Once our daughter's high school play finished up in the fall, she tried unsuccessfully to get a job. You'd think retail shops would've at least been hiring temporary help in preparation for the holiday season. But, no.

So we decided that instead of looking for a job, her new job would be applying for college scholarships. Ideally, she's devoting around 10 hours a week—the same hours an outside-the-home part-time job would require—applying for scholarships.

Initially we were having her do all the legwork in terms of seeking out scholarships for which she was qualified. We quickly realized, however, this was using up too much of her time. So instead, her father and I became her assistants. It's our job to identify the scholarships. We turn them over to her and it's her job to research and write the essays, fill out the applications and submit them by their respective deadlines.

 While using online searches, and a massive, 2-inch thick book on scholarships available across the country, I've encountered an awful lot of very specific, and er—unique scholarships.

 The other day, after reading one entry, I sighed loudly to my hubs. "Oh darn it, honey. We could have had Ashleigh apply for this scholarship for nudists, but we would have had to have been practicing nudists for at least a year before applying. What a bummer!"

 Without glancing up, he flipped a page of his newspaper and replied, "That's all right. We can join now. Then we'll be in plenty of time for Josh in three years."

 Yup. Great sense of humor, that guy.

 Anyway, in order to save you research time and help plan ahead for those not yet in the market for college scholarships, I thought I'd give you a quick summary of what's out there:
  • Got Milk? Consider the National Dairy Shrine Scholarship. It's for those entering a 4-year university to major in dairy/animal science with a communications emphasis.

  • It's in the cards, especially if you're a high school or college bridge player under the age of 26.

  • Giddyap all you students who have shown achievement with Morgan horses. Not any other kind of horses. Just Morgan horses.

Oh, hey! I think I've actually found one for ya', Ashleigh! It's a scholarship specifically for left-handed people. This is great, it's worth up to $5,000! It—oh, wait. It says you have to be left-handed and attending Juniata College in Pennsylvania. Bummer.

Like I said. Very specific.

Image by: dbdbrobot 

Quote of the Week

Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.

~Nolan Bushnell ~

Image by: Stevendepolo


I had an epiphany this past Sunday night. I finally figured out why my parents gave me an 11:00 p.m. curfew when I was in high school.
Of course, at the time I thought it was SO annoying, and I vowed I'd never do that to my own kids when I had them. Everybody else had later curfews or even better, no curfew, but not me. Nope. I'd have to leave all the fun, head home and tiptoe into our quiet home where my mom would be waiting for me. Sitting up in bed beside my sound-asleep father, leaning against a pillow and reading a book by soft lamplight. I'd always go in to let her know I was home. She'd close her book, kiss me goodnight, turn out the light and go to sleep.

Of course, as a teen, I was completely oblivious to the fact that she'd probably issued a deep sigh of relief the instant she heard my key in the front door, knowing that she'd finally, gratefully, be able to go to sleep. But on Sunday night, as I fought to stay awake awaiting our own daughter's return home, I wondered if maybe my parents had it right all along, establishing such an early curfew.

Our own daughter is… (Dare I put this in writing where she can see it?) ahem, MUCH more mature than I was at the same age. She'll probably always be more mature than me, but that's for another post. And now that she's 18, actually even when she was 17, instead of dictating a curfew to her, her father and I would have her think each situation through for herself. We'd have her go over what was happening the following day, then tell us what time she felt was appropriate to be back home. If she had to be up early for something, she'd make it an earlier evening.

Well, lately, she doesn't have to be up early for anything. So she'll sail out the door saying things like "I'll be back around midnight!" Or 12:30 p.m., sometimes even 1:00 a.m.

Uh…okay, no problem.

Well, it used to be no problem. When I was younger and used to staying out late myself it was no problem. When I wasn't in perimenopause or whatever it is that messes up women's sleep patterns when they're in their forties it was no problem.

