Friday, November 26, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  But this year I couldn't get in the mood...we've just been so busy (particularly me and Ellie....getting all of her application stuff done by the December 1st deadline).  So I decided to have a smaller gathering than we normally do.  Maybe next year I will get back to the full-blown production I normally love so much...but this year was exquisitely small and lovely.  When I say small, we had 16 people.  By our standards, that is a relatively microscopic Thanksgiving. Anyway, I enjoyed the day even though I hadn't necessarily been looking forward to it. 

I won't bore you with the details, oh what the heck, I WILL bore you with the details.  We did the usual with the Native American prayer....the really LONG one that my entire family claims to hate....the one where they all take turns addressing the Moon, Mother Earth, Thunderers, Medicinal Herbs, Water....etc while sighing and eye rolling and commenting that the food is getting cold...but they're just putting on (except for my sister who is genuinely disgusted by the entire more reason I love it).  It is a very beautiful and moving prayer and it fits in nicely with my wanting to show gratefulness without having to decide to WHOM I am grateful...without having to contemplate material comforts, or even things such as good health, as blessings that are bestowed upon me by a creator who has the choice to bless some while others go hungry (I know, I isn't that simple and I over-think things but this is ME and how I feel and well, it's my blog). 

Basically what I'm saying is, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of being blessed...but not uncomfortable with the idea of being Thankful as long as I'm on an even playing field with everyone else - not "blessed" by a god who can pick and choose favorites. I have tons of good stuff in my life and I don't know why that is, and I'm fine without knowing.  It isn't anything I've done to put me in God's favor, just like it isn't anything anyone else has done to put them out of God's favor.  I'd prefer to think it is just chance - not a conscious decision made by an entity, that I haven't been covered in a mudslide, or drowned by a tsunami, or starved by a famine. 

When I contemplate thankfulness, I do like feeling a connection to all living things, to an energy that emanates from Somewhere or Something that I am somehow a part of.  But I really don't like to feel that I'm being given any special consideration, because I don't believe I am. I know that many of my religious friends feel this, and simply recognize it in a different form.  Not all rreligious people think of God in Santa Claus terms.  But I still think that the General Idea Sold to the Masses is that of a Santa Claus God who knows when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake, one who can choose a candy cane or a lump of coal for you, so you'd darn well better be good (but not for the sake of goodness - just to avoid the lump of coal).  I prefer to think of whatever magic it is that caused creation....I use the term magic, by the way, for many the thing that you stick in the computer...that little thingy...and it lights up and stuff and then stuff comes OUT of the computer ONTO the little thingy...and the little thingy fits in your pocket and that is magic, being relatively indifferent, but beautiful in its indifference.  It is what it is.

I think last year I also said some spiritual mumbo jumbo about this time.  I probably should have just posted a link to last year and I'd have been done with it.  Last year's pictures also look similar to this year's - same activities - same people - all a little bit older.  But this blog is my journal, and I like to see how we've all changed, and read about the ways in which we haven't. 

After our lengthy prayer (and Camille read her part for the first time this year....thereby proving AGAIN to my dad that unschooling eventually works....although I think he might believe the kids get educated despite my philosophy, not because of it).  Last year at Thanksgiving, my dad was still recuperating from his dreadful fall....sitting at my house in a wheelchair for crying out loud, looking all pathetic (but putting in a really good effort at memorizing some Pearl Jam lyrics while Jeff played the guitar), so I am extremely THANKFUL to the Indifferent Source for that fact that he was walking around unassisted all day yesterday, that he's back to work at his office and also running my kids around for me when I need it. 

Once the prayer was over, everyone dug in and the talk was lively and loud (my sister was there) and we talked about everything under the sun, including the airport patdowns and other Controversial Things.  What do I think about airport patdowns, you ask?  You did ask, right?  Well, I think that as long as there are terrorists ready and willing to detonate their crotches on airplanes....I don't mind being felt up.  Or having my kids felt up.  I know, that is a big stinker for a lot of folks....but I'd rather have my kid felt up than blown up.  Sorry.  Also?  The porn machines?  Do not bother me.  At all.  It's the closest I'll ever come to a centerfold shoot. 

