Guest Post at Four Hens and a Rooster

Hey ya’ll! In case you missed it, I guest posted at Four Hens and a Rooster yesterday. I took this amazing opportunity to write about my move from Upstate NY to Eastern NC when I was 17. It’s a tear jerker, so don’t miss it!
Also, there are a lot of amazing guest posters in this series so please check them out and show some love!

Guest Post at Rough and Rede

I was very privileged to be asked to guest post again this week for my friend George at Rough and Rede. I “met” George last November during NaBloPoMo, which was hosted by BlogHer. How very brave of George to imerse himself in a sea of powerful women bloggers! We have been corresponding since last November and I was very pleased when he asked me to take part in his “Voices of August 2.0″ series. So please, go read my post, Evolution of Self and also be sure to check out George and the other guest bloggers

Guest Post at The Wordslinger: Musings of a Six-Year Old

Hey ya’ll! I’m happy to announce I am guest posting for my fellow blogger Jim at The Wordslinger today. Please go check out my post, “Musings of a Six-Year-Old” and don’t forget to check out Jim’s blog. I know you will find him as funny as I do! Plus, his wife just had their THIRD child, so please go show some love!

There’s Always Something That Needs Painting!

I am super excited to have my mom as a guest poster! She is wonderful, and I’m a very lucky lady. She is a student of life, wearing many hats – as many women do. Never idle, she spends her spare time sewing, knitting, reading, writing, and painting. She is also a newbie blogger herself, at Living, Loving, Cooking. Let’s cheer her on so she’ll post more on her own blog!

I like to paint things.  I like to paint rooms, but I especially like to paint furniture.  Almost all our hard furniture is painted because I bought it at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets, and it needed a “makeover.” Sparky calls this activity “dragging stuff home from the junk shop,” but I call it “rescuing nice things that need some work to restore their usefulness.”  Over the years, he has learned to trust my vision.  Most of the time.

This painted, made-over furniture puts our house squarely in the decorating style that magazines devoted to categorizing decorating styles call “cottage style,” which means “a house in which most of the hard furniture is painted because it needed a makeover – said furniture was probably bought at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.”   “Better Homes and Gardens” often features rooms decorated in cottage style.  There is a magazine called “Cottage Style,” and I recently saw a magazine called “Flea Market Style.” These magazines feature pictures of rooms in which all the hard furniture appears to be painted.  Just like in my house.

I also like slipcovers, which also fall into that style of decorating, but that’s another story.

This preference for painted furniture is partially innate – one of my earliest memories is of my mom painting a little 3-drawer washstand gloss black – but it mostly stems from the fact that – except for mattresses, our sleigh bed, and one or two chests of drawers (which we bought unfinished), I’ve always had to buy furniture at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.  It’s an economic preference; I’ve never bought new, finished furniture because it’s just too expensive.  Luckily, I like to paint furniture!  A fresh coat of paint on furniture or walls makes the whole world seem brighter.  With a little effort and a very little expense, I can have brand-new things whenever the spirit moves me to change colors.

And therein lies the problem.  There’s always something that needs painting!  Of course, our house was a fixer-upper, and every room and all the trim needed paint; even the ceilings had to be freshened.  The process of painting each room brought me A LOT of happiness.  Covering up the dingy, circa-1970 paint with new, updated colors – mad fun!  And I thoroughly enjoyed finding some similarly-styled dining-room chairs and painting them all the same color (“Better Homes and Gardens” hint:  if they’re all the same color, each one can be different, but they still look like a set).  Things get dicey when I bring home another new-to-me old piece of furniture, like the dining-room chair I recently bought at a thrift store:  after I painted it, all the other chairs looked shabby.  Not shabby-chic, a look I admire on other people’s furniture, like Elaine, who has a set of beautiful shabby-chic chairs that look aged – no, patina’ed – by time and loving use.

To my eye, my furniture doesn’t acquire a patina, it looks old and chipped and in dire need of a new coat of paint.  So painting one chair led to painting all the chairs, which made me look at some other painted pieces with a critical eye – and the next thing I knew, I was rooting through my paint chips, trying to decide what color to paint the table in the sun room.  And a little 4-drawer chest I use as an end table in the sun room.  Brand-new things with a few brush strokes!

I ended up making an extensive list of projects, including new paint for the hallway and my bedroom and spray-paint for a patio table.  I’m psyched!  I’m ready to start!  And I may look at slipcover fabric this weekend.

About Robin:

I am Robin – wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher, but I don’t define myself by any of those roles, although I take pride in being a responsible adult since that’s what I’ve done best for two-thirds of my life.  I’m a seamstress, gardener, reader, painter, baker, writer, and student (in no particular order), all of which define me.  I have been a student for most of my life, finally making it through graduate school (in 1999) to a Masters in Creative Writing; my current course of study is Culinary Arts.  I can’t wait to be called Chef Robin.  I spend an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen at school following my Zen Master, Chef Alex, around, trying to tap into everything he knows.  He is patient with me, as are my husband (who will always be my sweet boyfriend) and 3 daughters.  There are many days when I listen to loud Neil Diamond in the truck and drive fast – at the same time – and some days I would keep driving if I could, without looking back.  But I’m a homebody, so I always end up back at home.

