The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!
Friday, July 11, 2008
The Perfect Day
The lifeguards were flying a green flag which let us know the swimming conditions could not be any better. There was very little surf, no dangerous marine life and no undertow to worry about. It was the perfect day to spend at the beach with your children.
We spent most of the day splashing about the diamond speckled water reflected by the sweet summer sun. We floated and jumped with the small swells and dug our heels into the soft sand as we collected shells and enjoyed each others company. We spent a day without television or cable and enjoyed the privilege to just be. Be with one another, be with friends and family. That’s something so many people in this world would give their right arm for and it was ours for the taking. That day WE were the lucky ones.
After we had tired of the beach, we made our way over to the playground across the street. Allie and I sat at an empty pavilion, enjoying the shade while the children played in the mangroves and became pirates on the little tykes playground. It really was the perfect day.
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Canoeing With Perspective
That day the sky was clear and the sun was hot. It was a typical May day in South Florida. We are used to the heat, so it does not bother us too much; therefore, we were not worried about becoming overheated in the mid-day sun. We hopped in the car and drove the short distance to the preserve.
When we got there, we stopped under a pavilion and checked in with a volunteer who instructed us to fill out the necessary paperwork. With a few signatures and dates and a little bit of standing around we were ready to go.
Justice had me take this picture of his paddle, because he wanted to have a shot of the Indian on there. Who can resist a request like that?
The volunteers had us split into groups and matched Justice and I up with another volunteer named Dave to fill the canoes. One by one they loaded us into the vessels and pushed us into the body of water which fills our tubs and washing machines each day. Because we had a volunteer in our canoe we needed to be the last canoe in the line making its way through the marsh. This way, we would ensure nobody was left behind and we could offer assistance to anybody in need.
Dave was very knowledgeable and was an expert at steering the canoe. Justice had to sit in the middle, just like when we paddled down the Peace River; but, this time he got his own paddle. He was quite proud of himself as he splish, splashed his way down the marsh along with us. He felt like he was part of the crowd. He was helping.
As we paddled along we saw all sorts of wild life and added a new experience to our repertoire. Every so often we stopped as a group to listen to a short lecture about this plant or that, how islands came to be and how this body of water was tied to the water that poured out of our kitchen sinks. It really put things into perspective. The water that comes from our faucets was not just some form of magic or something to be taken for granted. We were floating in it. It was something that could be used up, ruined or endangered by us. It was real.
As the hour came to an end, we were getting a bit warm and were quite ready for a cold drink and a hearty lunch. It was just long enough to enjoy the trip; yet, not so long that it became a chore. Those are my favorite kind of outdoor excursions.
We disembarked with ease and headed off for a quick lunch and a relaxing day with one another. I could not imagine a better way to spend Mother's Day.
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Beaches and Red Flags
Note the red flag flying from the lifeguard station. It’s the most dangerous warning they have before they close the beach. Due to that I only allowed us to go in as far as our shins and when the lifeguards shut down for the day I made a hard and fast rule. No more water. Justice wasn’t thrilled with it; but, after I explained the risks and consequences to him, he somewhat reluctantly agreed to play with the sand toys and a new little friend. My StumbleUpon Page
Justice and Hannah played doctor.
The family jammed.
(Video coming soon!)
Luke, our little tambourine man, peered at me through the tambourine.
He looked at me and held out the tambourine with it’s shinny cylindrical spheres and said “toy”
I looked at him and said “Does Mommy know that?”
He looked back at me with secretive eyes and after throwing a quick glance in Timbra’s direction, he leaned in ever so slightly and said “Shhhhhhhh!”
I couldn’t believe it! He was so funny, I couldn’t help but laugh and when I told Timbra, she laughed even harder that I did.
Timbra sand Stevie Nicks Rihannon while reading the lyrics online from her phone.
And we all shared in a great meal of grilled wings, sausages, oven baked beans and a killer salad.
All in all we had a great time. It was a day filled with fun and family. Who could ask for anything more?