Some people have real concerns and issues regarding this matter...meaning they really ARE uncomfortable with being touched or scanned, and I feel badly for them because I can understand it.  But a lot of people?  Just like to think the liberals are out to get them....via things like airport patdowns.  They're ready to start throwing tea bags or refusing to be scanned so that they can bring airports everywhere to screaming halts just like they're bringing Washington to a screaming halt.  Oh my.  Look where I went!  And I really just meant to post these pictures.  Because our Thanksgiving always consists of Smashing Pumpkins. It is a tradition in our house to throw pumpkins off of our bridge and into the San Antonio River for Really No Good Reason That I Can Think Of.  Except that it is fun. 

Lots of people have joined us in this activity...neighbors, friends, relatives, and soldiers we've hosted from nearby bases....lots of folks have launched pumpkins on Thanksgiving.  This year it was a small group, but we were enthusiastic.  Some friends didn't have pumpkins so they brought watermelons.  They also made a good splash.  Oh, and before I commence with the picture posting, let me say that we didn't slaughter and eat our own turkeys this year.  We ordered them too late and they weren't ready, so they've been pardoned until New Year's.

 Here they are lining up to launch.  Both Jeff AND Jasper are making identical goofy faces (this continued throughout the event) and it was completely unplanned.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  And there's Ellie with her publicity photo face.
 Oops.  Looks like there was a premature launch.
 We started off the day with the air conditioner on and the temps very warm...a cold front blew in with a vengeance...that's how it works in our neck of the woods....and we were in the 30's last night (air conditioner turned OFF).  Ellie looks like she's freezing to death here, and she is the kid who wants to go live where it snows??
 My dad with Camille.  She's wearing the new outfit he bought her. 
 More goofiness.  Jeff didn't look normal in a single picture. 
 And here Jasper's new scarf is getting in Jeff's mouth.  Ellie crocheted him a scarf and hat.  She's like a little yarn factory, at the moment.  Spitting out hats, leg warmers, and scarves at a frantic pace.  Because she can't ever relax, that's why.  Poor Matthew is looking at me like, "Thanks for making me pose with your family.  Hurry up, they're weird."
 I asked Ellie and Joel to pose together so they did a Boxing Match Scowl Poster.  Joel can't hide his grin, though.  It is very hard for him to EVER wipe a grin off of his face.  One more reason his 1st grade teacher didn't care for him.'s how they really feel.  I think they're going to miss each other when Ellie heads to college.  Well, I know they are.  Although Ellie just wants to get the heck out of here...she's going to miss us. My dad keeps trying to make her feel bad..."At my age, how many more times am I going to see you if you head towards Canada for college?" yada yada....and Ellie, who is not known for being massively sentimental, by the way, finally said yesterday, "Stop threatening to die while I'm at college!!"  She's really close with her grandpa, and he's going to miss her. A lot.
 And here she is with Jules, who doesn't like to be touched but is happy to pose for a picture with his sister. As long as she doesn't touch him.  At all.  Which she didn't.
So it was another great Thanksgiving.  I promise my next post will be about Joel's school efforts with distance learning, and our Big Fight With The Community College.  Which we lost, by the way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reality in Alaska

I promised you my insightful opinion of Sarah Palin's Alaska, so here it is.  Because I have a load of stuff to do today/this week (that's why) and the longer I sit here doing the typing and drinking the coffee...the longer I can put all that stuff off, thereby ensuring myself an extremely stressful start to my holiday season.  It's tradition. God but I love the holidays.

**If you are a Die-Hard Palin Fan - please don't read'll hate me and I would really hate that. Just tune in next week, okay? Next week I promise to offend / piss off someone else, instead.

Now then, I really don't want to be all snarky but the woman (Palin) has left me no choice.  We don't have cable or satellite or any other modern technology in this here house (that statement is for the benefit of any college financial aid narcs that might be staking out my family...also? it is true.) but Ellie made me watch Sarah Palin's Alaska in the hotel room last week.

As you all know, I am an extremely naive and innocent girl, so I honestly thought Sarah Palin's Alaska was going to be a nature show.  Stop laughing!  I really thought that!  I did consider it ironic to have her hosting any kind of a nature show that was going to attempt reverence towards you know...animals...nature...conservation...stuff like that...but it's show business in the end and stranger things have happened.  I really wasn't expecting a reality tv show.  I know! I feel so silly now.  But I don't watch reality tv...don't watch much tv at all (not because I'm better than you but because I really don't have time because being the queen of procrastination is a time-consuming job) and I Just Didn't See It Coming.  But it was totally a reality tv show.  It was totally a Follow-The-Family-around reality tv show. 

