For the record (the early years)

It’s true. People search the web for information on people like wild animals forage for food. I’m actually not kidding!

It’s a proven theory from the 70’s – and everyone knows we got a lot of good things in the 70’s, right? The optimal foraging theory is based on the assumption that, when searching for information, humans use “built-in” foraging mechanisms that evolved to help our animal ancestors find food. Why is this important? Well, if you understand the behavior, you can normally feed them what you want them to “find”. I. Love. This.

So, here goes – blogging about the blogger. I blog for a lot of people and companies and I love it.  I facebook, I tweet, use Voxer, Myspace, LinkedIn and just about everything in between. Most of these profiles are locked down like Ft. Knox on visitation day, so I thought instead of others assuming what they know to be true – everyone can just read, learn and enjoy the things that make me – me, or not.

This blog is probably most importantly for my children. They are amazing kids, probably better than any I have ever known – and better people than I deserve to call mine. I scrapbook their stories so that the world and they – will know how wanted they are and how loved they will always be. They are both so unique and there is no way I can say all I would need them to know on this one post, so I’ve added their own categories and will post about and to them there.

What would I give to have a book or blog of thoughts that my own father or grandfather wrote? Probably a right arm. (note to my mother: start now, you can write it on regular paper, no need to blog). I have possession of one I spent the weekend writing with my maternal grandmother, all about her life and memories- and it’s amazing.

So – what do bloggers not do well? Write about themselves. Specifically I mean.  Some of these things you will already know (skip em). Some of them you won’t and some of them will probably make you a little uncomfortable. All of the information is my recollection and some of you may not agree with all it’s contents- it’s okay. Really.

To start – I am the baby of the family. Babies of the family are the natural leaders – right? No.  Dear ordinal position theory, you stink! I do not fit this model, some might say.  I am so glad that it was required Early Childhood Ed reading – it slowed me down I tell you! I didn’t fit any of those there-in. Don’t get me wrong, I love being the baby of the family – and could not imagine it any other way. My only sister was  nearly 10 when I was born which means, I basically had two mothers. This did not harm me in any way. I have always wanted to be like her and will never even come close to being as smart as her – but it’s a pretty good goal. I’ll keep trying.

I have brothers. That alone should be a complete paragraph. I spent most of my    primary school years being asked if I was the “Woodard boys” little sister. I did not  deny this fact (read, actually lie), however -I did craft a “Sandi is my older sister”  answer and found this generally more advantageous. Now, if it were other kids asking that question – specifically of the bullying type – you can betcha that’s exactly who I was.  They have beat my butt, clothes lined me on a bicycle, unscrewed the bolts to my bike tires then dared me to ride DOWN Dayton Hill (ER visit), insisted that they could only learn how to pitch a fast ball if I was their target on the cement wall outside,  and they convinced me that soaping the windows of the catholic church across the street was a rite of passage on Cabbage night (they totally lied) and this is just the first 8 years of my life. But you know what? They also cleated the kid who “whacked me out cold” with a baseball bat (ER visit), hung a kid over a bridge (they still deny) because he wasn’t nice to me, and most notably are very good men, gainfully employed and have served our country extremely well (so they have saved your ass too). They would come to me no matter where I am if I called them. No questions asked.

Recently, I was asked if I ever misbehaved (as a child, please). I guess the logical answer would be yes, because I have been disobedient – but never twice about the same thing. Being a good little sister means you take copious notes and learn from their, plus your mistakes.  I think that very quality made me somewhat invisible (re-read paragraph above) if you don’t understand.  I do recall very clearly knowing that everyone was looking for me at Lake Bomoseen, Vt. (age 3 maybe?) and staying quietly in the floorboards of my fathers Thunderbird while everyone looked for me.  I was playing with one of those clicky-type torque wrenches. I only came out when I heard my sister’s voice in that panicked “oh my God I think she’s drowned in the lake kinda voice”. That was bad.

My siblings and I have “matching cousins” – in the early days, it meant our mothers     matched our clothes (Dutch Maid clothes, seriously). Growing up it meant you always has a cousin in your class, and graduating class. We were then and remain now, very close. We are more like siblings, although our mothers to this day deny they did this on purpose. In regards to this extended family, I am not the baby – that would be Duane (my matching cousin). I have many stories that could be told. But,  one of the best was when he and his friends (John Iffland &Bill Humphries) thought they had the perfect plan and would “handcuff” me to the woodpile. Idiots! I stood very still and let them do it. All smart girls know that wood piles move.  So, being boys – they celebrated a short lived victory and went off to play war somewhere else. I un-handcuffed myself, then broke those handcuffs so they couldn’t really learn how to use them later – and then beat their butts. All three of them. One of the greatest Uncle’s ever (Pastor Bob Flower) could not stop laughing long enough to discipline anyone.  Post note: Bill is now a cop, so I hope he has mastered better use of handcuffs. Now that is just hysterical!

