Friday, September 30, 2011

Bend In The Wind

I schedule everything.

I know, I know, I've told you this before, why am I telling you this again? It's just that I don't think you understand how kind of creepy I realize it is. How at the start of every month I will flip to the following month in my planner and scribble "groceries" every Friday and "change sheets" every Thursday, and "laundry" every single day of the month.

Since school started, I've been scrambling. I simply can't get everything done on the days I have them scheduled.

So I'm rescheduling. Cleaning the house, changing the sheets, grocery shopping... they are all happening on different days.

While I'm at it I might as well mention that instead of running six miles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I am running six miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and running for just thirty minutes on the other days. I know you were all wondering about that.

Also, instead of having a fixed vegetarian dinner night, I retain the right to place it on any day of the week I choose, with or without notice.

Boy, am I flexible! Um, schedule-wise. You believe me, don't you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Titanic Returns

Remember how I posted about Andy's infatuation with the Titanic? He toted these library books around and would leaf through pages of illustrations of dead men in life jackets, floating in frozen water. He showed these books to everyone - the Karate teacher, his gymnastics teacher, the lady at church. It was kinda weird.

The other night the reality of the Titanic hit Andy. He ran into the Living Room while we were watching TV saying he had a nightmare about the Titanic. It had only been 15 minutes since I'd tucked him in, so I'm pretty sure he just couldn't stop thinking about it. Andy was frightened and almost crying. I'm guessing that the reality of it hit him all of a sudden, and he's just too young to handle it.

Bad mom.

So I took the books away from him, something he's not entirely happy about. I told him he just needed to think about something else for a little while. He still talks about Titanic during the daytime, but at least he's not leafing through those illustrations.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Pants

We need pants again.

Long pants. With the weather turning colder, I dug out the boxed of winter clothing, figuring there would be tons and tons of pants there for us to choose from.

And there were a few pairs. Many of them already had holes in the knees. On top of that, the jeans I bought for the boys two weeks ago are also already getting soft around the knees.

So, what is it Is it just my kids? Does anyone else have this problem?

Anyway, I plan on buying the boys a pair of long pants whenever we are in a store that sells long pants. It's the only way to keep up with them.

As for myself, I also wear holes in the knees of my pants rather quickly, with the exception of a few pairs of dress pants I have had since I was working. I went to Goodwill and got three pairs of pants for $15. They all fit me rather well, and I love them. I won't be heartbroken if I rip or stain them, and it was an ecologically responsible buy. Go, me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


There is something about fall that makes me want to eat. I want to eat pies and cakes and cookies and soups and stews and everything on the face of the planet.

If only someone else would prepare them for me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Many Mornings

Mornings in our house are crazy.

I have heard tales of parents having to drag their children out of bed so that they can get to school on time. They are mythical beasts, like children who pick up their toys and don't laugh at fart jokes. My children are up at 6am. Every single day. Although they can entertain themselves, they are unable to do this quietly. There is usually a lot of loud squabbling, and a few thumps that shake the house, but that the children are unable to detect, judging from the blank looks on their faces when asked about them.

You would think that, since they wake up so early, getting them ready for school is easy. You would be wrong.

Steve does not wake up with the children on school days. I will not delve into the reasons behind this, other than to say he does not wake up a very cheerful person on the best of days, and that some things are for the best. So, after my morning run, I gather the children in the kitchen, make sure the pets are fed, make the kids breakfast, pack snacks for school, make sure book-bags are equipped with any homework or library books or field-trip forms, and clean up the breakfast table. Sometimes I remember to eat something myself, and pour myself a cup of coffee that is really, really large.

When the boys are done eating, they are supposed to go upstairs to do their jobs. Their jobs are: 1 - brush teeth, 2 - get dressed, 3 - make bed. There is a chart upstairs with this list posted on it. And any of the boys could tell you what they are supposed to do in their sleep. It isn't secret, and the list of often pointed out, outlined, and repeated.