Before I put on my Reality TV Show Critic's Hat, I would like to clarify one thing:  Todd Palin is totally hot.  Apparently, this (well known) fact had escaped me during the period of time when I was blinded by rage and fury election. Holy cow - what a cutie!  And while it would be lovely to see Todd scampering about the White House, I'm still not entirely sure it's a good idea.  Now why on earth hasn't Todd come out with a country music album?  THAT would be a good idea.  Don't ask me why.  It is just a thought that occurred to me and I think it is a mighty fine one at that. It doesn't matter if he can't sing.  Half the people who appeared on the American Music Awards last night couldn't sing and it was still a good show.  So yeah, Todd needs a record deal (and possibly a calendar) and Palin needs to do what Barbara Bush recently said: STAY IN ALASKA.  Where she really can't do that much damage unless you're a wolf, moose, bear, or an Alaskan Citizen.

Back to the show.  It was interesting.  Although I don't have time for reality tv, it doesn't mean I don't like to stare at a train wreck just as much as the next guy.  It was fascinating.  And they are pretty people (the entire family) so the viewing was easy on the eyes as long as you hold the mute button down (to cut down on the nasally whine factor).

What I found most fascinating about Sarah Palin's Alaska was the Family Values Aspect of it.  Because God knows the Palins are the poster family of family values (meaning there are no un-closeted homosexuals in their family).  And God knows that my family (non-church going, non-rule setting, school-is-for-losers educational philosophy) is NOT.  But.  That sulky boy who was eyeing Willow like she was a hot fudge sundae after she gave him the Come Hither look?  Would not be hanging around all sneaky-like in My House.  But then again, neither would Levi Johnston....and that just goes without saying.  So when Sarah (the mother of the house) told the sneaky-like boy to stay downstairs and not to follow Willow upstairs where de-flowering and de-filing could possibly take place, and Willow looked at him and rolled her eyes with a smirk, and then he JUMPED OVER THE BABY GATE AT THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS and WENT UP THERE ANYWAY, I was like REALLY?  This is cool?  This is entertaining and hilarious in an "Oh, look at those silly teenagers" way?  I was really dumbstruck that that particular scene made it into the show.  I would think it would look bad on several levels.  Because there's really no positive way to spin it.  It has to be spun as either:

1.  Something the show's producers set up for a Wow Factor (considering teen pregnancy is a well-publicized issue in the Palin household)....which would show really Bad Judgement on Sarah's part for allowing it in the show because, quite frankly, it makes the boy look disrespectful, it makes Willow look Not So Good, and it makes Sarah look ineffective.  So....if it wasn't set up by the producers....

2. It really happened.  And if it really happened?  Again - it makes the boy look bad, Willow look Not So Good, and Sarah look ineffective. 

I'm pretty sure if I continue in the direction I'm headed, God will punish me.  If I say what I'm going to say next, locusts, plagues, and Levi Johnston will be inflicted upon me.  But I'm going to say it anyway. 

The kids who regularly hang out in my home are not necessarily angels or perfect in any way (and that includes my own).  But none of them would EVER treat me the way that boy treated Sarah Palin.  None of them would ever blatantly do something I'd just asked them not to.  *Of course, it is unlikely I would have a rule like that in my house...but that just goes back to how we have no Family Values. 

But if I DID have a rule like that?  The young men who frequent my home with their copious amounts of hair and loud music and violent video games...are not sneaky and disrespectful.  They wouldn't jump the gate I'd just asked them to stay behind ON NATIONAL TELEVISION while my daughter waited for them upstairs in what had already been designated as an off limits area. 

Also??  My teenage daughter wouldn't want a boy like that around.  We have lots of boys around, her boyfriend, in particular, and friends of hers and friends of his and friends of my boys...and none of them are like that.  Sneakiness and Disrespect are generally unattractive qualities in boys for girls who have been raised with self-respect and confidence.

