Friday, May 23, 2008

Be Still My Heart

Big plans cooking for this weekend -

Bea and I are headed over to Ms. Q's for a Girl's Weekend of playing, sans men and children. Well, actually, I hear Senator Kennedy* is supposed to drop by for drinks on Saturday, so there will be one man.

I'm kind of excited about Senator Kennedy's* visit, since I have sort of a thing for him. I know he's married - so am I, for that matter. But a girl can dream, can't she?

I'm all busted up about the brain tumor - he's never going to take me to Chappaquiddick now.

Pictures to follow, as soon as we sober up!

* The Senator is Ms. Q's extremely handsome and witty older brother, who as he ages, looks more and more like a Kennedy. "Not like when he was fat and on drugs" - Bobcat Goldthwait, "Burglar"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who Needs Cable?

The weather yesterday was a' moving and a' shaking.

Shortly after the boys and I came home from school the sky began to darken considerably and the wind died completely down. When we checked the weather report on TV we saw that not only was there a severe thunderstorm on its way, but that a tornado had been sighted nearby as well. We sprang into action; the boys brought our nine head of cat into the house, while I battened down the windows.

It was actually rather anticlimactic. After hunkering in the hallway for about ten minutes, I went out to see where the storm was. Evidently it skirted our area and we only had a smattering of hail. But Bea wasn't as lucky. she pulled up in my driveway at that moment, exclaiming, "Jaysus H. Key-rist! I've never been so happy to be home!" Driving home from work, she had been right in the middle of the golf ball sized hail. She heard on the radio that we had a tornado in town, but she couldn't see anything other than torrential rain and the incessant ponging of hail on her seemingly frail little Toyota. It was at that point she was forcibly reminded of the movie "Twister" we had just watched last week - the part where they know the tornado is upon them but they can't see it. Oh yeah, she was having one of those never-ending high blood pressure moments.

She headed home and shortly afterwards, the Hubinator rolled in. He had come from the other side of the storm and driven through pretty much the same cats, dogs, and hail thing as Bea. He was surprised to see it hadn't done much here at the abode, although we did find evidence of some hail in the yard, and Bea had said the ground was covered in hail just three blocks north of us.

Whew! Did I mention how grateful I am it passed us by? Back in September we had a tornado come right down the street. It passed withing 30 feet of our house, ripping up almost a dozen trees in our immediate vicinity. That was too damn close. The kids and I hunkered in the hall, and the poor Bohemian, who I had pulled out of the shower, was only wearing a hand towel as we huddled together. Afterwards, I went out to try and assess the damage and clear the driveway for the man. As I was clearing the debris, something brushed the back of my head. Not thinking, I reached, and grabbed a power line of some kind. I looked at it in my hand and screamed like one of those stupid girls in a horror film, never letting go of the line. Kids - don't try this at home. Luckily for my Doofoid self, it was just a TV cable line, but what a classic scary movie scene it was - me out there screaming. I tell you - I'm dull bulb at times.
So we only got a nice soaking and a bit of drama, which is just dandy with this girl.

And the sunset was amazing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crazy-assed, Cyclical Whirlings of My Brain

How can I feel so blah, so (dare I say it?) depressed?

Spring is here - school is almost over - family life has been on a fairly even keel for a while now - I even have a Girls' Weekend coming up.

What the hell is my problem?

I think I worry too much (Oh, and thanks for that legacy, Dad!)We've planned a few vacations for the summer, and the planning of them makes me anxious.

*Note - Please don't offer me platitudes - I'm a Solution Person - I always find a way to fix the situation, but sometimes it has to stew first.

The first vacation - a trip up to PA has actually been resolved, so I can stop worrying about it. The whole not having a reservation and/or a paper trail to show for our down payment was making me squirrelly, but the renters have finally gotten their fecal matter together and now I can just obsess on what to pack.

Again - don't try to make me feel better - have you read the title of this blog recently? That would be me, the tapdancer. Its all part of my stage act, see?

The second vacation - OY! Let's just say that my mother is the one who thinks she planning that trip, and that should sum it up. I love her - I really do - but she can't plan for shit, child, and god help the fool who tries to tell her that. No, no - "these things must be done delicately". The plus side of this trip is that my sister is also going on it, so together we can handle her, I'm sure. We were talking about it the other day and we confessed to each other our sense of dread, our secret thoughts of "is it too late to cancel?", which strangely, made me feel better. I think its just a knee jerk reaction to taking a trip with Mom-zilla, but we are mighty in our solidarity, right? Right?