What usually happens, though, is that the boys make it halfway up the stairs and then they forget.

Me (from kitchen): Go do your jobs!

Nick (in underwear, walking back into the kitchen): Mom? Did you know that Oshiwat is the strongest water Pokemon in the Sinnoh region?

Me: Less Pokemon, more getting dressed.

There is running around, thumping, arguing... Stop it! Get off my bed! Do your jobs! YOU do YOUR jobs! Mom, Andy's running! Do you want a punch in the face? (this is one of the boys speaking, not me.)

Me (downstairs, dashing from one corner to another, shouting) : DO YOUR JOBS! AND STOP SHOUTING! YOUR DAD IS SLEEPING!"

When I come upstairs I usually find Nick half dressed, and the other two naked and rolling around on the floor in some strange exercise which is half playing and half reaching for seasonally inappropriate clothing. I try to help them by selecting clothing for them and reminding them of their jobs. Again. Nathan responds by getting upset (I KNOW!) and Andy responds by crying because he "needs" help, and also "It's gonna take a long time!" or "It's gonna be to HARD!" We all know the stress that can be caused by putting on pants.

When I try to take a shower, I am usually interrupted by a tearful child who either needs help or revenge. They boys never remember to put shoes on, and they can never find them. And Nicholas takes any opportunity he can to remind me that he hates school.

Me: You're going to miss the bus!

Nick: I hope we miss it. I hate school!

By the time we make it out to the bus, I am very glad to put them on it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Early Morning Run

Last February I made a major change to my schedule. I started waking up at 5:30. In the morning.

Why? I hear you ask. Are you completely crazy?

Well, the original idea was that I would get the running out of the way early, before the boys were awake, and then I would have time to do the other things that are still gradually eating up my life.

I kept the routine up during the summer, more or less, and it's been working great. The only problem is that now it's still very very dark at 5:30. As in not-even-dawn. I am finding it harder and harder to drag myself out of bed and wake up to run.

So I've postponed a couple of runs to later in the day when the boys are all in school. 8:30am.

But because the weather is still warm, and there is no ice or snow, I have been running outside.

I ran a trail the other day for the first time in a year. I was doing great, using an iPhone for my music and to track my runs. I reached the end of the trail, the 3 mile point where I stopped to tie my shoe before turning back. And the phone rang.

It was the school nurse, saying Nick was complaining about his ear.

There I was, covered in sweat, standing in the woods, three miles from my car. Of course this is when my kid would need to get picked up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Elephant In The Room

I was cleaning the basement, and Andrew was watching curious George on my iPad.

Out of the blue, he looks up and says, "Mom? When are we gonna get a pet elephant?"

Because when I said "no" to the kitten they are giving away next door, I was just talking about kittens, right?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Troy Davis

I didn't start this blog to use as a soapbox. That was never my intention, not when I first started writing, and not now.

In fact, I don't usually like to address politics or political issues much. First of all, people usually disagree with me, and then they try to argue, or tell me why I'm wrong, and it makes me uncomfortable and upset and rattles me when people yell at me. Second of all, I find it difficult to compose coherent and organized thoughts in type, particularly when I am passionate about something and am upset and rattled.

But occasionally something happens that upsets me so much, that I spend so much time thinking about and focusing on, that I have no choice but to mention it, even in passing.

The state of Georgia killing Troy Davis is one of those things.

I don't usually read comments on political sites, or after political articles. I find that most people who comment are very opinionated, rude, and don't have enough to do. But as I was reading articles even on facebook updates on the Troy Davis case, I couldn't help but run across a few with opinions that were different than my own. Mainly, that Troy Davis was a thug, and that they should just kill him already.

I have never met Troy Davis. I have never spoken to him, or to his family, or to the family of the police officer who was shot and killed. I wasn't on the jury, I don't live in Georgia, and I have not done research on the case.