So why did that scene make it into the show?  Why is nobody else talking about it?  I'll tell you why.  It is the Sarah Palin Appeal Factor.  And the appeal factor is....WOW! Except for the really expensive house, the chartered plane, the $75,000 RV, the hot husband, the FOX News show appearances, and the fact that I don't exploit my children in a Reality TV Show (I exploit mine on a blog), Sarah Palin is just like me!!

That's it. That's all it has ever been.  People like to know that they're not the only ones who make mistakes.  They like to know that other people face challenges with their kids.  They like to know that other people don't always make the best decisions.  They like to know that other people might not know where Russia is or that Africa is a continent.  It makes them feel better about themselves. (I know Sarah Palin sure makes me feel better about myself.) 

I'm not always the Mother of the Year...ask anyone who has spent any amount of time around me and they'll tell you that.  Ask my kids and they'll tell you that. Ask my hungry dog and he'll tell you that.  But maybe if Sarah spent less time on television and more time paying attention to what's going on in her own household....oh my....I sound a little bit like June Cleaver there, don't I?  I hate that.  So I'll stop now.

*If you're going to comment, keep it classy.  I love it when people agree with me - I really do!  But don't dis the Palin kids 'cause they're just kids and it's not their fault that their mom is putting them out there...ya know?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Was a Road and Air Trip


Here I am, trying to be all reasonable and less wordy and yes....less wordy but I'm BURSTING with all this good stuff to write about.  I mean, really.  It is Just Too Much.  But how does a girl with so much going on...Pick Just One?

Maybe with some help???

So Who Wants To Hear About:

a).  My Trip to The Great White North With Ellie and How I Totally DID NOT GET FELT UP at the Airport but did get to have coffee with Pamela at The Dayton Time (which almost made up for the lack of airport sex but not quite...)?

b).  My Noteworthy Opinions of Sarah Palin's Alaska? *subtopic* my noteworthy opinions about Bristol's dancing included at no extra charge.

c).  Joel's Lame Geography Class and my Failure at Providing the Proper Parental Support in His Educational Endeavor Because the Geography Class Basically Sucks?

Oh no! You know what?  I basically can't do it.  I can't let you choose.  And I can't write about it all.  So I'm picking the trip with Ellie.  I'll try to get to the other 2 soon-ish.  Unless they get upstaged by Something Else!!! Which they totally could.

I just had the most wonderful vacation with Ellie.  We seriously had the best time in the entire history of best times.  And yesterday when we were flying home, I glanced over at the young woman sitting next to me...the one who I had laughed myself silly with over the past few days...and there she was...just sitting there reading and sipping on coffee...and it hit me.  The panic.  I had done really well with holding that off.  You know, the whole She's Leaving Me and Probably Going Really Far Away Panic Attack.  I had been holding that off totally like a big girl...keeping it in check with the whole This Is What I Had Her For In The First Place - To Grow Up And Isn't This Wonderful For Her Brave Face Business.  But it shattered in an instant.  I looked at this beautiful woman and realized that my baby was gone.  Gone!  As in disappeared off the face of the earth.  How did I let that happen?  I turned my back and lost her.  In an instant...she was there and gone.  I reached over and squeezed the young woman's hand.  She didn't freak out.  She isn't the kind of kid who is either demonstrative or touchy-feely (I have 2 of those so don't blame it on my horrible parenting)...but she allowed it.  She more than allowed it...she squeezed back.  Because she totally knew what was going on with me and had probably been dreading Some Big Sappy Scene the entire trip.  She was grateful for the silent hand squeeze...tolerated it nicely...and breathed a big old sigh of relief that it stopped there.  And it did stop there.  Because I really did anticipate her becoming a Real Person who would go off to do Real Person Things someday.  I cranked up something Entirely Inappropriate like Sir Psycho Sexy on my ipod, put my head up against the cold airplane window, and closed my eyes.  Which were totally not leaking, by the way.

That was just the introduction.  We flew out of San Antonio and into Orlando, of all places, on the way to Buffalo.  I know, right?  Southwest takes you on the Scenic Route. We had a really long layover in Orlando and we enjoyed Airport People Watching.  By the time we arrived in Buffalo it was late.  We rented our car, found the hotel, and went to sleep.  How is that for details??  In the morning, we drove into Rochester where Ellie had a piano lesson scheduled at the famous Eastman School of Music.  As we hit downtown Rochester, we were kind of looking for a downtown "campus" of sorts...because that is the way schools and universities tend to present themselves around here.  But it was all urban downtownishness....big old beautiful building after big old beautiful building and then on one of the buildings we see that it says Eastman School of Music and Ellie just gasped. 

