Wednesday, June 17, 2009

School Days

I attended a small Catholic school in the Nation's Oldest City - St. Augustine. It was located in the historic district, on St. George Street, and it was not the first school on that site. Archeologists working at the school this week have uncovered more of the foundation and artifacts from the first school at that location, a school for boys operated by the Spanish government from 1786 to 1820. 

Anywhere you walk in the historic district of St. Augustine, you're treading on history. I learned this very early on. It was not unusual to pass an archeological dig underway near the town library or in the shopping district. It was hard as a kid to resist jumping in those neatly carved digs. But after being screamed at a time or two by the archeologists on site, you learned your lesson. Or did we?

My seventh grade year I had a real nutjob for a social studies teacher. Teaching 7th graders was just one of his part time jobs (along with drinking heavily). His other job was as a "British soldier" leading tours dressed in full British regalia. He loved to come to class dressed in his period costume and teach us about Florida history. To that end, he decided to let his seventh graders conduct their own archeological dig in the sand parking lot of the school. 

I can't imagine what the administration was thinking when they ok'd this. Well, maybe they didn't know about his scheme until it was too late.

Imagine 60 seventh graders armed with spoons, sifters, trowels and rakes digging around in the heart of the Nation's Oldest City. It didn't take long for the historical society to shut us down and confiscate all the pottery shards, shells and odds and ends we had uncovered. 

I guess you could say my classmates and I were rogue amateur archeologists. Read more about the current dig site and what they are uncovering here

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Redneck Wine Tasting

Charming Cousin invited Beloved and I to attend a Beer Tasting Festival in Jax with him this past weekend. He got us tickets in advance so when we showed up at the auditorium where the event was being held, I was surprised to see lines snaking all the way down each sidewalk, a few hundred people. Well, I thought smugly, those must be the people waiting in line to buy tickets, good thing we already have our tickets.

As we approached the crowd, I volunteered to make my way up to the door to be sure that the long lines were for the people who were "unprepared" and not for folks like us. I walked with a purpose past 10s of people, mostly in their 20s, and made my way to the door where security was checking IDs and wristbanding guests. That's when I realized there was no separate line for advance ticket holders. Oh jeez, this is going to be a long wait. 

When I turned around to go back to my group to let them know we were out of luck, imagine my surprise to see all 5 of them standing behind me with silly grins on their faces. 

"Well, looks like we're gonna have to wait in line, there's no entrance for people who already have tickets," I reported to my friends and family.

"Just blend," says Charming Cousin.

"What?" I ask

"We're already up here in front, just blend in to the line and we'll get right in," he whispered. 

I looked around. No one seemed to be giving us the evil eye. But should we really just butt in line right here at the door? 


So we did. And we all made it through. And it was packed. There must have been 50 different beers to sample. It was the redneck equivalent of a fancy wine tasting. Not fancy. Packed with mostly 20-something men and women (mostly men), and "free" food that included sub sandwiches, pizza & nachos. We drank out of plastic cups (don't lose it because you only get one, we were warned) and had a very good time. Even if we were some of the oldest people in the building. 

Good thing I decided not to wear my St. Pauli Girl outfit. I'd have been really embarrassed to be among so many other ladies with the same idea. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Slavedriver!

Heh, heh, heh! The kids thought that summer was one great big junk food eating sleeping late being lazy slugs adventure. But I've rained on that parade.

Day 2 of Summer Vacation and I assigned chores!

That's right, you heard me. Chores! The chorus of moaning and groaning upon assignment of chores was enough to satisfy even the most evil of torture-mongers.

MiniMe was assigned one of my least favorite tasks - giving the dogs a bath. While I was out meeting with clients and running errands, the kids were left at home with the dreaded chore list. Imagine my surprise (but utter delight) upon returning home to find that the assigned chores had actually been completed. Well, almost.

It didn't take me long to suspect that MiniMe's dog washing attempt was simply that - an attempt. When I arrived home and the dogs greeted me they were wet. In a few places. But not everywhere. And they smelled, well, bad. And not that musty "wet dog" smell that comes with bathing a canine but eventually subsides and turns pleasant once they are dry . . .and CLEAN. 

Why should I be surprised? MiniMe has been known to show up with filthy, dirty feet after taking a shower. How can you take a shower and still have dirty feet?!?

Well, she apparently used this ancient Chinese secret soap strategy to wash the dogs. Somehow wetting them but not cleaning them. I suspect she either wiped them with a wet wipe or perhaps hit them with a few sprays of her water gun. Either way, these dogs are a long way from clean.

What I did on the first day of summer

My First Day of Summer by NativeMom

I couldn't believe it was finally here! The first day of summer. While the summer solstice might mark the official first day of summer, for me summer begins when school ends.

It was the first day of summer break from school. I slept 15 minutes later than usual (oh yeah!). I worked in my home office surrounded by the sounds of summer fun - every TV in the house was playing, kids were running up and down the stairs like a pack of mules, and there was the familiar splish splash and ear-shattering squeals coming from the patio where MiniMe and favorite stepdaughter were swimming. 

But it wasn't just the sounds of summer I welcomed. There were the smells of summer: the piquant scent of burnt microwave popcorn; the musty smell of wet towels strewn across the house; the delightful scent of some sort of chocolate chip cookie like substance emanating from my kitchen.

But the sights of summer, now that is something to cherish! The whimsical trail of chocolate goo spread across every kitchen surface. The modern-art like sculpture of every cup in the house half full of soda placed precariously on every stick of furniture. The puddles of pool water shimmering gently at every entrance of the house. Glitter, construction paper and open paint jars littering the dining room table. 

I decided a treat for me, the hard-working yet fun-loving NativeMom that I am, was in order to mark this first day of summer. So I signed up for the wine club membership at the nearest wine bar and package store. Now I can relax and drink in all this summer fun!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What I learned on my Girl Scout trip

I survived the girl scout trip. There should be a special badge for moms like me who made it through 5 years of selling cookies, sewing on patches (you mean I could have used fabric glue?!? thanks for the tip ladies), providing snack and chaperoning trips. Of course, my job was easy as I wasn't the troop leader. 

We enjoyed 2 days in Savannah where girl scouts can be observed in their natural habitat. Savannah is the birthplace of Juliet Gordon Lowe, the founder of girl scouts. So it is considered girl scout mecca. 

We did a ghost tour, walked for miles, took the trolley tour, swam in the hotel pool, shopped, and dined at Paula Deen's restaurant (where we hurt ourselves the home cookin' was so damned good). Along the way we had a flip flop blowout, a few bellyaches, but mostly laughs. The girls were very well behaved and how proud were the 6 moms on this trip to hear time and time again how "polite" and "well behaved" our troop was. Bonus!

Thanks girl scouts for all the fun, the camaraderie, the cookies, the lessons learned, the cookies, the camping trips, the service projects, the cookies and of course, the cookies. 

P.S. Who knew they still made candy cigarettes?