As to his guilt, I have no way of knowing if he was guilty or not. Apparently he was mixed up in some criminal activity. He had shot someone before. But it seemed there was a lack of physical evidence, witnesses changed their minds and took back their words. Some people think this is still enough to find him guilty, and put him to death. I disagree. Put him in jail for life, and there is always a chance for a correction if a mistake was made. Kill him, and mistakes are irreversible.

I can't say too much on the subject, because it turns out I am against the death penalty. I only recently discovered this. It means that I can't openly argue with people on the subject of an individual on death row. I am now one of "those people" and if I can't even consider killing a person by execution then I obviously am not worth the time to discuss the subject with. I'll say no no matter what.

What stood out for me after the execution was a quote from the Mother of the off-duty policeman who was shot. This woman has suffered a huge loss and a lot of pain. I am a mother, and I can only imagine how devastated she was when she lost her son. I hope I never ever have to go through anything remotely like what she went through. I understand her anger, and her need to make things right, to blame someone. I don't have the exact quote, but she said she was still numb. She expected the feeling of relief and resolution to kick in after a couple of days.

But I wonder if it will.

People who support the death penalty say "an eye for an eye." But this only works when the eye represents a thing. You take my cookie, you give a cookie. You wreck my car, you owe me a car. You kill my son, my son is gone. There is no replacing my son. I can kill your son, I can even kill you, but my son is gone and nothing will bring him back. Take an eye for an eye, and we will both be angry and hurt. And now we are both also blind.

So that's it. I'm stepping off my soapbox now. I won't say anything else about it. Tomorrow, we will return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tell It How It Is

Mom, there's something wrong with the camera!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Larry's House

After King Richard's Faire the other day we stopped by Pam and Larry's house, which is in between there and here. Pam wasn't there, unfortunately, but we got to see Larry. He showed us around their home, which is just beautiful. They also have a pretty neat lawn.

And there's nothing like spending a little quality time with loved ones.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

King Richard's Faire

Saturday we took the boys to King Richard's Faire, a Renaissance festival. I had only ever been once, as an adult, but Steve went lots as a kid. I knew it would be a good time.
And it was. We saw a jousting tournament, a forge where a guy was making swords, and all sorts of folk in fancy costumes. People get confused, though. At first I thought people were just confusing Renaissance with Lord of the Rings and wearing elf ears and such. But no, apparently people just dress in costume. There are lots of devil's horns and vampire teeth, some Harry Potter and some Dr. Who, which was really out of place. I think this is because geeks who dress in Renaissance clothing don't see the distinction in any of these fantasy worlds, but whatever.

Anyway, it was fun. Even though Nicholas asked us, halfway through the day, if we were ever going to get to see King Richard. I knew it would be fun, so I brought the camera, even though I wouldn't be able to see what I was taking pictures of.

Nathan had a hard time falling asleep that night. He kept coming down the stairs, claming he was frightened. He said it was because of "The Doctor from King Richard's" by which he ment the men in costume dragging a cart with two body-shaped, sheet-wrapped bundles. They were shouting about how they were the "doctors! doctors!" and one of them had one of those masks with the long beaky noses... And of course they talked to Nathan, probably because he was staring at them.

But then again, it could have been that dragon sculpture on that tree. It was just there, a dragon head, attached to a tree. Nate likes dragons, so Steve lifted him so he could touch it. He didn't seem scared, did he?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Piano Lessons

We found a new piano teacher this year.

I am much more confident about this piano teacher. Last year Nick was paired up with a kid who liked playing and composing, but who didn't have a lot of experience with children. And Nicholas isn't exactly a focused customer.

But this new woman has had years of experience. She is full of funny little quips, like "You only have to practice on the days that you eat."

She told Nick that, because he was seven, he had to play his little piece 7 times when he practiced. Nick's eyes flew open wide. "That's going to take a long time," he said. His teacher smiled. "Look at how old I am! It takes me a very long time. I have to play everything 107 times!"

The other thing that's different this year is that Nathan is taking lessons. Because he's never really taken lessons, she is using a program she developed for young children. He colors in keys on printed keyboards and writes his own rhythms to practice. He is learning which fingers are 1, 2, 3, etc, and he is learning to find CDE on the keyboard. And that's as far as she's let him go. He is very frustrated.