See, now would be a good time for the soothing platitude! Oh, wait, I said not to, didn't I?

The third vacation is my very own fault and I can't blame anyone else for the insanity of it. I'm supposed to take a trip up to NY with my mom later this summer. I signed up for it in a moment of weakness (I think a shipment of NY rye bread was involved), and as much as I have tried to find ways to weasel out of it, I think I'm going to have to do it. I have a sneaking suspicion that all is not well with my mother. She won't tell us anything, she won't go see a doctor for any of the myriad issues she's been having, and she's taken up smoking again with a vengeance. Maybe I'm just over the top paranoid - I would really like for it to be just that - but I have this terrible feeling there's something wrong. So maybe this trip up to NY has to be this year - maybe there won't be another chance to have a quality moment with my mother. Maybe its all in my head and she'll be here for another 20 years, driving us all to the brink of insanity. Either way, I think this is one of those Carpe Diem things I have to do, so that when I'm standing by her deathbed I can say goodbye with as little conflict or regret as possible.

Hey! I never said I wasn't toting a dufflebag of batsa! I freely admit my logic may not hold up under another's scrutiny, but ultimately, we have to do what we think is the right thing, don't we?

And really, once I stop to think about it - life IS good!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ludicrous Beauty

Should I tell you what he was doing, or do these pictures tell their own story?

Parents, without a doubt, and even the best of them, will drive you batshit at each and every chance they are given. But then, there are those moments where you look at them in action and have that instant sense of identity. Where you realize that your crazy-assed apple didn't fall or roll that far from the tree, and that's perfectly okay.

This would be one of those moments.
I love you Dad!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blog? What Blog?

I have just fallen off the face of the earth, and it feels pretty damn good. I might even have to make a habit of it, because blogging wasn't looking nearly as good as the Real Life thang - sorry kids.

We had a lovely Mother's Day weekend here. We got up early on Saturday and went to the Farmer's Market to buy flowers and vegetable plants for our garden. We ran a little late because I had to have that first cup of coffee before we hit the road, so I was expecting a little traffic at the market. Oh my Aunt Edna's ass - the place was packed like a mall at Christmas time. I don't know who the hell told the Cary-ites about the Farmer's Market, but those kill-joy urbanites were out in full force. We snaked our way through the sardine-like insanity, and lucked into a little Parking Karma (as Bea and I call it) - a spot right up at the front. We headed into the melee to make our selections.

There were so many beautiful flowers and plants to choose from! Both the Bohemian and I wanted some of these sunflowers, but I wasn't sure where to put them in my mostly shady yard, so we had to "take a picture, so it'll last longer!" The Bohemian was very excited at the prospect of shopping for flowers for Mother's Day. He had his flowers already picked out, but he was a good sport about looking for other options and posing for me. The Professor was not in the mood for photo-ops, as you can tell from his palm-first pose. I think he needs a haircut, but evidently the third grade girls like it - you should have seen the little circle of them around him at carpalooza on Friday - OY! I'm dreading the teen years, chile!
We got home and set to work, digging and planting all our new plants. On Sunday, I did absolutely nothing, and it was divine. The boys made me lovely cards and the dear husband man took care of all the school preparations and waited on me like I was the queen. I tell you - it was simply divine. On Monday, my darling man took the day off and we spent the whole day together, sans children. It was such a breath of fresh air, to get a break from the perpetual kid-thing. I love my boys, but they tend to suck the air out of the room, without realizing it. It was nice to be able to just be together, the man and I, with nowhere to go, and no one to tend to.

I am just the luckiest girl in the world!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"And these children that you spit on;... they're quite aware of what they're going through."

My god, where is the time going? It was just the beginning of May yesterday (wasn't it?), and now we're almost halfway through. Time is whipping along and conversely, I feel like I'm slowing down. The kids have their EOGs (End Of Grade) tests in another week, and my little band of students I've been tutoring this year are down to the wire, trying to grasp concepts that will be on the tests.

This morning we went over some reading comprehension tactics, and then we hit the basics of Geometry. Luckily for them, it wasn't Algebra (hissssss), because I am a Stupe when it comes to math problems containing the alphabet. Mock me all you like - I'm used to it - but there it is. No, thankfully, Geometry is visual, and I'm all about the visual, don'tcha know?