It was gorgeous and had a Very Big and Important Feel to it. 

We hit the Admissions Office where Ellie had scheduled a tour, and there we met 3 other kids...two voice students (one of whom was freaking adorable with the curly hair business and I liked her immediately because she was bubbly and visibly awe-struck by her surroundings and oh also??  After being shown the Very Important Portrait of Mr. Eastman...she tripped and threw her coffee on it.  Luckily, it was so important, it was covered in glass and she left no permanent mark on The Eastman School of Music via coffee stained could you NOT love this kid after that?) and a tiny little thing who played the trombone.  I so wanted to hear her whip out that thing and play it...because I bet she's awesome...but it didn't happen.  And come to think of it, I didn't hear a single trombone all day.  But I heard lots and lots of operatic singing and strings and woodwinds and a rather frantic sounding xylophone....and of course, piano.

How do I describe Eastman?  It is like a grand museum with grand staircases and marble floors and ridiculously high ceilings and tons and tons of portraits on the walls of famous people who have taught there.

And then there was the Kodak Theater. 

When we walked into the theater we were just so hushed and reverent...and then I saw that the curly-headed coffee thrower was crying...(seriously, you love her, right???) and I started to tear up over her tearing up and I looked at my kid who was Totally Not Crying but wanting to get into a practice room.  Because she is like that and how could you not love her and the ironic fact that she came from ME??

Speaking of practice rooms, the ones we were taken to were literally in the bowels of the building and had a dungeon-y feel to them.  Ellie loved it and practiced her heart out while I read and tried not to be a distraction.  After an hour or so we headed over to where she was supposed to sit in on a studio class.  This was in the student living center, across the street from the older building we had been in all day.  In addition to dorm rooms, cafeterias, etc...there are also studios and recital spaces (of course) and it was in one of these that she attended the studio class.  A studio class is where a specific teacher's students meet and perform one at a time...they are required to do this weekly and it is a VERY LONG CLASS.  This one was something like 3 hours.  When Ellie came out (that's right...I opted out), it was time to run back across the street for her private lesson, which she totally enjoyed.  By the time she was done it was dark outside and when we walked to our car we saw that the entire Eastman School was lit up with beautiful lights and all around it were people walking on sidewalks or crossing streets with instrument cases (some of them very large) and it was just gorgeous. 

The next day we had a decent drive into Ohio, but first we stopped to hook up with bloggy friend, Pamela.  We sat in a little diner in a beautiful little town for like 3 hours laughing with Pamela, who was not a disappointment in real life, by the way.  Sometimes people are.  She wasn't.  LOVED HER.  And so did Ellie.

We hit the toll (again) and my big fear was that I would be the Hold Up at the toll booth but I hardly ever was.  Ellie paid the tolls until she ran out of money, at which point the whole process had taken its toll on her (ha ha...pathetic I know).  Also?  People are nicer there.  Because as Ellie says, "Everything is better there, Mom." When we told people we were driving from Rochester to Cleveland they acted like this was a long haul, but we are from Texas and it is not a long haul...the school Ellie is looking at in Texas is a 7-hour drive for us....this was nowhere near that.

On Sunday we did a little sightseeing in the area - hit a great vegan spot in Cleveland Heights that Pamela is Ellie waiting for her falafel.

On the way home we decided we wanted to hit a Drunkin' Donuts because we hardly have any of them left in Texas and Drunkin' Donuts is awesome...especially the jelly-filled, which are REALLY jelly-filled and not filled with canned pie filling like that Krispy Kreme nonsense.  So we consulted Garmin, who had been really annoying the entire trip, by the way....although we finally did end up settling with the Australian Male Voice and he seemed to be the calmest one of the bunch.  The Australian woman just didn't work...whenever she said she was reclculating she said it in a way that indicated she was just about fed up and had no idea how she was going to get us out of our latest mess.  The British guy did not sound like Russell Brand but did sound like a stuffy butler, so he didn't last long.  And the American Woman just flat pissed us off.  So we asked Garmin (I believe it was the hysterical Australian woman) to send us to a Drunkin Donuts and she did.  She sent us through a ski resort, a national park, and several residential neighborhoods to land us in the dark in front of a guy's house (he was leaf blowing) at the end of a cul-de-sac saying, "Arriving at destination. Dunkin Donuts on left."  Bitch.  So we tried again.  45 minutes later we triumphantly pulled up in front of a gas station Dunkin Donuts!