Meanwhile, there are some days I am having a hard time finding practice time for Nicholas. I think I'm going to have to let go of that sacred after-dinner time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall Is Here

Over the past few weeks I've noticed a few leaves on trees blushing, and the temperature at night has been cooler.

But a couple of nights ago, it got downright cold.

What's the difference? Long sleeves and a jacket. I now have to check the weather every day to know what is appropriate to dress my kids in. I don't want to put shorts on them if the high is 61 degrees. Or let them wear long sleeves if it's going to get close to 80. Suddenly I am picking out their outfits for them, and hoping they have enough warmer clothing to last them until they pick up their toys and I can reach the clothing storage bins, currently covered in toys at the back of the closet.

The when I check the weather online, there are frost advisories.... until 8am. Which means I have to think about putting my vegetable garden to bed. I am going to do that this year, so that the earth can, you know, recharge.

I'm also waiting and putting off putting in the storm windows, at least until the weather gets warm and cools again. If I time it right and nature cooperates, we can keep the heat off until late October.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have to talk a bit more about toys and the cleaning up situation around here.

The comments I got (there were 2, both from non-parents, mind you) seemed to suggest that throwing toys away, or giving them away, would be the way to go. But I think the point, the heart of the issue here was missed.

It's not the kids.

When I ask my kids to clean up, all heck breaks loose. There is yelling because the kid that made the mess isn't doing his share of the cleaning up. Someone might actually be cleaning up more than his share of toys. And that isn't FAIR. At this age, it's all about what's FAIR. I try to explain that me picking up all of the toys isn't FAIR either, especially since I didn't get to play with any of them. But I am an adult, and I know that life is many things. FAIR isn't one of them.

Anyway, I feel badly because I don't help them clean up. I'm not talking about doing the heavy lifting. I'm talking about making sure it's done every single day so the mess doesn't get to be unmanageable. I'm talking about breaking it up for them so that they can see the smaller jobs and don't get swamped. I'm supposed to teach them how to do this, not just yell at them to do it.

I have no problem throwing certain things away. In fact, many items I do throw away. This includes pokemon cards, plastic bits I can't identify, rubber bouncy balls, anything that came in a goody bag, anything broken beyond repair, or anything with a family that has been separated and spread all over the house and used for something other than it's original purpose (Tinker Toys, I'm thinking of all of you.)

But then there are other things.

I find it very difficult to throw away, for example, the stuffed animal that Andrew carries around with him all week. Or the Very Expensive video game that is left on the floor. Or the Fun Toy Aunt Emily gave Nick last Christmas. They never see Aunt Emily, and she took them shopping and picked out this toy especially for him!

And, oh, we have so many special toys.

I find it very difficult to throw things away. I don't like to create waste, and throwing something away is a sure way to make sure it is never used again. Also, I accept the fact that I am placing my own emotional attachments onto items that belong to my children.

So while the High Shelf is an option, and Goodwill a last resort for toys in good condition, I simply will not be able to part with many of my children's toys until they are outgrown. Or broken. This is my issue. I just need to teach my kids to cope with it.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I have been asked to teach a Religious Education class at church.

Actually, Steve was asked to teach the RE class, because he taught last year. And this time he said "No, but you should ask my wife!"

I want to help out. I really do. But... here's the thing. Religious Education classes take place during Sunday Services. That menas that, if you're teaching church school, there is no real church for you.

And no church services means..... NO CHOIR!

Now, when I had a conversation with the poor guy who was trying to find teachers, I mentioned that there hadn't been a strong showing in the first choir rehearsal. But this past rehearsal there were plenty of people. So that is really no longer a factor.

Now all I have to consider is how much I really love choir, and singing. I really find the music and the companionship healing and inspiring. I'm not sure I want to give that up.