Yesterday I drove to Alabama to attend the celebration of life service for a dear friend’s father. What does this have to do with my cousins? At the end of the ceremony – at Mr. Grimes request we all sang “I’ll fly away”.  One of the best things about living in the South is that every person there knew every word of that song. It immediately took me back to a day in a small church in Vermont where my Uncle was preaching. With all my heart, I was singing this song thinking that the verse was “I’ll fly away, oh Lori”. My matching cousins laughed and told me how dumb I was. The greatest Angel God ever let our family borrow (the preachers wife, and my Aunt Pat) told me I could sing that song exactly that way, and she preferred that version herself. . A little nudge from your northern family. God sees me here too – in the South.

My parents have told me that in my lifetime I will only be able to count my true blue friends on one hand. I didn’t like this. I thought then that they were wrong, but life lessons have made me realize that their number is probably more accurate. I know this doesn’t sound real positive. But think about the people around you – would they ever be there for you – just and only for you – if there wasn’t something in it for them? Just be real for a minute. I think too many people are tuned into the WIIFM channel (whats’ in it for me).  I am blessed with a lot of friends and when I was really young – most were  girls. They are people with whom I couldn’t live without and I am still in contact  with today.  For this I am ever so grateful. But, the truth is – I think I am better suited to be a guys friend. Not many women have the capacity to do nor accept this. I have the same male best friend since middle school.  I’m not talking about “good” friends,  I’m talking about “take-a-bullet-for-you-kinda-friend-even-though-they-aren’t-related”.  Now, his wives (yes,plural, but not at one time) have not always loved this fact (refer to most women are not capable of this) – but if they hang around long enough to really know us – the fact that we are inseparable is evident. We don’t get to see each other often, but when we do – it’s like we never missed a day. He is close by (2 hours drive to your bff!) and he is one of the best friends a girl could ever have. He is newly engaged and I am praying this is his forever wife. He deserves someone who accepts him for him, and not for what he

can do for them.  He is also a firefighter, which means I worry about him – a lot. When we retire, we’re going to live in a box (if we have to) and go to every home New York Yankee game. If we can afford it, we’ll travel with the team. Trust us with it Lord, we’ll do good!  My TN best friend &  I have known each other about 3 years or so. He pushes me to be a better me (not a different me). He doesn’t spend a lot of time telling me what I want to hear – but what I need to hear – which is usually more outside of my comfort zone.   They get me. They talk like me. They are not offended by me. We say things the others don’t like sometimes, but as quickly as we say it and don’t like it, we forget about it. We do not keep score and remain bitter.   Strange to meet someone and in very short time and become forever friends, no matter what. He’s a police officer – so I’m sure you can see the pattern – more worrying. These guys help me keep myself in check,  but more importantly I have never heard a thing I told them come back to haunt me.

I did the usual things graduated, got married, traveled world-wide with the Unites States Air Force, graduated some more, had 2 children and never intended once to be divorced and be a single mother.  Never could have imagined that in a million years.

Post divorce  I moved to the South, where I have met a lot of wonderfully smart God loving people. I think one of the things that southerners do better than northerners is fellowship – with everyone.  Now, this is not the best place for a girl who can not tolerate many foods – specifically comfort type foods, but I love it here. If I could only get my family to move here. I digress, I think this is the one place I have lived that I have met and loved so many others. I do seem to be a bit of a wanderer, but I could never leave this place not irrevocably changed (and yes, there are places I lived that didn’t have much impact on me…cough Clovis, NM cough). There are families here that have adopted me or me them – and they deserve posts all of their owns too.

It’s hard to describe what makes me me without talking about my parents. I have the best parents for me – and better than most out there. My mother is the one singular role model I could attempt to emulate, but probably will never come close to her qualities. She is still the glue that keeps all of this crazy family together.  My father was an incredibly smart man, probably one of the smartest I’ll ever know. He could fix anything, and had few words – but always great advice. Unfortunately had a disease called alcoholism. He wanted nothing more than to beat this – and one that he tried to overcome, but eventually paid the ultimate price for. He passed away at just 56, and did not live to see us become what we are, nor meet many of his grandchildren – and none of his great grandchildren.

Other than what you read above – things that I love are – traveling -anywhere. The New York Yankees – and most specifically #2. I am not just a baseball fan, I love the strategy of it all. My second sport love would be Football. Again, not a normal thing – I am not as die hard to one specific team – but I think Tom Brady #12, NE Patriots makes the NFL look as easy and normal as back yard football. I am an avid reader and can not imagine not having a good book or e-reader near-by.

So, you’ve read about the early years. (with some great Mom, Dad & career stories to come)
Be sure to subscribe.Until next time  ~ LLW