More Than a Minivan Mom and I go back over ten years; long before she was "famous" in the blog world. I love her dearly not just what she writes but how honest she is to herself, her friends and family. She puts it all out there - thoughts, feelings, rants, commentary - some good and some bad, politically correct or not. I envy how she says what she means and means what she says. I certainly don't agree with what she says all the time but I love to read what is on her mind. I respect her opinions and always give pause to consider things from her side before discounting it with my own.
I am her sideline cheerleader and stand amazed at all she has accomplished and is still doing. She is one of the few great teachers who still care about the kids and getting the most out of them. I wish she were here teaching and not Dallas because I know my kids would learn a lot from her. So, suffice it to say that when she announced that she was doing the Happiness Project and I decided to have a wack at it as well. I'm hoping I'll find out more things to appreciate about my life than I already do.
10 things I like about where I live...
10. Location, location, location - I have it made living in Richmond. I am two hours from the mountains, two hours from the ocean and two hours from DC. We are the halfway point between New England and Florida and with that we get to have all four seasons.
9. History - Virginia is packed with history. As is typical of people who live in such places, I don't appreciate the heritage and history as much as I should. I haven't visited all the battlegrounds or historical wonders but it is a bit thrilling living in the Capital of the Confederate.
8. Food - We have some great restaurants in Richmond and the surrounding area. I grew up on the southern cuisine and enjoy it every chance I get although I prefer to cook it myself. A few of my favorite restaurants are Croaker Spot, Poe's Pub, The Tobacco Company, The Jefferson Hotel, and The Halfway House.
7. Schools - We live where we do for the school system. It is one of the best in the state. Although I'm not happy with how most educational systems have gone to a system of standardized testing/teaching our kids do still have options for their education. Virginia is also home to some great schools of higher education. Virginia Tech, JMU, William & Mary, VCU, UVA, VUU, VSU, etc.
6. Quality of life - We are not the metropolis of Dallas, don't have the NY thing going on and thankfully not as congested as Atlanta. Here in Richmond we have a pace that suits us. We enjoy a slow, easy summer and a fall full of tradition - football, tailgating, turning of the leaves, bonfires and apple cider. I live in the suburbs and work in the city. My mom lives on a farm and the kids get to run and have fun although not as often or quite the same way as I did but they get a taste of it.
5. Shopping - Outlets, outlets, outlets and now we have Saks, Nordstrom, etc. If I loved shopping, which I don't, unless I have the money, I'd have plenty to choose from no matter what direction I headed in. Unfortunately for my friends and family shopping for me consists largely of Walmart. My home away from home! Gap, Old Navy and JC Penney have become regulars in my wardrobe as well.
4. Opportunity - We are up and coming. Several major companies have relocated their headquarters here although others have departed but I think that we have a bright future and more opportunity to come.
3. Sports & Recreation - We have hockey (maybe), baseball is back (yahoo!), football - arena & the Redskins (boo), basketball (college), soccer and Nascar racing!!! - love that sound of the engines starting and the feeling of sitting in the stands and being a part of the action. Not to mention horse racing, theme parks (Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens), skiing, horseback riding, parks, etc.
2. Culture - There is much culture in Virginia if you can get past the confederate flag, which I have no ill will towards. We have the people of the eastern shore, the farmers, the mountaineers and the gentile southerners who love every one as long as they mind their manners. We have Monument Avenue with our confederate icons but Arthur Ashe crashed that party a few years ago, Shockoe Bottom, Oregon Hill, Jackson Ward and Charlottesville (home of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello).
1. Family & friends - this is home. I was born in New York but my formative years were spent here. The majority of my family lives here and although I've left, the longing for home drew me back. I couldn't imagine not being close enough to them that I couldn't make it in a couple of hours but far enough away that they aren't crowding my life. There isn't anywhere that one can go in this state where you won't run into an old friend of a friend if you were born and/or raised here.