Saturday, December 30, 2006

Adding The Lady Justitia

Due to my (Cassie) error; The Lady Justitia was not included on the page as a link. This was a gross oversite and I have been duly reprimanded.

Thank you!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I guess I passed...

I studied really hard for my sleep test last night.

Apparently, I don't sleep very well. I went to bed at the Sleep Study Center about 10 pm, after an hour of being glopped and goobed with goo and wires. Then I coughed for a while, got up to use the bathroom--although before my foot hit the floor I heard a shriek from the walls, "Don't move! Wait for me!" and April came trotting in to unhook my motherboard and wrap it around my neck.

Back to bed, more coughing, right side, left side, cough some more, stare at the night light on my finger (they said it was measuring my oxygen, but it didn't have any little ruler lines on it), and after some more coughing April came in with some water. I was grateful, although it was hard to swallow with wires hanging out of my nose. I thought I fell asleep a few times, but after a while April appeared again with a sleeping pill. I guess it worked. When I woke up at 8:30 this morning, I had a mask covering my nose, and I don't know how it got there.

So, April said I was getting about 60% oxygen, which sounds like not such a good thing to me. She said I'll probably get a machine to wear on my face when I sleep. After breakfast, they put the night light back on my finger and I went back to sleep until about 10, when I dragged myself home.

I don't recommend sleep tests, for the record. I didn't like being away from home and hooked up to all those wires and having people speak to me from the walls. On the other hand, I felt pretty good today. And that's worth a lot. I've had a bad bout of bronchitis--my yearly illness--and had begun to feel like I wasn't going to recover, so I'm wondering if half the night with the C-PAP made this huge difference in how I feel. I haven't felt really good in years. Could the C-PAP be the answer to prayer?

By the way, April said it can be genetic, and both my children have sleep apnea, and so does my ex. Maybe we got it from him?

Resolutions

I gave up making New Year's Resolutions years ago. I always started out strong, and with great committment, waiting for January 1 so I could put my resolution into practice. I knew there was magic in the process, and somehow, mysteriously, I would be a completely different person by January 2.

Year after year I vowed and resolved to do all the things that would change me into the person I so much wished to be: I would diet, lose weight, exercise daily, read my Bible religiously, never raise my voice in anger, stop complaining, learn to be content and make lemonade out of my life-lemons, journal daily, write a novel, take classes, clean the closets...

I don't know if I could live with myself if I became the person who did all those things! All these years later, the worst that's happened is that I am older, and not so disappointed with who I am, in spite of my resolution failures. Along the way, I learned some things.

People like me; it's easy to be on the A List when I make the list myself! I do things that matter to me, and that makes a difference to others. It doesn't matter what others think; I have opinions, they're mine, so there. I make mistakes and life goes on. My grandchildren think I'm great, and who matters more than they do? And when I have bad days, I know they'll pass.

So, I don't make New Year's Resolutions any more. Rather, I limit myself to one that I make anew each day--sometimes several times a day--to keep doing the best I know how. No one can hope to achieve perfection, the best resolution is to just keep practicing.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What do you want for breakfast? I asked Jack.

"Mashed 'tatos," he answered. I looked in the fridge and couldn't find any leftover mashed potatos, so he settled for pumpkin pie.

Daycare was closed today, and mama had to work, so I stayed with Jack. After we made about 72 play-doh balls we played twucks for a while. Mostly, Jack likes to sit on the floor and cwash the twucks into each other. I hate to think when he starts driving... By the time we finished cwashing twucks, yaya was getting pretty tired (must be all the meds) so we 'nuggied into the big chair and watched the new VeggieTales movies. Jack has The Toy That Saved Christmas, and The Star of Christmas. Both were pretty cute, and Jack was wonderful to snuggle down with me so I could doze until we took our nap.

Even though I was completely at peace with my little guy, it was nice to see daddy arrive home early. I came home and took another nap. I'll probably start feeling good by next Tuesday, when I have to be back at work.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve



It is the wee hours of Christmas Eve...1am in fact. I've been wrapping gifts all evening. The cat and I are trying to get in the mood for Christmas. As I put things together for the local grand, I found gifts I forgot to mail to the Houston grands. I guess they'll enjoy getting an after-the-fact package.

