Monday, October 24, 2011

I Do Math in This Post

While I should be working on a short story that's due for class tomorrow, I'm looking at houses for sale online, stalking my friends on Facebook and planning my graduation. I'm so productive. But seriously, school+work=no time for blogging. Or maybe I'm just lazy. You can figure that out, though. Maybe someday soon I'll be able to do a proper post again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A moment That Changed Me

Do you ever have those moments where complete strangers can touch your heart, without even speaking to you? Yesterday I had one of those moments and I haven't been able to stop thinking about how deeply one particular family has affected my outlook. One of my many jobs at the moment is at a theme park. One of my favorite aspects of this job is being able to connect with a wide range of people on such a human level. Now, this connection usually happens by speaking with people about the world and how we all share it. But yesterday didn't even take words.

I've always admired the strength of parents and family who raise special needs children and care for their children long term, even into adulthood. And although I commend these parents from afar, we rarely seem to cross paths. Yesterday, as I was walking around the sea lion and seal exhibit discussing the animals with guests, I was stopped by the image of what initially looked like the perfect, all-American family. A salt and pepper dad wearing a comfortable polo shirt and a caring smile walked beside his wife, a trim, dark-haired woman with warm features and a gentle strand of pearls around her neck. The wife carried a tray of fish to feed the animals while the husband pushed their teenage son around in a wheelchair. The child, soon-to-be man, was a smiling boy with an arched back and a summery buzz haircut. For a moment I thought he almost looked out of place in this otherwise perfect family, until I saw his father help him out of the wheelchair and the boy slowly walked to the wall. The polo-clad man handed his son the tray of fish, and placed a hand on his back, just as a father would after a baseball game. The mother looked on as she directed a camera at the duo, smiling all the while, looking at her son the same way that my mother looked at me during my high school graduation. The son was so excited as he tossed each fish in. His joy was passed onto each of his parents as they watched their child in this small moment of accomplishment. As the family was caught in this moment of pure joy, I was entranced. My sunglasses definitely came in handy, as a single tear slid down my cheek. They looked so happy. So unbelievably, genuinely happy. I looked around at the other kids his age, captivated by their cell-phones and ipods, largely disconnected from their families, and felt a sense of longing and admiration for this family that displayed so much love. The world describes raising a special needs child as challenge; a feat only to be tackled by people with enough time and patience for the task at hand. Some people even think of it as a curse, asking "why me, God?" or "poor thing." But it's not. Having a family with that much love is a blessing that can only come from the appreciation of knowing how fine a treasure life is. The joy that this family emitted serves as a model after which I hope to someday build my own family after, and a powerful a reminder of the amazing impact we all have on each other, whether we realize it or not.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Decorative Jewelry

When Baba Sanfour and I moved in together after getting married, our apartment looked pretty ridiculous. We're talking a blank-walled bachelor pad with a futon in front of a wire wrack holding the TV. No coffee table, no dining table, nothing. It took us a while to collect enough furniture to transform our apartment into a home, but after exhausting yard sales and craigslist we were finally able to fill our place with furniture and move on to the best part of domesticity — decorating! Over the past two years I've been searching through thrift stores for items to decorate with. Finding inexpensive and creative solutions to decorating has been really fun. I've turned wedding cards into artwork, scrapbook paper into dining area wall art and an old bowl into a potpourri pot. I'm thrilled with my latest project, which simplified my jewelry collection as well as brought life and color to the walls of our bedroom. I got the idea here and am thrilled with the results.

I purchased a collection of frames from a local thrift store for about a dollar each and got a pad of scrapbook paper on sale at a craft store. After sanding and priming the frames I painted them gold and cut the paper to fit and fastened cabinet knobs that I had purchased at the hardware store. For the earring and hair accessory frames I simply attached ribbon across the paper before mounting the frames. If I were to do it over again, I'd buy larger frames to make sure all of the pieces fit nicely in the border, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Baba Sanfour even wanted to put the display in the living room.

Now, before you decide to break into my humble abode and steal all my well-displayed jewelry, just remember that it almost exclusively comes from the clearance section at Target. But seriously, this storage-solution wall art has been really helpful. I rarely wear jewelry simply because in my haste to get out the door I forget. But having everything in front of me has made it so much easier to just grab and go. I even rediscovered some long lost and forgotten necklaces! So, what diy projects have you done to improve your home?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Father's Daughter

Well, I've neglected my blog long enough and after fighting with myself over whether or not to keep writing or just give it up, I've come to a conclusion. I really enjoy it, but without much of a following, I wasn't sure if it was worth the effort. I've decided that it is quite worth the effort, even if no one reads it. Writing can be therapeutic for many people, and sending my thoughts out into the universe via blogger not only helps me stay connected with my writing, but also the inner workings of myself as they relate to the daily events of my life.

Now, back to the blogging. My last post gave a little teaser about a mysterious trip. In May I went to the small Caribbean island of Grenada with my sister. I hope to recap that trip in a future post or two, but for now I want to write about something a bit more pressing on my heart. Last night as Baba Sanfour and I were driving home from eating out, we passed by an abandoned building that had once housed a "Ride the movies" attraction. For some reason this figure of the past took me back to a family trip to Tennessee in which we participated in a similar tourist trap. At the age of eight or nine it was wonderful, and I'm pretty sure the rest of the family loved it too - especially my dad. My father died when I was sixteen and I've come to terms with the events that led to his death and become a better person because of it. While I think of him in passing at least once a day, every now and again I get awfully nostalgic and can't help but feel as though a mocking bird is flittering in my heart, reminding me of the words that went unsaid during his life. As we drove past the old interactive theatre, the bird rose again and brought tears to my eyes, leaving Baba Sanfour more confused than normal at my feminine outbursts.