And I'm already doing a good deal of volunteering, right? I mean, at this point I'm doing Library every week, one week for Kindergarten, the next for First Grade (Nick got his wish!) I'm also going in every other week to do clerical work (copying, cutting, sorting, assembling) for the first and second grades. As far as the church goes, I'm on the Board of Trustees, which means that I'm doing a lot of reading about what a Board of Trustees is supposed to do, and then trying to figure out how to get people to implement things... And going to a meeting every single month.

This isn't really about teaching Religious Education, though. It's about giving up choir. I already know I'm going to do it for a semester. But will it be this semester, or next? And how miserable will I be?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Sinking Ship

I don't remember when I first mentioned the Titanic to the boys.

I think we were actually reading a book about dinosaurs. I dont know much about dinosaurs. I know even less about them now than I did as a child because the Dinosaur People decided things were getting boring, and then they made a bunch of new discoveries and changed everything that I knew to things I didn't know.

We came to TINANOSAURUS (tye-TAN-uh-SAWR-us) and, because we were listening to Percy Jackson at the time, I mentioned the word TITAN, and how TITAN came to be a word that meant very very big, like the dinosaur, and like the TITANIC.

Of course, because I used to have something of a crush on the Titanic (the boat, not the movie) I probably added a few details, like it was the largest boat ever, and that it hit an iceberg, and that it sank to the bottom of the ocean.

And then, at the library, I found a children't book on the Titanic that I thought would be just about Nick's reading level. He seemed interested, so I brought it home for the boys to look at and read. They were, for the most part, uninterested.

Except Andrew. Andrew ate this book up. He stared at every single page and made me read him the whole book. The next week at the library, he found another Titanic book, still for kids, but for slightly more advanced readers. Unlike the other one, it spoke about how people died, and there is actually a lovely drawing of a lifeboat floating among men in lifejackets. One of the men is raising his arm for help. The others are frozen in the water.

But Andrew clung to this book like nobody's business. He told the children's librarian about the Titanic. "It was a big boat. But it sinked. It hit a big ice cube, and it made a hole." He even took the book to Nate's Karate class and showed Nate's Kyoshi. "This is the boat! And this is the lifeboat. And these people are died."

Now before people get all over me for pushing a disaster like the Titanic on a 3-year-old, let me tell you that he also chose a book on The Hunley. He chose this - I hardly know anything about The Hunley. And when I finally showed him the Ballard book I have, the big one, with the photos, he was more interested in the diving machines that went down to sort through and recover the wreckage.

He isn't lingering on the morbid part of it. So even though it seems odd that he's loving this shipwreck, I'm not going to do anything to discourage him.

Besides, in a few weeks we're going to see the Pompeii exhibit. Now THAT's morbid.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nurture vs. Nurture

Every day I ask myself if I'm doing the right thing for each of my children. I blame myself for each fault, for each bad trait. He doesn't like school? I did something. He hates new food? I said something. He is lazy and never picks up toys? Obviously I lack parenting skills.

But the I look at me and my brothers and sister. We were raised, pretty much, with the same parents. And yet we are not at all the same.

For example (and here I am going to apologize to my brother for using him as the example) when I was in New York I had the opportunity to see my brother's bedroom. It was a mess. There were glasses and bottles and dirty clothing everywhere. It was the messiest room I had been in in a long time. My bedroom, on the other hand, is usually pretty clean. Sometimes it's dusty, and it does sometimes collect the occasional craft project or tea mug, but in general it's pretty clean and the clutter is contained.

On the other hand, my brother values personal hygiene more than I do. I shower almost every day, but not always, especially if I don't run or if I'm in a hurry. My brother used to shower before tennis class. And wash his hair each time. I wash my hair twice a week. Also, his clothing is usually clean and mine is usually something I have worn at least once previously.

My point is, we are related. We were raised together. So maybe what I say and do right now will not absolutely determine forever what my kids will be like when they grow up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Toy Story

I have been trying to get my kids to pick up their toys since before the beginning of time.

Seriously, forever.

