumb is still bleeding.  Finally I just say "To hell with this."  You're right Mom, I may not know where my band aids are in the house.  But you know what, I definitely know where they are in my emergency "GO" bag.  With mom still in my ear and still talking away, I went to the garage and dealt with my cut sitting in the passenger seat of my car.

Alcohol wipe √
Band aid √

Everything's good right....I go back in, still talking to Mom and cooking dinner.  Then I look at my hand...

This is not good.

Ok so now I am bleeding through my band aid.  Mom is, again, in my ear talking smack..."Are you sure you don't need stitches??"  NO MOM.  I DON'T NEED STITCHES.

Back to the car.  While this is not my prettiest first aid bandage will do the trick, which is all that matters. 


 - Scarlett

P.S. My dinner was delicious.  Salmon and rice. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2015

I'm Back....And I'm Decorating!! Watch Out Pintrest!!

I'm not sure how many "faithful" followers I've had in the past other than my mom, but if there are any others, you'll have noticed that I've been gone....for a while.

But now I'm back...or at least I'm trying to be back.  The past year has been a crazy one full of learning and discovery.  Discovery of myself, what I want, where I'm headed, but that can all be covered in another post.

Just to get back into the swing of things I thought I'd start with home that is.  Up until this past year all I could ever afford furniture-wise were items from Criag's list and the Good Will.  This past year I worked as a landman in the oil and gas industry and I made decent money for the first time in my adult life.  So I took the opportunity to start updating my home with items that I really liked.  Take that word "updating" with a grain of salt...the theme of my house is essentially "old shit."

It was a slow process for sure but I'll share with you some of my more DIY/antique finds.  I live in the thriving metropolis of Lubbock, Texas. My job as a landman took me to many remote communities and gave me the opportunity to shop around outside of the normal "antique malls."  Pretty much, I'm a hobbyist Picker.

For example, my kitchen table.  It's solid wood (but I don't know what kind) and the legs bolt on.  This item still needs a complete overhaul.  It needs to be sanded and painted and the legs should probably be reinforced somehow.  I found this baby in a consignment shop in Brownfield, Texas right across the street from the court house and it cost me $60.  I managed to fit this thing in the back seat of my (now dead) Buick Century, with me, my 65 lb. dog, and my gear all in the front seat.

The chairs I got off of Craig's list for $20.  The two nearest chairs match but the other two are different.

I personally feel like matching is WAY overrated and I can't wait to paint them.  I have been going back and forth in my mind for months on what color I want.

Next are my Trunks.  I LOVE trunks.  But every time I find them in Texas, and it doesn't matter what part of Texas, you're looking to spend around $300...but not me!

These two trunks I bought at a garage sale out in the middle of no where.  This lady lived right off of a major highway but still out there.  I paid $20 for both of them.  They sit in my living room as a sort of accent piece and I store all of my extra bulk items in them that I buy from Sam's.  So extra boxes of ziplocks, extra rolls of paper towels, the 500 coffee cup lids...stuff like that.

The next trunk I saw on Instagram.  It was in an antique shop that I follow on Instagram out in California called Bad Madge.  This lady has some of the most awesome antique steam trunks and she sells them for pretty much nothing.  This trunk would retail for an easy $300 in Texas, I got it for $75 and then paid minimal shipping.  There is a site called Uship where you can put up large items that you need shipped and people can bid for the job....kinda like ebay.  I found a family owned shipping company that hauls typically large objects (like sail boats) that was already going to make a trip out soon from California to Dallas, TX, so it was no hassle for them to throw the trunk in the back seat of the pickup and drop it off on their way by.  It now sits at the foot of my bed and holds extra blankets.  

While we are in the bedroom, I might as well talk about my bed frame, which I am SO in love with.  I have a full sized bed and was looking for a cool old bed frame.  I found this antique metal bed frame with headboard, footboard, and rails literally sitting in someone's yard on the outskirts of a small town called Post, TX.  I stopped and asked if it was for sale and bought it for $100.  Ive been told that this frame could actually be quite valuable because of the shells that serve as the connecting points along the frame.  No idea if it's true or not, but I love the old primer/rust look to it.  Maybe I'll paint it one day, maybe I won't.  The connection at the top right of the headboard needs a little JB Weld but other than that it's in great shape. 