Today I thought of my father again and for some strange reason decided to look for his obituary online. After several Google searches I was left fruitless and distraught at the thought that my father was gone. Not just gone from the world, but gone from memory. After my mom, brothers, cousins and I are gone, my father will forever be just another man who walked the Earth. No one will remember him. No one will read his name and know what he did, or what he liked or where he went. It pains me to know that I can't ask him what he thinks, but it hurt me even more to know that the world will never know. The internet has become such an integral part of our lives that we almost expect to be able to learn about people by simply typing in a name. It scares me to think that my father is recollected only in the memory of our family.

But this recollection has inspired me in a new way. I want my father to live. Just like Simba learned in The Lion King, my father will live in me. I want people to know my father, the good and the bad, through me. I carry the baggage of a dysfunctional paternal relationship and my journey to overcome it and find peace with it everywhere I go. As I unpack the folded memories of deceit, treachery, fear, and love I learn more about myself and my father. I literally am a part of him and he is a part of me. And while his name may not produce anything of worth on a Google search, I carry it with a full heart and hope to fulfill the dreams that he helped to nourish. I remember Patrick Joseph Deveney. I am his legacy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I'm sitting in the airport awaiting my flight to a mystery destination. Well, it's not so much a mystery to me, or anyone really close to me. Any guesses?

After the semester ended Baba Sanfour and I made the trek up to Georgia to visit my family and spend mother's day with my mom. While we were there, Baba Sanfour attempted to start the dryer while I was out with a friend. I neglected to tell him, however, that the knob to start the dryer has a bit of a trick to it, as it broke a couple years back.

*ring ring ring* my phone sang to me, pleading for an answer.


"Honey, The dryer is not working. Did I break it?"

"Oh, no. I forgot to tell you that it's broken. Just push it in and turn it to the right. You might have to twist it a few times. There's kind of a trick to it"

"I don't understand. Why didn't you tell me it's broken? Did I break it? I'm confused!"

"No, no. It's alright. Go ask Lucas (little brother) to help you. Im sure he knows how to do it."

"OK, bye."

*Ring Ring Ring*


"It's broken! It's broken!"

"Don't worry about it, Honey. I will start it when I get home. Did you ask Lucas?"

"Yes, he doesn't know. The thing went inside the dryer. It's broken!"

"Ok, I'll look at it when I get home."

"I broke it, You're mom's gonna be mad at me!"

"No, she won't. I promise. I will call you when I'm on my way home."

"Ok, I love you."

*Ring Ring Ring*


"Are you on your way home? When are you coming home? You have to fix it."

"Just try and twist the thing."

"No, no, it's broken. I need to call someone to fix it before your mom gets home!"

"Honey, it's okay. Just don't worry about it. We will hang the clothes to dry them when I get home."

"You have to come fix it."

"Alright, I will be back soon."

"Okay, see you then. Bye."

*Ring Ring Ring*


"You have to come home. We have to fix it."

"Alright, alright, I'm coming"

"Thanks, bye. Love you."

"Love you too."

I got home to find an array of screw drivers and and other tools atop the decapitated robot that was the dryer, along with a husband distraught by the broken pieces of the machine. Lesson learned. Maybe we're not ready for our own house yet. We are way too comfortable with the maintenance staff at our apartment complex.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Traveling Through Morocco

A friend of mine posted a video from this family on their facebook page, and I thought I'd share one of my favorites. They have a collection of videos on their world travels and a complete set on Morocco. I'm fascinated and just might start falling even further behind on my homework as I get through all these videos. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You're Gonna Miss This

Lately I've had a bad case of what I like to call house and career fever. Baba Sanfour and I live in a one-bedroom apartment and are both working in retail while I'm in school and it's been getting to me lately. Most days I just want to fast forward to a few years from now when I'm out of school, no longer working long nights and weekend shifts and have more living space and a kitchen big enough for two people to comfortably stand in. I know Oprah's always telling me to live in the present (and I know I talk about Oprah like she's my best friend, but that's OK), but sometimes I just want to be a different place. That is, until I look back to the past and remember how badly I wanted to move forward, only to wish I could revisit those moments.

Tonight as I was doing some spring cleaning, I heard a message that I really needed. I almost always play music while I'm doing housework and as I was loading the washing machine, I heard the Trace Adkins song, "You're Gonna Miss This" playing in the background and I had to stop what I was doing, just to look around at our small apartment and smile. The furniture that we've collected from craigslist, the curtains that we constantly battle with, and the even the tiny galley kitchen where we cook our meals are so precious. I look back at my own childhood often and think about the house that my family grew up in and picture my family when we were whole. It was before we had all grown up. When my dad was alive and before any of us had even thought of marriage. It was modest and cramped, but it holds so many family treasures that it's priceless in my mind. I miss those times and I'm sure that my mom does even more. I'm in a place that she was in so many years ago, before she ever imagined how far life would take her three children and husband. Starting a new life with my husband has been a challenge, but one of the most rewarding difficulties that I've ever faced. I look back fondly at my family and look forward to what's to come. But between those two places, I'm perfectly happy with where we are now. Late work nights, homework and all. I know that someday soon I'm gonna miss this.