But I'm not quite sure what to do about it, at this point. I just don't know what my next move is.

See, I can yell and I can scream, but that doesn't really get the toys off the floor. More than that, it doesn't help instill the habit of picking up after one's self.

I have looked up different options when it comes to this issue. We have a Toy Room, a room dedicated to toys. All toys belong in that room. All I ask is that once a week, on Monday, the toys are picked up and off the floor so that I can vacuum and get all the pet hair and dirt out of the rug. For some reason, this is always the last place the boys choose to play.

Some time ago I decided to pick up al the toys that were left out on the floor and place them in a place the boys couldn't play with them. The High Shelf. Which, in reality, is actually the uninsulated closet we keep the suitcases and the off-season clothing in. But it has a lock on the door, which is what matters.

To get the toys back, the boys need to have clean floors the next week, the following Monday, so that I can vacuum. Then I'll take everything down for them.

The problem is, the boys don't care. Oh, they put up a fuss when I take the big yellow truck left on the stairs and put it in the closet, but it is soon forgotten. There are plenty of other toys. And every Monday, instead of the corrected behavior, I get more toys on the floor.

Today I ran into a problem because the closet is just about full. But there are still many many more toys that can be left out.

I'm starting to think that a week is just too long, and that I need to shorten the time period so the boys won't forget about the toys in the closet before I ask them to clean up again.

But that will require me to get after them to clean up more than once a week, and to tell the truth, it's torture. I hate standing there in a room the boys insist is clean, that has a pile of pokemon cards in the middle of the rug, and a small backback in the corner, and stuffed animals leaking off the windowsill, and books peaking out from under the bed...

On the other hand, I can always give everything away and we can start all over. This sounds better to me every day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Real, Pretend, Real, Pretend

When I got my iPad a litle over a year ago, I also suddenly had the ability to acquire games.

I am not really a video game person. I don't have the skill or the patience for arcade games, games where you shoot someone, games that have lots of levels, or where you have to practice leaping from one teeny tiny block to another teeny tiny block without falling over and over and over until you get it right.

But the iPad has lots of short, easy, time killing games available, and many of them are just the right thing for the ten minutes spent on the Kindergarten pick-up line, or waiting for Karate class or Piano lesson to be over. Or to play when Steve gets to pick the TV show and it's Top Gear.

A few times a year there is a sale, and a game costs a dollar, and I tend to then purchase games without doing a lot of research.

This past time around I got a game called Nanny! You are the little Nanny person, see? And you go into a messy house full of kids, and sometimes a baby, and you have to clean the house and put things to rights and then put the kids to bed by a certain time. Each item that has to be cleaned is outlined in red, and when you clean it the little Nanny Person looks like she's scrubbing, and there is all this suds. Even if she is just making a bed or cleaning a sofa. The house has to be clean before the kids go to bed, and the kids do their very best to make a mess, walking around and throwing things on the floor and kicking things wich need to be cleaned a second time.

It took me halfway through the second level to figure out that I didn't need the game at all. I could just return to my real life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

It's been ten years.

I wrote a long post, with lots of words, but I erased it. It had the potential to be taken the wrong way, and it never quite got my true meaning across.

"Remember" people say. "Never Forget."

I hate seeing footage of 9/11. I hate seeing the same photos over and over again. For a week after the events I was obsessed with viewing them, and then I realized that there was nothing new there. I was being shown images that I no longer wished to see. I don't think those images have ever stopped being flashed on screens, or that 9/11 has ever really been set aside. It's like a drum and whenever anyone starts to let their guard down and enjoy life for what it is, someone takes out the 9-11 drum and bangs on it a few thousand times.

Now that the 10th year is rolling around, I still have no desire to read any more or see any more of what I already know. This was a horrible, tragic event, that some bad guys cooked up and carried out. I know the tragedy. As a patriotic person, I feel the wound. But I have no desire to allow myself to be manipulated by it.