Monday found us driving to Oberlin Conservatory, which is the exact opposite of Eastman.  Where Eastman is urban, Oberlin is extremely rural.  It is a lovely place (especially if you're from a cattle ranch strewn with scrub brush and prickly pear cacti)...but is a tiny little speck in the middle of nowhere.  And Ellie loved it, too.  Entirely.  She appreciated the extreme natures of both places.  Again, at Oberlin, it was just amazing to hear the famous names who teach there or perform there or pass through (we just missed Stevie Wonder).  The dorms looked like Hogwarts castles...built in 1886 :). 

Unlike Eastman, it is on the campus of a liberal arts college....a very LIBERAL liberal arts college....and Ellie LIKED IT.  A lot. In fact, her little brain was already trying to figure out a way to add a Political Science second major in....and I wouldn't be surprised to see her do it although I think it would stress her out but who am I?

After our tour, which we enjoyed in the company of a jazz percussionist and a young man who said his instrument was "woodwinds" in "all of them," Ellie pulled out her phone and said, "I kinda know a guy here...actually I've never met him, but..." and in five minutes Elliott came running out and he is a voice major and he was a DOLL.  He gave us a Real Tour...into the dorms and the cafeteria (where he insisted on buying our lunch with his little meal card) and he even deposited Ellie in a practice room and me in the financial aid office. 

Elliott is from Houston and he told Ellie that you eventually get used to the cold...Ellie is always cold so I'm thinking NOT.  She layered like crazy during our trip because she doesn't even have a real coat...I also layered and let me just say that the layered look doesn't work as well for us chubby girls.  Ellie could just layer the heck out of herself and still be nimble and  Not so much.  We are putting a care package together for sweet Elliott.  Elliott also introduced her to a delightful voice student who freaking *hates* girl stuck "out in the middle of nowhere..." and she was hilariously delightful and I loved her because I tend to gravitate to the slightly cranky ones :).  She also looked at Ellie and said, "Piano?  But you're not Asian." Hilarious.  And we all know Ellie's Asian on the inside, anyway. 

While Ellie was holed away in a practice room (nice practice rooms - and they all are above ground and WITH WINDOWS!), I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and came across a freaking albino squirrel.  He must be fairly well-known on campus because nobody seemed nearly as thrilled by him as I was.

Ellie is used to being out in the middle of nowhere...she seriously would be happy at either of these awesome schools.  These Very Expensive Schools.  Which is why she very well might have to wait to get to awesome when she gets to grad school...a fact she totally gets.  And her backup plans are not too shabby - great Texas music schools - just not as exciting in the adventure category because the kid really wants to LEAVE ME. 

Okay, this is so long and now I don't have time to tell you about how our hotel room was haunted.  I know I just gave you a haunted story about my sister's house...and I'm not a ghost freak or anything like that.  But our room was haunted and Ellie will attest to it.  Another post for another day....behind the other two I promised you!

Signing Off as the Sardine Mama of a Soon-To-Be College Student

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who Doesn't Like a Little Bieber? Camille - That's Who.

First of all? I freaking love that you people can be guilted into commenting. This is seriously good to know. I don't usually have such luck with guilting people into doing what I kids are either a) sociopaths who have no feelings or b) desensitized to my attempts at guilting them into doing things.

As for me? Sheesh. I am a totally guilt-ridden person. I am the girl who would sign a confession for something she didn't do because...well, I don't know. It would make people like me? Oh wait...that's a separate issue.

So - thanks for the comments. Especially Helena and Carri - also known as My New Best Friends.

