Aug. 31st, 2016

My tweets

Aug. 31st, 2016 12:00 pm
hillarygayle: (Default)


Aug. 31st, 2016 01:21 pm
hillarygayle: (Agent Happy)
Yesterday I mentioned my memory device for remembering the name of the drug adenosine. Those of you who aren't from the south may have a hard time hearing how that memory device would've worked, so I took a video of myself explaining the whole thing. :D

hillarygayle: (Hillary Red Polka Dots)
Between being told I've held interesting jobs (hi, [ profile] spikesgirl58!) and making a list of things I've experienced that I don't think are common, it occurs to me that some of you might be interested to know what my family does and is like.

From the time I was born (1979) until I was about 10, my parents were farmers. Both were children of rural farmers here in Arkansas, where we grow cotton, soybeans, and in very specific areas of the state, rice. I grew up on a farm, and most of the fields around me were planted with rice & soybeans (sometimes corn, but not much). On the other side of Crowley's Ridge, where the soil is sandy, other folks grew cotton. When I say "rice field," we are talking about single fields of several hundred acres. Because of this, I grew up with massive tractors as playground equipment, and I know what kind of dirt makes the best mud. ;) We actually figured out on our own how to mix grass into clay to make decently strong bricks. I would actually be pretty handy to have in an apocalypse, for that and various other reasons! Also on this farm lived my dad's parents, Grandpa Hoyt & Grandma Wanda.

Side note: Hoyt & Wanda also had an older son, my uncle Aaron. Aaron is married to Ginger...who is my mom's sister! So a set of sisters is married to a set of brothers. This is either very easy to explain to strangers (i.e. "hey my grandparents were like that!") or very, very difficult (i.e. "...oh my gawd. Are you inbred?" and I have literally had to DRAW A DIAGRAM to prove that I wasn't). Their sons may as well be my other 2 brothers; I don't think of them differently from my own siblings at all. This goes a little toward explaining why, when I say "my immediate family" I am talking about 14 people...not including the youngest generation. That's my parents, my aunt & uncle, my 2 siblings and I, my 2 double-cousins, and all of the siblings/cousins spouses.

My dad never really loved farming. When I was 10, what had long been a pie-in-the-sky dream for him became a reality, and my family opened their own business. It was called the Wood Knot Shop, and they sold unfinished furniture. This sounds weird until you know that my dad has always had an incredible talent for finishing wood: whether it means plain, bare finishing, technique finishes like antiquing & distressing, or stunning faux finishes that make the wood look like another substance entirely. My mom is naturally extremely artistic, and together, they figured out how to make this happen on furniture. They were the only people in the market doing this, and everyone who lived in this town at that point knows someone who had work done by my parents. My aunt & uncle held regular jobs (my uncle was a firefighter & paramedic--worked his way up from driver to chief in his career before he retired), but also worked in the store as sales, as did my Grandma. Papa Hoyt farmed until aplastic anemia got the better of him & he retired.

After about 10 years, it became clear that the furniture store was becoming the side business, and doing interior custom finishing work (on kitchen cabinets, fireplaces, etc) was what the market wanted, and what my dad preferred doing anyway.  They sold the furniture store itself and became John Keller Custom Finishing. They do custom builds if someone needs something an odd shape or size. They match new work to existing. Some of the before & after photos on their website are amazingly dramatic. My aunt & uncle, both retired now, work with them part time. They all think outside the box to come up with the most unexpected, creative solutions and designs to things. If you are stuck on a deserted island, these are the people you want with you. If they can't built a boat to get you away from the island, at least you'll be living in a bamboo mansion which somehow has running water and ceiling fans.

So, when I talk about Redwood House, and say that we need to drastically remodel a kitchen, remove a wall, build a kitchen island, reroute the plumbing, and paint the living room, and I say it like it's no big deal--this is why! I was literally born into an interior design crew! I have never lived in a house with plain, white walls. When I went to college, my dorm room had custom over-the-desk shelving that my dad built to better utilize the space. My current kitchen is probably a $10,000 remodel...and all we paid for were the materials. I intend to TRY to pay them for their labor in the Redwood House, but they're not gonna take it. e_e It's not all perfect; they love what they do, but they dislike the uncertain nature of owning your own small business. As I grew up, they always told me "Don't work for yourself. You can never leave work if you do."

So there you have it! What my parents do for a living, and how that's had a bigger impact on my life than you'd think!


hillarygayle: (Default)

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