I so looked forward to this break, and I have been so sick with this miserable cold it hasn't been much fun so far. My son in law's parents and Granny came up for the holiday, and they all are doing their Christmas tomorrow. I didn't understand why, exactly, but it's ok with me. My daughter graciously invited me to come over and join the morning mayhem, but I opted out. It is a long trip for them to be with their family and they don't need me there. I always have plenty of time with Jack and his mommy and daddy.

My friend gave me an opportunity to 'gift' her yesterday morning. She needed someone to stay with her mother (in her 90s) while she went to the airport to pick up daughter #3 and husband, so I went over in my robe and nightgown and slept on the couch for a couple of hours. Grandma didn't wake up, and neither did I. This friend has always, always, always been there for me; I'm so glad I could do something so simple to make her life a little easier.

I've uploaded a digital picture of my little tree. I can't seem to focus, and I don't know how this picture came out. I hope it's ok...I also didn't check it before I uploaded it. I know how to turn on the camera, and I push buttons randomly until something happens. I'm going to see if my daughter knows how to erase all the pictures in its memory.

Ok, I'm going to take out the trash and check the mail. Yes, I said it is 1am, and I haven't done either of those yet. Then I think I'll turn off every light in the house and go to bed. Happy Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas-ish



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In the first image, I was playing with some items to see if I could put together a collage I might use as a Christmas card. I wasn't happy with the result for a card, but it's ok, and shows a couple of pieces I have stitched. The Santa is a pin, and the other two are ornaments for grands. The second image is oil pastels and acrylic paint. This is an art project I found for a teacher friend to use in her classroom. Her students' projects turned out wonderfully! They were made into notecards which the PTA will sell. I sketched a simple design, colored it with oil pastels on printer paper, then carefully wrinkled the finished project. After smoothing it out, I painted it with a thinned mixture of acrylic paint ("Soldier Blue") and water, then rinsed it and laid it flat to dry. The paint adhered to the cracks created by wrinkling the paper, and gives it a batik effect. I kind of like it.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jingly Things

Himself was a cute little elf. He sang with gusto, shook his wrist energetically (unfortunately, NOT the wrist witht he jingle bells on), and looked absolutely adorable in his elf hat. And then he saw me and shouted, "Yaya!" and waved and waved. He made it through the Toddler Two part of the program, but collapsed in a heap of artistic nerves and tears at the grand finale, so we didn't hear him sing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." It was a wonderful program. I didn't know other people's kids could be cute, but they were.

Earlier today I had a phone conversation with my Houston Grands. Typically, I asked questions and they answered when they remembered they were on the phone. The oldest turned 8 yesterday. I made him a secret book: a copy of Treasure Island cleverly hollowed out to create a secret place to keep special things. It was worth the extra $$ to the post office to know that he received his birthday gift on his birthday. And I am pleased that the gifts (and the little boy's Christmas stocking) arrived before Christmas Day. Their first Christmas together, I didn't get things mailed until January. Now you know what kind of Grandma I am.

In my defense, I'm fighting an awful cold. I began coming down with it while our power was out last week, and stayed home Monday and today from work. I was a mess yesterday, too, and never should have gone in. Now I am officially on Winter Break, which I choose to refer to as Christmas vacation. My time is my own. I can stay up as late as I want; only I'm so tired with the cold that I just want to go to bed, so that's my plan.

TTFN

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's so nice to have heat again!

It was our turn, and I really don't mean to complain. So many people have been hit hard with natural disasters over the past year or two, I almost feel petty mentioning it. Nevertheless, our huge windstorm knocked the power out Thursday evening, and we didn't get it back until evening yesterday (Saturday).

The fireplace helped a little, although I don't have a woodpile, and those 3-hour logs don't give out too much heat. I have a gas stove, and was able to light it with a match, so I could have hot water and I could cook on the stovetop. It did get pretty cold in here, and I spent a portion of yesterday at my friend's house, where I took a shower and curled up to nurse my chestcold.