And to you lurkers out there? I am also a lurker on lots of blogs. And sometimes I comment. Sometimes this had led to great things. In fact, I used to lurk at The Dayton Time and then I commented and now guess what? Pamela and I are buds and are even planning on hooking up in a few days (not in a sexual way) even though I have to get on two airplanes and go someplace COLD in order to do so. If my kid ends up going to school where Pamela lives (that's why we're heading her way in the first place) then Pamela will be the one she calls at 3:00 a.m. because her appendix is about to rupture and she needs someone to go to the emergency room with her. Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of Pamela packing.

I've also gotten to be great friends with Mark...also known as My Loyal Follower and not in a scary way and I have had one or two of those, too. So lurkers...what I'm saying is...feel free to comment. You never know where it could lead...I am a needy girl and maybe we'll be Best Friends and you can do lots of things for me...hear that sound? That is the sound of people un-following me :).

So - onto other insignificant news. Camille's jazz class is doing a routine to Justin Bieber's Baby, Baby, Baby Oh! or whatever it's called and you know what? She DOESN'T LIKE JUSTIN BIEBER. I didn't know this about my own kid. I'm just...totally stunned. She said she's gone the entire year in jazz thinking it was a girl singing. Yes, she's homeschooled - but still - I just assumed she knew of The Bieber. And actually, she did know of TheBieber. But what she knew of The Bieber was what she learned from her brothers and that is probably the problem and come to think of it...that is probably the problem with a whole lot of things.

Me? I like The Bieber. Who doesn't like a little Bieber? Seriously, the kid can dance and he's got stage presence and is just adorably adorable and I grew up listening to Michael Jackson's Oh Baby Give Me One More Chance.... on my little record player... so boys singing like girls totally does not freak me out and in fact, kind of makes me feel warm and fuzzy. But you know what? I can't stand Lady Gaga. Sorry. I'm just not that into case you were thinking I was all pop culture and stuff on account of my liking a little Bieber. Do I have Justin on my ipod or anything weird like that??? No. I'm going to be 46 years old next month. Holy it 46 or 47? I can't remember. I'll do the math later. Anyway, it would be lovely to pop in a little Bieber in the car and take a listen but again...that would be WEIRD since the young girl in my car can't stand the sound of him. That would just leave me singing in the front seat. I need an excuse to be playing I'll have to work on Camille. Sometimes you need kids to provide you with an excuse to thousands of episodes Spongebob...or listen to Justin Bieber.

Speaking of Spongebob (were we speaking of Spongebob?) Jasper just came out of my bedroom with his eyes almost swollen shut and he swears he just watched 31 episodes (he didn't - but still - great parenting going on over here) and so I'd better get off the blog.

I was going to write about Joel's experience with Real School Work through his geography course and how I am really really really really glad my kids aren't in school...but I will save that for the next post.

Sardine Mama

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The People Have Spoken (without commenting, of course)

Okay, so I've taken pity on you people. That's right. I heard your silent protest...(and thanks, Mark, for my one and only comment...I appreciate the loyalty, brotha). So this post? Short and sweet. And with pictures for you slow readers.

I'm trying to get into a routine. I still haven't settled into one, and the school year, such as it is, is half over. I haven't been able to get up super early all year, and getting up super early is necessary or I start off trying to catch up all day and I hate it when that happens. The two little people get up super early...before me...and that nonsense has to stop. I need to be the first player on the field. The big boys (and that includes the dog), don't get up until lunch is ready...and that nonsense has to stop, too.

I TRY to get them up, and they fake me out by sitting up in bed and mumbling, but as soon as I leave they flop back down and do this.

When they finally crawl out of bed, they claim I never tried to wake them up. Now Ellie? She's up and about early because she looks down on slacking. In general. I figured that went without saying.

Ranger takes up most of Jasper's bed...but that's no problem-O because Jules fixed him a hammock out of a blanket. Am I the only one who notices that the blanket looks an awful lot like Ranger? See him sleeping behind Jasper?

So we did the Halloween thing. We took a couple's picture of Ellie and Cody (also known as Plain Jane and Plain John...look at the group photo).
And we took a couple's picture of Joel and Alyssa (yes, Joel is still rocking the Slash t-shirt....he takes it off to wash it). And Jules felt left out so we took a picture of him and Dave. Dave was initially Joel's friend....but Joel traded up for Alyssa.
Joel cheerfully let Jules wear Dave (a REALLY expensive mask). He and Alyssa went to a live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where he was appropriately traumatized. While they were waiting in line a happy camper gave him a Rice Krispie treat and Alyssa took it from him and said, "Don't eat that..." Thank you, Alyssa.