I hope we can look back and see the changes that have been made. I hope we can see which lessons we learned were valuable, and which were just a negative reaction to fear. I hope we can remember ourselves and our loved ones, as well as the integrity and respect for ourselves and others. I hope we can somehow still come out of this as more compassionate instead of more angry or frightened. It would be a shame to do otherwise.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Take my Time, Please

When I tell people that all three boys are in school, it is very easy to get the wrong impression.

First of all, Nathan is in Kindergarten, which is only two and a half hours long. He goes in on the bus, and I pick him up at the school three hours later. Andrew is in school only three days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays he has Gymnastics class. In the end, I have three two-and-a-half hour time slots during to week to use as I wish.

Well, I went to the PTA meeting the other day and promptly signed away two of my free mornings. Well, every other week. One week I'll work in the library during the Kindergarten story-hour, and one week I'll work in the pod doing clerical work. Copying and sorting and cutting and whatever.

Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing, giving away my valuable free time, time I could be using to shop for groceries, or clean the house, or bake muffins, cookies, prepare dinners ahead of time for the rest of the week because our schedule is so crazy we're running out of time for cooked meals...

But when Nick found out I was going to help out Nate's class during Library, he was rather unhappy. He cried. "You never come to MY class for Library!"

"That's not true! I was there all last year, remember?"

"Then why can't you do it THIS year?"

"Because your Library time is on Thursday afternoons, and both of your brothers are at home, and I need to take care of them."

"It's NOT FAIR!"

So I promised I would speak to his teacher about any times they need special help in the classroom, and try to help out then.

Friday, September 09, 2011

No Post Today

This is a fake post. It's pretend. I'm not really posting because of the following:

1 - I ran out of things to post when I was writing my week's worth of posts and told myself I would come up with other things later in the week.

2 - I DID come up with a few things, but I didn't have time to sit and form it in to cohesive or even semi cohesive or even partially worded half-baked thoughts with simple ideas and a few words thrown in.

3 - I am still trying to get used to our new schedule, including mid-morning kindergarten pick-ups, karate classes, piano lessons, gymnastics, church choir, church church, story-hour, PTA volunteering, school meetings, grade meetings, new agendas, Steve's travel schedule, and bringing our new car in for that fabric treatment I insisted we get, but I can't find time to do it, because when the heck can I drop the car off in Manchester for a whole morning? I have to be back in town by 11:15 to pick up Nate!

So that is why I haven't posted today. I'll see you all tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Blue Velvet Cake

Linda sent me a recipe for Blue Velvet Cake. And it actually looked pretty good, so I decided to make it to celebrate the first day of school for the boys.

The cake did look really nice, even though it was something of a pain to make because the cake part is actually an angel food cake - using 11 egg whites, which I didn't beat as much as I should have before adding the sugar.

Also, it took 2 whole ounces of food coloring. For the record, that's 8 of the little bottles you get in a 4 pack of food coloring. It's a lot of dye. And for the record, blue food coloring does not digest very well. It's one thing when you can keep the information to yourself, and it's another when a three-year-old is happily running down the hall screaming "Mom! Mom! I pooped dark green!"

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Camera Troubles

Getting out of the cab after the Empire State Building, I dropped my camera on the pavement.

It looked fine, but now the display is completely messed up. It still takes pictures, but I have no way of seeing what it is I am taking a picture OF unless I am looking in the viewfinder, and then I have no idea how well the picture has turned out until I download it.

It's like I'm using an ancient camera from 1995. Only I don't have to pay for film developing.

Still, I don't think the pictures I took were too bad.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Empire State

We went to the Empire State Building in NY.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sleep No More

This weekend I went to New York.

I went to New York specifically to see a show my sister Anne-E told me I should see. "It's different. You'll love it. That's all I'm going to tell you." From what she told me, I pictured intense but double sided conversations between men in dinner jackets and women in boas, smoking guns and the audience trying to figure out whodunit. But I was wrong.

The show was "Sleep No More."

This is not a play. I refuse to call it a play. It is a different kind of theatre completely, and it blew me away.

