Saturday, May 22, 2010

Petunia Boy

You know you are offspring of the great Petunia Boy (PB) if you have trimmed arborvitaes at midnight with the aid of the a head lamp, planted 200 box woods a few hours before Prom, spent spring break laying sawed, or planting any of the 6,000 tulips bulbs buried on the Smart property. PB’s was once quoted as saying, “the only reason I had children is so that I could have Yard Slaves”. And he lived by this philosophy. Saturday morning at the Smart household started early and finished with headlamps, sweat, blood, and some tears—and PB loved every moment of it. PB comes from a long line of garden slave drivers including Gma Phyl (who still comes to our house and manages to pick trash bags full of weeds before everyone else even gets out of bed) and Gma Pyper who rumor has it managed to get rid of her back lawn to make more room for her flower beds. As a result of forced yard slave labor, one does not claim Petunia Boy as a parent unless they have some sort of interest in horticulture.

Because of this, it has always been my dream to go to Holland during the tulip season. When my recent work trip routed my through the Netherlands right during tulip season, I decided to take some time to see my favorite flowers. I only had a day and a half but I made the most of it. I signed up for a tour and as luck would have it I was the only person who didn’t qualify for a senior citizen discount. I did however meet some nice elderly peeps including a couple from Portland and a Brazilian woman that spoke no English and thought if she kept speaking to me in Portuguese I would eventually understand her. The flowers were seriously incredible! I took over one hundred pictures. There weren’t only tulips but lots of other flowers and they even had a lily exhibit with lilies the size of my head

I also was able to see the house where Anne Frank and her family lived for 2 years hidden until they were found and taken to
concentration camps. This is the secret passageway that was normally hidden behind a bookcase.

Thanks to the volcanic ash, I was also able to see the Van Gough museum, take a jog along the Amster River, and visit the Bag and Purse Museum. A museum dedicated to history of purses and bags and yes it was as amazing as it sounds. It was next to the Rembrandt Museum and I only had time for one—don’t judge. It was the only time I felt a desire to steal something from a museum—they had the most incredible purses which I would have loved to add to my collection.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Can You Say ASB President?!

Darel has often felt that she lives in the shadow of her older siblings. I have told her that her motto needs to be "Best for Last" and that only one of my children was "blessed" with my name. At that reminder, she usually grumbles something unintelligible, but I suspect has something to do with those great existential questions, "Where did I come from?" and "How do I get the heck outta here?" Her siblings have all been good students, involved in athletics and student government. She feels the pressure, and worries that she somehow does not quite measure up. In an effort to set herself apart, she decided to run for ASB President--something none of her siblings dared to attempt. I was just proud of her for having the courage to run. It's hard to run and then not win. She was Speaker of the House in ASB this year and did a fabulous job. The faculty advisor for ASB repeatedly told us how hard Darel was working in ASB. Despite a very demanding academic schedule, she has found the time to be a great student leader.
As you might have suspected, I generously volunteered to be her campaign manager. I was sorely disappointed when she turned this offer down. I explained that, although I had never been popular enough to run for school office, that I was keenly interested in politics and would assemble an impressive campaign machine and quickly have the troops marshalled for "Team Smart." She simple cringed and said, "Thanks, but no thanks Dad. I want to win." I have no idea what she meant by that last comment, since I was entirely confident that I could deliver the biggest ASB prize to her doorstep. Instead she worked with Brandon Chin (who incidentally deserves a post or two himself), a friend of hers who was running for ASB Vice President. They worked hard and created some most excellent posters, including the ever favorite, although somewhat trite, "Be Smart, Vote Smart."

It was a long hard two week campaign, that ended with a painfully protracted 2-day delayed announcement of the winner. In the end, Lil D prevailed and is so excited about being WVHS' ASB President. The evening following the announcement, I asked her to do the dishes. She saucily replied, "Does the ASB President have to do the dishes?" I reminded her that I didn't vote for her, that her jurisdiction as ASB President ends when she exits the doors of WVHS and that because of that particular remark, that she would be helping me in the garden on Saturday.

Actually, Lil D is very humble and is nice to everyone. And we really like her friends. They are respectful and excellent students. She was so excited that her best friends who were running for ASB positions (Jordana and Brandon) also won. We are proud of her and know she will be an excellent ASB President. Congratulations Lil D!!!

Above are a couple of pics of Lil D and Jordana from Prom.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For a good time...Call CJ!

OK, so I know I'm way late on this post, but I just have to recap on my fun East Coast trip taken by myself. To illustrate: I was alone, completely by myself--without children, without strollers, without diapers, without drool, without spit up, without goobers--you get the point.
First, I flew to Boston to attend the wedding of two of my very good friends. It was without a doubt the snazziest wedding I've ever attended. It was on the 38th floor of the Downtown Harvard Club. My only regret is that I wish I had had Brent with me that night. He insisted that I go alone so I could add on the most fun part of my trip--livin' the crazy DC life with Chels!

Time with Chels never disappoints! She has friends in high places (the press secretary for Senator Risch from Idaho) who was able to give us a private Capitol tour. It pays to be a VIP, or at least to be related to one or at least to have a relation who rubs shoulders with them. However distantly, I felt like a VIP for a day.

Here I am, placing my foot in the very center of the Capitol which also happens to be the center of the District of Columbia. We were told rubbing your foot there brings good luck. I think I walked over it a few "extra" times just in case.

And here we are next to my favorite statue in the Capitol Rotunda. It has 3 key suffragettes carved in marble: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott. Behind the women, there is a blank mound of marble. No one is sure if it will always be left faceless or if someday the first woman president will be carved here. Personally, I hope it's always left blank as a symbol for all women but what do I know?

We hit a few other hotspots: some of my personal favs and others were things I'd missed on my previous trips to DC. It was all around fun for someone as history-nerdy as me. I could wander around that whole city for days all by myself. But I did miss Brent and the kids horribly--more than I ever anticipated and was really, really glad to see them all again.

And I can't end my post without a "Shout Out" to Chels and her roomies who are the most popular girls in all of DC. Did you know that they had 90 people attend their housewarming party a few weeks ago? 90 PEOPLE!!! Seriously, do I even know 90 people?
Love to you ladies! Thanks for being so fun (and so popular)! I think your popularity might have rubbed off on me--at least for the weekend!