Still, it was a struggle today. Part of the problem, I think, is the completely non-intuitive way math is taught. Figuring out the difference between area and perimeter is obvious to you and me, but to a kid, they're just words and without practical application, who wouldn't get them mixed up? With such a visual concept as Geometry, why use only paper and pencil to teach it? The third graders planted a garden this year, a perfect opportunity to discuss area and perimeter, but it went unavailed. They're doing mosaics in Art right now, but personally, I think Art and Music should teach theory/concepts that corresponds to the curriculum of the individual grade, further supplementing and cementing the concepts being taught in the regular classroom. Why not touch on perspective in Art while Geometry is being taught in the classroom? Wouldn't it render both subjects more readily absorbed?

I know the teachers do their very best, and I know they don't get nearly enough support from either the school system or the parents of their students. The kids who are struggling are usually the kids whose parents can't be bothered to lend a teaching hand, even for the benefit of their own child. It breaks my heart to see those kids struggle and finally, disengage from learning anything, all because no one could take the time to teach them, one on one. For some kids, one on one is the only way for them to get some of those trickier concepts, the only way to keep them interested and learning.

I've been thinking that next year I might not volunteer in so many classes. It takes a big chunk out of my week to do it - time that I could be pursuing my own interests. Then I go to school and work with kids who have never had fun learning and see the wonderment in their eyes when they really get something, and I think: "How can I abandon them? How can I think of just me when they may never get another chance to see how much fun it is to question and learn?" I can't do it. For whatever reason; maybe because I was one of those kids who was disengaged, maybe because I see what kind of misery lies in wait for the lost youth, I feel like even if I only reach one kid, that's at least one more kid who isn't slipping through the cracks.

If you feel like you'ld like to do some kind of volunteer work, but you're not sure what you would be good at, consider giving your time to tutoring or mentoring a kid. What better way to invest in the future of our world, than to try and save a mind, and maybe, a life?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

So How Was Your Weekend?

I sent the boys off to Richmond this past weekend - Yeah Man!!!

Once I got the house cleaned I sat back and enjoyed its semi-pristine state. I was only able to achieve semi-pristine because, Hello! I live with two little boys, which means mounds of stuff left around the house,and they're too busy building skyscrapers in the living room to clean up. They were awfully nice skyscrapers, and I hated to be the demolition crew, but one little toe jiggle, and BAM! down it came.

Also, I had plans with Bea and another friend of ours, Miss J, to have sushi and drinks, preferably in my living room, so the scrapers really had to go. Its a rationalization, for my joyous destruction of my children's creation, but its working for me.

We hunkered down with a few rolls and a pitcher of Raspberry Lemonade and got comfy. We watched yet again our current favorite period film, "Becoming Jane". While it isn't actually a Jane Austen novel, it does deal with a rumour about Miss Jane and an unrequited love affair. Oh, and it has James McAvoy in it, and he is extra yummy in this film. Who needs dessert when you can feast on him? (The cat statues on the TV are my son's addition to the decor, but I was the one who made them stop peeing on each other.)
It was really a lovely weekend, although I got very little accomplished. I did have my nephew and his lovely POSSLQ (Person of the Opposite Sex, Sharing Living Quarters) over for dinner on Saturday and we made Bea's Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, which are so easy to make, look fabulous, and are delicious, so how could we go wrong?

Monday was Cinquo de Cuervo - um Mayo, yeah that's it. My brother and his "third time's the charm" really nice girlfriend came over for Margaritas, homemade salsa and queso, and chorizo/portabella quesadillas to celebrate. We finished with a Kahlua Chocolate cake and now?
Now I'm on a diet for the rest of my life! Seriously, I'm only going to be snacking on veggies and fruit from here on in, because I've hit my "fighting weight" as Ms. Q would call it, and I have to get into a swimsuit in another 8 weeks. (cue sobbing)

So what kind of trouble did you get into this past weekend?

Friday, May 2, 2008

"It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times"

Ms. Q has finally relented (or was it just the painkillers again?) and posted her charming tale of a girl and her little bunny. Now fair warning: this isn't your Beatrix Potter kind of bunny tale, but if you're over 18, and enjoy watching Catholic Guilt in action, go read this and laugh your ass off.

Ms. Q can be found at Another Juicy Rationalization.

Bea has also written her part of the epic saga A Roadtrip To The Coast And Back. Go check it out - its worth the trip, for the Tudball Massacree alone.