I'm going to put in a few spoilers here, so if you plan on seeing this show (It's playing for another couple if weeks, but good luck getting tickets) and you want to retain the element of surprise, stop reading now. I'm about to ruin it for you.

The show takes place in a hotel. Not a room in a hotel, the entire hotel. When you walk in they check your ID (21+ because there is an actual bar) and then they make you check your bag. You will want to check your bag because you will be walking - no, running - around the hotel, up and down five flights of stairs - in the dark. You will be rifling through papers and suitcases and reaching out to touch and feel and smell and taste the set and the props and such.

Once inside, the first thing they do is split people up. They want you away from people you know. And even if you run into your friends later, you might not recognize them because you are given a white mask which you must wear as you wander around the hotel. In the dark. Only the actors are maskless.

As you are led into the hotel, you are told not to speak to anyone. At all. No noise. But you are encouraged to touch things. You are allowed to open suitcases and pick up papers. You can sit in the furniture and stick your hand into the bathwater.

This show is loosely based on Macbeth. If you don't know what that is, I'm not sure I can help you. But it shouldn't stop you from appreciating Sleep No More. In fact, you don't even need to speak English, because even the actors do not speak. They communicate through intense gazes and then violent dances. The actors throw each other onto and over furniture, into walls and onto floors. They hang upside-down. Even when you have no idea what is going on plot-wise, and most of the time I didn't - it is amazing to watch. And if you get bored with what you are watching, you can wander elsewhere. You may follow whichever actor you choose and even hide out in a place where no one else is. I liked the room with the candy. Which you were allowed to eat. I though it was cool.

But it is not for the timid. My brother saw it and did not like it. He didn't understand it, I think. And if you are the kind of person who is looking for a distinct storyline or who wishes to be entertained, this is not for you. I also wandered into a room with heavy strobe lights and dance music, in which the actors performed a dance involving blood, a minotaur's head, nudity, and a baby being "ripped" from it's mother's body. There is nudity, blood, and murder. Read Macbeth - it's all in there.

I feel I have to post about this show because I can't get it out of my mind. I have been dreaming about it for the past two nights. When I got the tickets I just couldn't understand why anyone would want to go see it again, but now I get it. The three hours I spent there wasn't enough. I didn't see everything. I want to see it again. I want to do it again.

Friday, September 02, 2011

School Daze

Over the summer I had rather gotten used to taking my time with our morning routine. I ran, I let the kids play when they woke up. I let them dawdle over breakfast. I didn't rush them getting dressed until I got out of the shower myself.

And now suddenly we have a school bus to miss.

We need to catch it at a little past eight. Just a week ago, we would still be hanging around the kitchen, cleaning up from breakfast.

Instead, it's a rush. I rush the boys through cereal, and then rush them into clothes. I jump in and out of the shower, hoping everyone will have shoes on when I get out. And that no one will have toothpaste all down the front of his shirt. Then I scramble to make sure everyone has a lunch, or a snack and that all of the papers the nice new teachers sent home for me to complete has been completed and has been placed in the correct backpacks.

This is going to be a crazy year.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Hurricane Hoopla

Most people know there was a hurricane. This hurricane, unlike so many, actually travelled up into the northern states, and the residents responded with a mixture of panic and amusement.

I have to admit, I didn't take it seriously. I saw the reports and the footage of winds and flooding in the southern states, but seriously - I live in New England. Inland. Hurricanes don't usually make it this far North, and if they do they are tired out from the trip.

But the way people were filling grocery carts with bottled water and all the D batteries disappeared from the shelves, we were about to see World War Three. So I actually began to worry.

Well, we had two days of rain. We lost power during the second day, but got it back the next morning. There was no damage to any of our trees or cars or to our home. The flooding that usually occurs in the spring, the brook that tries to make it as close to the house as it can? It didn't even show up. It's still hiding in the back. No flooding at all.

But we did get a visit from some turkeys who were less than rattled by the storm.