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Guilt, Love And Two Little Green Eyes
Every day he came home clamoring about recycling. I became convinced that there was a subservient group of government officials infiltrating his school passing out this labor intensive propaganda. I was a little put off at first, perhaps because deep down there was a growing twinge of embarrassment and guilt snapping at my heart strings. Of course I should be recycling and of course I should want to do it; but, I really didn’t. My life was already so full and so busy as a single mom and part time college student. Did I really have the time to separate the garbage from the recyclables, spend extra time washing said recyclables and drop them into specific bins, only to spend even more time making extra trips to the dumpster area to dispose of everything appropriately? The answer was yes. Yes due to guilt, the love in my heart and two little green eyes staring back at me pleadingly. Yes.
I told Justice to get me the phone number for the recycling people and promised him I would call them and request a blue and yellow bin. The very next day he came home with his agenda and a note from the teacher which included the necessary phone number. That was it. I had to honor my promise. He did his part, now I had to do mine.
I called the number and gave them my address and asked for the bins. Of course it couldn’t be that simple. Lake Park handles it’s own recycling separate from the county. I needed to talk to the more local officials to complete my request. Luckily they called me back the very same day and promised to send a field rep out to asses our location. They needed to see if we had large yellow and blue dumpsters first.
Some time passed and one day a yellow dumpster showed up. It was left in the middle of the property, quite far away from the trash area. I stared at the large yellow eyesore for a few days before another resident or the property manager moved it to the appropriate area. My curiosity had been spiked and one night I decided to check out these recycling containers. As I lifted the lids to each container, I was a bit shocked by what I found. A hodgepodge of garbage nearly congealing with precious recyclables. It was a sad sight to behold.
I did not quite know what to do about what I had seen. The large cans were too big and cumbersome for me to empty into the great metal roll off dumpster and I was pretty sure the town would not pick up mixed containers like this. I decided to keep a watchful eye on the situation for a couple weeks and see what happened. Nothing happened.
Two weeks later, both cans were still filled to the brim with everything they were meant for and everything they were not. It was time to take action. I still didn’t have my small bins to collect the daily plastics, metals and papers and I did not have the room to store them elsewhere, so I was at a standstill.
This week I called the town again. I explained the situation to them and how I thought the neighbors just didn’t know what was supposed to go into the bins. I asked for literature to educate the neighbors and myself, since I was not entirely sure of what could and could not go into each colored bin. They promised to look into the situation and that afternoon I got a call from the driver of the recycling truck. He told me they had not emptied the bins because they had all sorts of unacceptable materials in them. I agreed and asked if they could be emptied so we could start fresh. He agreed to have them emptied, promised to leave small bins for my apartment and literature for the neighbors. It was the perfect solution.
When I came home from work today, there were my bins and literature just as he had promised. The large recycling containers were at the curb waiting to be emptied by the garbage truck the next day. Now it was time for me to do my part. I organized the literature and had a short debriefing session with Justice. I explained how we needed to let our neighbors know what went in each bin so the recycling people would pick them up. I also explained how we would knock on each door and pass the literature out as well as how we would utilize the door hangers for those who were not home. He was excited.
One by one we knocked on our neighbors doors. Some were home and some were not. Many seemed interested in recycling and some looked at us curiously. One woman flat out said she wanted nothing to do with our recycling. It was interesting at the least.
Justice loved knocking on the doors and begged to be THE ONE who handed the literature to outstretched hands. He felt good about himself and his mother because he knew we were doing a good thing. He knew it was good because of those green propaganda pushing officials at school. It was a good thing.
Yes, it was hot and yes it stole an hour from our day; but, we felt good about what we had done. We were promoting change in our neighborhood. We were trying to make a difference no matter how small or how big. We were trying to recycle.
Our last mission of the day was to set up a home for our new colored bins. They seemed to occupy an absorbent amount of space in our small galley style kitchen. I looked at the large bins now occupying one quarter of the floor space which were blocking the oven door and for a brief moment I was a bit put off by them. Then, I thought about some of my favorite blogs depicting life in Bundibugyo, Uganda- a place where this is limited electricity, no glass on windows and virtually no running water; then, I smiled. We were lucky to have a kitchen floor, not made of dirt to put our bins on. We were lucky to have a place to live in which our local government not only picks up our garbage, but our recyclable materials as well. We were fortunate. What’s a little lost floor space in relation to fortune?
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