Now, there are certain nights where I find myself struggling to keep my eyes open. Fighting to stay awake so I know she's home safe and sound. I don't know if it's an ingrained part of the mommy code, or if it's just because that's what my mom did, but I cannot go to bed until all my baby ducks are safely back in the nest. And it doesn't matter that they're 15 and 18 years old.

Our dog Oreo's dark brown eyes follow my progress back and forth as I pace the floor in my efforts to stay alert. I open the kitchen slider door to breathe in the bracing winter air, perking myself back up. I even reached the point of doing one of the kid's chores, folding the dreaded mountain of ever-ending laundry, just to keep myself moving and awake until she got home.

As much as I'm dreading this upcoming fall, when she heads off on her new college adventure, a teeny tiny part of me is relieved wondering if I'll finally be able to get some sleep. Once she's gone, I won't feel obligated to know where she's at every second. And our son will only be a sophomore, so we'll still get to dictate his curfew for the time being.

Do you think he'll notice the discrepancy if, when he's 17, we tell him he needs to be back home by say…10:00 p.m.? Man, I hope not. Bwa, ha, ha!

Clock image by macinate

Let's Get Physical

When I posted the YouTube video of Miss Kitty a few days ago, it got me thinking about exercise and overall fitness in general. I've been feeling rather frustrated lately. This is due to the fact that I haven't been able to exercise. I mean really exercise, full out, for over three years.

Whenever I share this frustration with my friends, some of them look at me blankly. And others roll their eyes, "Uh, Holly, I'm perfectly happy not exercising. And to have a built-in excuse? Just lovely, thank you very much." But I've exercised in some form or another for as long as I can remember. And beyond the accepted physical benefits, I find that mentally/emotionally, I actually need it.

I've gone through loads of exercise "phases" over the years. As a kid, I studied dance, fencing and judo. During the college years, I tried jogging, jumping rope and weight training. I've taken Jazzercise, kickboxing and step aerobics classes. Worked my way through exercise videos ranging from the ridiculous 20 Minute Workout of the 80's…

to Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos of the 90's.

We even have a home gym complete with weight machine, free weights, elliptical, treadmill, and stationary bike. Yup, as far as exercising options, I'm good to go. Or rather, I was. I'm pretty sure I jinxed myself by thinking something I shouldn't have.

One morning while working out, I clearly remember thinking that if anything ever happened to me physically, I'd always find some way to work out. Yeah, well, little did I know I would soon be eating my words.

It all started over three years ago, when I noticed a pain in my foot. Didn't think anything of it. It grew worse, making it feel as if I was stepping on a boulder when I stood up first thing in the morning. Turned out I had something called plantar fasciitis. I'd never heard of it, but basically it's when the tissue supporting the arch of your foot is being ripped away. I went through two podiatrists, plus about a million dollars in arch supports and different "supportive" shoes. Worst of all, I couldn't do my beloved aerobics, or running anymore.

I resigned myself to the stationary bike. It was boring, but at least I could get my heart rate up. And, I sighed, at least I could still do my weight work.

Uh, yeah. Eating my words again.

Before my foot had healed, I was shoveling landscaping rocks in our backyard one lovely spring day, and I felt a twinge in my shoulder. Ignored it. (Yeah, I know. You'd think I would have learned! But no, I kept going.) And the next thing I knew, I couldn't lift my arm over my head. Turned out I had biceps tendonitis. I went through months and months of physical therapy. And I could no longer do my usual upper body weight routine.

"Well, fine!" I thought. "At least I can still use the stationary bike."

Uh-huh. You guessed it. Eating my words again.

Several months after the shoveling incident, doing nothing more special than sitting at my son's basketball game, I stood up and felt a stabbing pain shoot through my kneecap. I limped around for a week until hubs insisted I see his orthopedic. Turns out I have stupid plica syndrome and stupid chondromalacia patella! More physical therapy. And now I can't even ride the bloomin' stationary bike!