We headed out to trick-or-treat with the little people and their friends...starting at my sister's house. Here is Harlan sitting in her living room....her resident ghost was well-behaved for the evening. Harlan asked his mom for 2 yards of white fabric and he came up with this! (Sorry this is fuzzy - I basically suck at working my camera)

So that is basically IT. I'm not saying any more. I'm totally, entirely, done. Seriously. I'm not going to whine about how much driving I've been doing because Ellie's pimp car is broken down again and how even TODAY (a Saturday)...I had to get up in the middle of the night to take her to a local high school to take her SAT Subject tests that are required of homeschoolers...or how I took her to piano and to the hand doctor and shopping for sweaters...(I'd tell you that the sweater shopping was for our upcoming trip to Rochester and Oberlin but I don't want to risk overwhelming you with too many details). Later today I have to take Joel to guitar lessons....and earlier in the week we had an orthodontist appointment and of course, jazz and ballet....I don't even know how many miles I put on the bus (we live approximately NOWHERE NEAR any of the above-mentioned places). Anyway, I won't bore you with all of that.

Now on all of these runs I'm not talking about? Jules and Jasper refuse to go. They are total hermits. They never want to leave the house. Ever. Since Jules is forced to get out twice a week for Odyssey and Chess Club...I let him off the hook. But Jasper? Has no activities, doesn't want any activities, and I'm seriously concerned about the onset of agoraphobia.

I'm always like, Dude, come to the store with me! I'll buy you a doughnut.

Jasper: Just bring me a doughnut.

Me, checking Jasper for signs of lichens and moss growing on his backside: "No, come with me! It'll be fun! We'll listen to R.E.M.!

Jasper considers it, because he loves R.E.M.
Me: Come on! Grab your spine and your orange crush! You can't always stand in the place where you live, dude. It'll be awesome....Night Swimming...Day Sleeping...Come on....seriously....I'm losin' my religion over here.

Jasper: you know where any socks are?

Me: Never mind. Because I would rather walk across hot coals than search for clean socks.

But last week? He INSISTED on going with me to take Camille to ballet. And, even though I'm not going to tell you about it, let me just say that this totally sucked because while I whine about taking Camille to dance (because I totally deserve to whine, that's why) I secretly "enjoy it" (I am so glad I'm not sharing this with you) because I go and hang out in a coffee shop where I am considered a "regular" and where "other regulars" know not to sit in my seat. And while I'm there I write smut and consume caffeine and it is all great fun. Taking Jasper? Not great fun. But I occasionally take Joel and/or Jules and they both dig hanging out in the coffee shop reading graphic novels (teen porn). And Jasper wanted his turn. And I won't go into our conversation because I'm trying to keep it short but it went something like this:

Me: Dude, I'm in there a really long time. Two hours. That is like 4 episodes of Spiderman.

Jasper: Dude, that's not long at all. I hear there's hot cocoa there and I'm going.

Me: I'll take you to guitar lessons, that's only 30 minutes.

Jasper: Is there hot cocoa there?
Me: Dang.

So Jasper brought one Spiderman book that he can't read, one piece of blank paper, and one brown crayon. Approximately 3.7 seconds of entertainment. When we got there? To my perfect little coffee shop where I'm kind of like Norm on Cheers (or my friend Kari walking into a tattoo parlor) and everybody knows my name? Actually, they don't know my name, but they darn well know where I like to sit and that is way more important. Anyway, it was FULL of irregular people as opposed to the regular people and one of them was in my chair and I was forced to sit at a table in the middle of the room where everyone who walks by can read over my shoulder and see that I'm writing smut.

Luckily for me....I had JASPER with me and he was high-maintenance and needy-in-general and requiring massive amounts of attention once he had flipped through his book and drawn a circle on his piece of paper. So there was no smut-writing....and Jasper did impress me by effectively throwing the evil eye for over thirty minutes solid at the guy reading a book IN MY CHAIR.

Anyway, so yeah, I've been driving a lot and that's all. Aren't you glad I didn't bore you with the details?