My nightstand I also bought in Post, TX.  I think I negotiated it down to $25.  Also a solid wood item with what looks like original hardware.  It's cute as it is but I might paint it as an accent piece.  It served as my night stand at my old house, but now it fits nicely in between my closet doors. 

This next piece also came from Post....negotiated down to $35 I think.  It's a solid wood cabinet.  At my last house it held my zombie apocalypse stash of toilet paper in the bathroom, but here it serves as my entertainment center.

I have awesome friends and they know how much I love old things, so they are always on the look out for me.  One of my friends, Jessica drives a great deal as well and covers a HUGE sales territory.  So she has the chance to pop her head in some stores that I could only get to on a weekend.  She is responsible for some of the larger pieces in my house.

She found this whiskey barrel for me in Jacksboro, TX.  I can't remember but I think we negotiated it down to $225, which is a great deal for a whiskey barrel in general and especially since it is in such excellent condition.  At my old house it was my sort of coffee nook and in the new house it is a table in my living room.

Don't judge my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree....

She also found me a beautiful set of antique double doors - $50 (also in Jacksboro).  These doors are so old that there is not a single screw in them...they are held together by wooden dowls.  One day I will consider sanding, paining, and re-finishing them but for the time being I like them the way they are.  I bought a pair of cast iron door handles from a place in Lubbock called Coyote Candle ($12) and the most expensive part was the sliding barn door hardware (bought from Home Depot for $100.)

The project for which I can take the most individual credit is an accent table that I put together.  The table top is actually a WWII ammunition trunk that I found in Post, TX for $20.  The bottom is a cast iron base for a New Home treadle sewing machine.  The base I found in an antique mall in Lubbock.  It came with a beautiful treadle sewing machine but no table top.  I paid $50 for both of those pieces.  I mounted the ammo box onto the top of the sewing base and it sits in my kitchen and holds my collection of teas.  The sewing machine sits on a shelf in my bedroom as a decorative piece.

The last is certainly not the least.  This is still a work in progress and a big collaborative effort between me and my mom.  My mom isn't really a sentimental person and she doesn't keep many old things around, but somehow through all of the years, she still has her childhood toy chest.  It is a solid wood bench with a seat that lifts up.  I can remember this thing being around since I was a little girl and probably one of the most defining moments in my life involved my mom carrying this huge toy chest all by herself to prove a point to me.  I guess my mom forgot about that, but when I told her how I tell that story to my friends, she decided to gift the chest to me this past Christmas.  It is still a work in progress, but it has come a long way.  The bottom of the chest had certainly seen better days, so after sanding it, we put new trim made of 1x4s around the bottom to reinforce it and added a little decorative molding around the top.  Then we painted it and Mom bought me a cushion to go on the seat.  There are still some decorative pillows to be made (hint hint Mom...I hope to see those pillows before bee season ;-) ) but I now have the piece in my own home.  It sits by the front door so people have a place to sit and take their shoes off....or really for me to dump my bags on.  But now I can finally show people the actual piece of furniture my mom carried all those years ago so they too can see that this was not an easy task.  




I have some other neat little things I've found here and there, or things I made but nothing that really deserve a huge explanation...

This set of shutters from a store called Juxt-a-posh in Lubbock - $20. Needs to be sanded and painted.

And this DIY wreath I made. I started with a neutral base so I can change the decorations for all seasons and holidays...Everything came from Hobby Lobby and roughly $30 for everything to decorate for fall and Christmas.  This is just the fall version.

I know this is a lot but keep in mind it was spread out over the course of a year.  I can't wait to have the time to actually work on some of these pieces....but they have their own charm just as they are.  

Thanks for stopping by!!

 - Scarlett