Final diagnosis: no stationary bike, no elliptical, no treadmill. (No aerobics at all really.) And no lower body weight work. Grrr! When I whined to my mom about all this, she said something like, "Well, you are getting to that age… and let her sentence trail off meaningfully.

What the heck? No way!

Forty-seven is NOT old! It's NOT, it's NOT, it's NOT! (See, there's proof! I can throw a 3-year-old tantrum with the best of 'em.) Plus, I'm forcing myself to look at the bright side. At least my bicep muscle doesn't hurt as much anymore. So I've been able to start my upper body weight workout again.

Uh…can you forget I just said that? I have a feeling I shouldn't have said that out loud.

Treadmill image by Sasha W

Miss Kitty

Okay, I've never met this woman. Her name is Miss Kitty and she's a friend, of a friend, of my uncle's. But I'm officially declaring this woman my inspiration. I hope my legs look this good when I'm 94!

Quote of the Week

Photograph © Holly Bowne

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

~ Lao Tsu ~

How Can I Be the Parent of a Legal Adult?

Well, it's January 7th and as those who celebrated Epiphany yesterday can attest, the Christmas season is officially over. Sigh.

I cannot believe our baby girl turned 18 years old over the Christmas holiday. Actually on Christmas. If you haven't heard me mention this before, yes, our oldest daughter was born on Christmas Day.

Of course, she was born nine, long days past her due date. And I kept hoping and praying she would arrive on any day but Christmas. But seriously, what was I thinking? With my name being Holly and my hubby's being Chris, on what other day could she have possibly arrived? (Ha, ha! Good one, God!)

But now, 18 years later, she is a legal adult. Freaky!

For the past 13 days, whenever we ask her to do something, she'll often give an impish grin and respond, "I don't have to do that, I'm 18." Very funny. I know she's only teasing, but still. She is a legal adult. How can I have a child old enough to be a legal adult? I'm barely an adult myself!

When my kids were little, I clearly recall people approaching me, strangers who were parents of older children. The strangers would smile at my little angels who were tormenting me during shopping excursions, or throwing tantrums because I'd pushed our errand-running jaunt a little too long. The strangers would always say something like "enjoy them while they're young like this, time goes by so quickly."

Of course, once the stranger had walked away, I'd roll my eyes and shake my head. Quickly? Were they kidding? It felt like it had taken five whole years for my oldest to reach five years old. Einstein said time is relative and I swear it moved a lot slower back then. But somehow it began to speed up, little by little, without me noticing.

Now, instead of late night feedings, I'm keeping my baby girl company while she does late night physics homework. She's applying to colleges and trying to decide what career path she's going to take. What she's going to do with her life. She's not my baby anymore. She's 18.

Over the holidays, we spent some time watching family movies of the kids when they were little.

"You were sooooo CUTE!" I'd coo, tweaking my 15-year-old son's cheek (much to his dismay).

"Yeah, what happened?" hubs would say, and then laugh heartily at his own joke.

But they were so cute. Of course, they're still cute, but when I think back it seems like it wasn't so very long ago that they were these tiny people chirping at each other in little chipmunk-sounding voices--giggling while they played.

Yesterday, I heard them giggling together like the old days. This was because the 18-year-old had deigned to sit down and play an old beloved X-Box game, Monkeyball, with her baby bro. They were giggling hysterically and to hear them made me feel bittersweet. It's at moments like that when I do miss the old days…

But in all honesty, I love the new days as well. Every stage they've entered has brought some amazing bonuses along with it (some negatives too, but let's focus on the bonuses, shall we.) Now, I'm the mom of two teenagers and one of them is an adult. Wow. I guess all I can do is savor those memories of the past, take a deep breath and throw my arms wide in anticipation. Ready to embrace the future: life as the parent of an adult.

…Eventually two adults, but let's not rush things. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Quote of the Week

Image by mozzercork

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you cannot do."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~