Summer is Best of All

I am pleased to present my second guest poster, Regi Carpenter. Regi is a kind and amazing women, mother to many, teacher, and friend. She travels the world to tell her stories, how amazing is that?! I met “Miss Regi” when she was my son’s preschool teacher, and we have all been very blessed to have her in our lives. Please make her feel welcome and loved! 

Summer is Best of All

On June 24that 3:15 p.m. the last bell of the school year rings.  My sister Mary and I run home, burst through the door of Carpenter’s Grocery, my family grocery store, kick off our shoes and yell, “Mom, we’re going fishing!”

“No, you’re not.  You might lose an eye,” she warns.

What? Her constant concern for our well being forces us to lie to her.  We don’t want to commit the sin of lying but we have to or we will die.

Mary and I sneak down the basement stairs and hide in the coal bin to make clandestine fishing poles. A willow stick makes a pole, string is the line and paper clips bend into hooks. We get some balls of Wonder Bread bait and sneak down to the municipal dock where we spend the entire day reeling in one inedible fish after another.

We haul in carp, baby perch, sunnies, catfish… One day Mary catches an eel off the end of the dock in the deep water.  It is flopping around, smothering in the air and she cries out, “Don’t touch it!  Don’t touch it!  It’s an electric eel.  You’re gonna get electrifried!”

Mary is four years older than me and she knows everything.

“Swallow a cherry pit, Reg; a cherry tree’ll grow out your ears.”

“Swallow a watermelon seed, Reg, and you’re gonna poop out a watermelon.  It isn’t gonna be a sugar baby either.”

“Dragonflies are sent by the Pope to sew Catholic girls legs together.”

She knew everything….

We fish with worms. Always go nightcrawlin’ with a flashlight and an old coffee can stuffed with torn newspapers. Trick of the trade so the worms stay wet. Mary says, “Reg, there are worms as big as rope by the stinkem’ tree in the war zone behind the Black’s house.” I’m so excited I don’t even put my shoes on. We run down Mary Street, cut over on Alexandria and quietly tiptoe in the green wet grass next to the Marshall’s side porch. Mary is way ahead of me when I step on the biggest worm in the world. This thing is a whopper! It must be an inch in diameter and wet and slick. I freeze. The worm is going to get me! I feel it squirming under my toes. I whisper Mary’s name quietly so I don’t raise the ire of the Master Worm of the World. She finally comes back and calls me pokey. I tell her about the worm. “If I step off the worm it will be like letting go of the handle on an active grenade. We’re gonna die and I’ll be first! The worm is gonna suck me to death!” She points the flashlight at my feet. I could have sworn that garden hose was a worm.

Moral of the story:
Always go for the barefoot adventure……

Bio: Regi Carpenter is a storyteller, writer and fourth generation St. Lawrence River Rat. She tours throughout the country telling stories from her soon to be published book “Where There’ Smoke, There’ Dinner”-stories of a seared childhood. Visit her site at www.soaringstories.com.

Exodus

It is my pleasure to introduce my first guest blogger, Jennifer Adams. Jenn and I are from the same little town in Upstate NY, and although we were little more than acquaintances in school, we have recently connected and become fast friends. She has a kind, gentle, and creative spirit, and I am so pleased that she volunteered to guest blog. Jenn does not have a blog of her own – yet – but I hope with a little encouragement, she will be ready to dive in with both feet. Here is her bio:

I am Jenn Adams, originally from a gem of a town, Trumansburg, NY.  I  now live in beautiful Bend, Oregon with my talented husband Aaron and our very busy son Clark.  When I am not gardening, cooking, or doing something artistic, you can find me camping or hot spring hopping around the Pacific Northwest.

Exodus

I remember it like it was yesterday.  Sitting down to take the SAT exam.  Literally preparing to unload your brain and see how you rank.  Anxious, exhausted, unsure of the future, I sliced open the security sticker on the side and top of the packet with my trusty Dixon Ticonderoga Number Two pencil and started to print my name at the top.  The smell of freshly sharpened pencils, overly scented deodorant (you know the kind that all the boys wore to be more manly) and cherry chapstick permeated the room.

OK-first question.  Here we go.

SENTENCE COMPLETION

  1. An exodus is _______.

(a)  the final scene of a play

(b) a mass movement of people

(c)  the outer layer of skin

(d) a category of plants in the vegetable kingdom

I felt a rush from toe to head.  THANK YOU BOB MARLEY!!! Every little thing IS going to be alright!!

Although exhausted at the end of the test, with a lovely reggae beat I had conquered the most feared exam that I was aware of.  Music has a wonderful way of guiding me through life.

What songs have helped you get through it all?