I got home in time to throw myself together before another friend picked me up to go to the Christmas Revels. We went last year, and it was great fun aqain this year. http://www.pugetsoundrevels.org/ This link will tell you more about it, but in a nutshell it included some of the history Quebec and the French Canadians, a dance duel between a French Canadian and the devil, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance (http://www.timetravel-britain.com/columns/traditions/traditions01.shtml), and the Rapper Sword Dance (http://www.kickback.btinternet.co.uk/Mr.Leslies/Banbury.Rapper.html). There are many other things, and the audience participates in some of it. I'm really glad I had the chance to go, and I send my gratitude to the friend who invited me.

Meanwhile, Christmas moves toward me at an alarming pace, and I am not prepared. My greatest concern is getting the packages out. Cassie says nothing will arrive in time now...to which I say phooey, and why didn't I get things together sooner, and that won't stop me trying. So, I'm off to wrap and pack!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

What does a sheep say?

According to Jack, a sheep says "blaaah!" This just cracked me up. I went over for tree decorating this afternoon. While Jack was playing with the nativity figures, we asked him what a sheep says. His mommy and I thought that was a pretty cool answer.

I didn't go with them to the tree farm today; I was concerned my back wouldn't let me do the walking involved. It's a family tradition, and it delights me that they are able to continue it. In 1977, when Steve was three, his preschool class made a fieldtrip to a treefarm (The Green Branch Ranch, now defunct) to cut and buy a Christmas tree for their school. I didn't go on that field trip, but I think the kids' dad probably did. At any rate, we liked the idea, and a tradition was born.

When we were stationed at Scott AFB in southern Illinois, in 1984, we found a tree farm there to continue our tradition. If there was snow, the trip was especially fun, and if not, a trek through the mud wasn't so bad. There was always a candy cane and hot cocoa to enjoy, too.

I don't know if they have tree farms in Texas where the other grands live. My cousins in Michigan used to (and maybe still) take truckloads of trees to Texas for Christmas sales.

Finish of story: Jack had a wonderful time helping to decorate the tree. His daddy was so patient with him, teaching him how to hang the ornaments, and the tree was very pretty with it's cluster of decorations all at Jack's eye level. These are the important parts of holidays: passing on the traditions.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas is coming,

The goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny
In an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny,
A ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
Then God Bless You.

No idea where or when I learned this rhyme. I like it, though. And it kind of makes me think of the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. My mom and dad believed in the Salvation Army, and a childhood Christmas tradition was putting loose change in the kettle. I also remember mom and dad discussing how much they would send in a check to the SA. So, of course, I continued the tradition, and when my children were young, I gave them change to drop into the kettle.

There was a bellringer at one of the stores I visited over this holiday weekend. Since I didn't roam very far or visit very many places, it had to have been Michael's, I think. Anyway, I was delighted to see that dear person, a lovely man who offered God's blessing to me as I dropped in a small donation. For years a bellringer would linger outside Target, and I always felt happy at this childhood memory. When Target decided against having the bellringers, I thought it was the end of an era, so I was doubly pleased to the gentleman this weekend.

I have a lot of admiration for people who act on their faith. I admire the Mormon missionaries who come by, and the Jehovahs who proselytize on my street - even though I am not willing to convert - and the bellringers who donate their time to collecting.

I do believe that I have a ministry, too. My ministry includes working with children, it includes my art and my writing and my needlework. Hmm. I'll have to think about that.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Letting People Down

I have a dear friend who frequently tells me how much she admires me for always taking care of myself. To me, it feels like surviving. Maybe the two aren't that far apart.

I have another dear friend who always says "yes." Teach Sunday School? Be in charge of Vacation Bible School? Emcee the school talent show? Have 1200 people over for Thanksgiving? She seems to thrive on doing so much, and everything is always done well.

Several weeks ago at a meeting at church I volunteered to make some posters for our Hanging of the Greens (all-church decorating for Christmas), and for the Christmas Revels (a custom brought to us from England by one of our parishioners, to add to the seasonal celebration). Of course, I didn't know at the time that I would be dealing with some difficult personal issues that might get in the way.

So the posters aren't done. I've stepped down and away from my obligations at church. I can't step away from my job without giving up my living, and something had to give. I already had given up a great deal of my personal pleasures. I can't see to drive to Calligraphy Guild or Writer's Roundtable, and even if I could, I'm too tired after all the other obligations are met. I'm feeling pretty badly about all of this, frankly. Resentment that my job and my health are taking such a toll. Sadness that I have let people down. Physical pain. Emotional pain.

Maybe things are getting better. I hope so. I did vacuum most of the house yesterday, and it has been a couple of months... Living alone isn't always a bowl of cherries.
You Are Lisa Simpson

A total child prodigy and super genius, you have the mind for world domination.

But you prefer world peace, Buddhism, and tofu dogs.

You will be remembered for: all your academic accomplishments

Your life philosophy: "I refuse to believe that everybody refuses to believe the truth"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving! Why, yes it was...

Son in law must have worked hard because it was a great meal. He did sweet potatoes in a candied orange sauce that was new to me, and delicious. And he always makes a large, generous bowl of REAL mashed potatoes. We had turkey with dressing, of course, and an excellent green bean casserole (my contribution), and all-in-all it was a great meal.

After dinner, Jack and I retired to the bedroom to play, while Mama read the paper and Daddy fell asleep in his recliner. We played with Bob Da Mato. We put him to bed, gave him a binky, and sang to him. Then we tucked in the big rubber ball and gave it a binky... After we tired of putting the toys to bed, we played ring-around-the-rosy, we sang the ABC song a few times, we played catch...it was so fun. After a while my bottom just couldn't take floor, and we retired to the living room, where Jack tucked his blanket around Daddy, and tucked his stuffed puppy under the blanket, too.

I must add that one of the highlights of the day was the phone call this morning. I answered the phone to hear a dainty little princess wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. The princess is 4. She is smart, funny, and beautiful, and I hardly understand a word she says on the phone (I really think it's my hearing, not her talking). Then her big brother wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and ignored me for a while. I don't know what happens to their dad when they call. It's almost as if he fades into the ether. At any rate, it was wonderful to talk to my little ones in Texas. I surely do miss them.

I hope all the rest of you had as nice a day as I did.
You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

You Are The Moon

You represent the unconscious side of life, what happens in dreams.
You are capable of great genius - but also of great madness.
Emotions tend to be primal for you, both your fears and your fantasies.
Your intuition is always right, listening to it is the difficult part.

Your fortune:

You are about to embark on a very important journey - and a very difficult one.
Some of your deepest dreams will be realized, as well as some of your deepest nightmares.
Follow your creativity and visions; stay away from your weaknesses.
You are taking a voyage to the center of yourself, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

Tough Weekend

I've been home sick for four days. Not much fun, but I've slept a lot and watched a lot of tv, finished two books and begun another. Wrote a few lines on my novel (yeah, I'm even doing that), and last night I hollowed out a book for my grandson.

Remember those secret books that opened to be a box containing a treasure? I stopped by the Goodwill while I was out yesterday and picked up an old, inexpensive copy of Treasure Island. I've left a few pages in the front loose, so the book appears to be normal...then several pages are glued together and a flap that opens and closes is cut into them.

Then, using a box cutter, I measured and cut a rectangle through the next 300 pages, and have begun gluing all of tose pages together. When finished, I'll tuck some money inside, and wrap the whole thing for his birthday, with a note telling him his gift has a secret...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

***You Are Likely a First Born***


At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.


The Birth Order Predictor
http://www.blogthings.com/birthorderpredictorquiz/
***Your Inner Child Is Surprised***


You see many things through the eyes of a child.
Meaning, you're rarely cynical or jaded.
You cherish all of the details in life.
Easily fascinated, you enjoy experiencing new things.


How Is Your Inner Child?
http://www.blogthings.com/howisyourinnerchildquiz/
Your Vocabulary Score: A

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesdays

I don't know why people have problems with Mondays. Tuesdays are the worst. Where I work, Mondays are pretty mellow. I think everyone, including students, is tired from staying up too late or playing too hard on the weekend. On Tuesdays it all catches up.

There are a couple of little boys I can depend on to wreak havoc on any given Tuesday. They are both darling little boys in first grade, cute as buttons, and both are very intelligent. Today was a Tuesday, and I'm not going to tell much. Let it be said that they were both rarin' for a Tuesday; they did not disappoint any of the staff who have come to know them. They sure are cute, though. Lucky for them. (I jest!!!)

Not only was my Tuesday blessed with them, I had a student come to see me - I had forgotten I had scheduled her, so she was a surprise. I didn't bat an eye, professional that I am, but pulled my notes on her (I was so excited that I remembered her name) and saw where we had left off, and picked it back up in a very smooth move. I hadn't had more than half a dozen words fall from my lips when a second student plopped herself down at the table. "Did I send for you?" "Yeah, remember once you said on Friday..." "No. I did not send for you. Did your teacher send you?" "Yeah, remember when you said once..." "No, your teacher did not send you. You need to go back to class." "But once you said..." "No. You may not come to see me unless you bring a note from your teacher." "But once you told me..." "I told you I would talk to you, and I did. We already did that. You may not come to me without a note." "But you said..." "You must go back to class now." "But I want to stay here. Remember, you said..." "Go back to class." "But you said..." "Go back to class." "But..." "Go back to class."

How is that for counseling technique? Really, this little doll is also precious, but has a habit of doing whatever is desired, whenever the mood hits, and we work to reinforce getting permission. It seems this child overheard the other one talk to the teacher about coming to see me, and had a wonderful idea to do the same. It is special to be loved in this way.

And just as my office was emptying out and I was getting ready for my afternoon at my other school, the boys hit again. Not to worry. I called the other school and explained that we had a lot of stuff going on, and I wouldn't be over today, ending with, "I don't really have anything scheduled except the first grade lunch group, so if you could let that teacher know I won't be there..."

This is a Tuesday, remember. So as soon as I finished my lunch the secretary called me back and said, "Mr _____ is gone, and we just had a call from CPS about a situation and we need you to come over after all." No problem. All the children were nestled, all snug in their desks, pe classes, or recesses, so off I went.

It was a Tuesday there, too. But mostly only for me. I forgot that I was going to have lunch with a teacher and show her how to conduct a test she was unfamiliar with. I forgot that I had scheduled a couple of students. I forgot that I was scheduled to do a lesson on bullying in a 4th grade classroom. And where did that stack of student cumulative files come from? Meeting? What meeting? Oh, I'm sorry - I completely spaced on the special ed social skills group...

Oh yeah, the CPS situation never happened. Probably because it was a Tuesday.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How it began...

I had to look it up to check the accuracy of my memory, and it's a good thing I did, because I didn't have it quite right.

Veteran's Day had its beginnings at the end of WWI. At 11:00 in the morning, on the 11th day of the 11th month - November 11, 1918, a truce was signed which ended the first World War.

World War I involved 35 countries and was proclaimed "the war to end all wars."

"(Armistice) day was set aside to reflect and remember the sacrifices men and women made during World War I in order to ensure peace. The first official celebration was on November 11th, 1919. Veterans who survived the war marched in parades and were hometown heroes. A Veteran is any soldier who has fought in a war. Ceremonies were held and speeches were made. World War I was called ‘the war to end all wars’ because everyone hoped there would never be another one.

Almost 20 years later in 1938, Congress voted Armistice Day a federal holiday. Unfortunately the very next year, in 1939, World War II began."
(quote from Wikipedia)

After the second World War, in the US, the name was changed to Veterans Day, to honor all who served in any of our country's conflicts.

On Thursday my elementary school honored veterans with a special assembly. Veterans in our community are invited to attend, and are recognized and asked to stand as their hear "their" song sung in a medley of service songs by our students.

With several military installations surrounding us, the area has the honor of supporting many, many veterans. My thanks to all of them.

Thank You






Find a veteran, and thank him or her for answering the call to defend and protect us. Me. My children and grandchildren.

I honor my grandfather, Steve, who served in the US Cavalry during the Spanish-American War;
my father, Ed, who served in the Air Force during WWII, the Berlin Air Lift, Korea, and Vietnam;
my father-in-law, Earl, also a "lifer" and veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam;
my former husband, Lee, a Vietnam era veteran who served for 22 years, and who was there when the Berlin Wall came down;
my son, an Air Force Linguist who is a veteran of Operation Allied Forces;
my son-in-law, who served in Kosovo;
and all of the parents of "my" students at the two military bases my school district serves.

Thank you! Thank you!

Sunday, November 5, 2006

What do they want of me?

Tomorrow I have to get a crown. On my tooth. Friday I get a physical and an eye exam. It seems like I'm always having something looked at lately, and I don't appreciate it. I have pretty much all the same parts I came into the world with, except for a couple of teeth and a gall bladder, but the parts don't work like they used to and I don't appreciate that, either. I wasn't ever going to get old. I remember thinking it wouldn't happen to me. My parents were old. Then my parents died, and that wasn't in my plan, either.

Shoot. It just doesn't seem fair.

Silliness

I sat through a long day of training on Friday. Some of it was pretty good stuff, and some of it was so basic (to my specific job) that it was pretty dull. We spent a good share of the morning on collaborative IEPs. The gist of the presentation had to do with listening skills and a team approach to writing an IEP. The listening skills and teamwork are what I teach. The IEPs, on the other hand, are written by the special ed professionals who are trained in the Law. Usually I am a "related service" on an IEP, and as such should have some input; but I am not required to write them. For whatever reason, I am finding more and more often that I am written into an IEP to provide counseling toward social skills. I think it is odd that social skills - those rules of social behavior we learn as we grow up - need to be taught in school. Forgive my sarcasm here, but do parents have any responsibility anymore? Or is it their job just to pop kids out and leave the rest to the teachers?

I digress. The rest of the morning had to do with writing 504 Plans. This is training I have had up to Here, but in our eclectic group, it was necessary because not all are familiar with it. So, to while away ten of the minutes, and I really did take notes, by the way, I wrote:

Ode to a Fallen Leaf

O little bud where has thou gone?
Uncurl'ed in the warm spring sun,
Thou stretched and grew til fully formed.
Then turn'ed red and fell to ground
And crumbled to dust without sound.
And yet once more thou shall appear
As a brave new bud again next year.

Well, it ain't Shakespeare, but it amused me.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

That Smell Reminds Me of...

My friend Hannelie recently posted about smells. Our sense of smell can trigger emotions related to memories we don't consciously remember. It also can simply carry us back in time to pleasant moments. The smell of fresh, moist earth, for instance, takes me back to my Grandma's cellar. That particular cellar was carved out of the firm clay soil of middle Michigan. The walls and floor were earth. Against the far wall, across from the door, stand some shelves. They hold a number of glass kerosene lamps. To the left of the door is a worn, wooden counter or table, where Grandma sorted eggs. She kept chickens for a long time, and sometimes I helped gather eggs. Grandma had regular customers who bought these eggs. To the right of the doorway is the well pump. It didn't look anything like a pump. It was not an old fashioned handpump, but rather an electric pump that brought up well water into the house.

My mom baked bread frequently, because she enjoyed the process, and we all enjoyed eating it. The smell of bread baking doesn't trigger that memory, however. Instead, it makes me think of snow days, when the kids were little and we were a family all together. On snow days, when school was cancelled, I liked to bake bread and make chicken noodle soup. Unlike grandma, I didn't kill and pluck my own chicken. Like grandma, I cooked a chicken, or whatever pieces I had in the freezer, with good vegetables to make a rich broth, and just before suppertime, I added good, thick noodles. Once or twice I made noodles like Grandma always had - a lot of work! It was (and is) much easier to pour in a bag of Kluski noodles. They are almost as good!

What smells and memories are entwined for you?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sick Babies and Short Weekends

I made beef stew today. It was really good, with plenty of good potatoes and carrots and onions, and I threw in Bisquik dumplings for good measure. MMmmmm. So DD and family came over to help eat it. The little guy was running a high temp: about 101 under his arm. He was so lethargic, and just wanted to be held, which was easy to want to do, considering how sad he was.

Mom finally gave him some Tylenol, and within 20 minutes he perked right up. Play-Doh everywhere, and he helped me sort the piles of paper that are left after paying the bills, and he was in a very good mood, unless someone suggested he might possibly consider saying "please" when he wanted something. Then all you-know-what broke loose and he screamed and cried and carried on... It was like watching Dr Jekyll turn into Mr Hyde. Poor little guy. He wanted to lie down and be covered with 17 blankets. No, that wasn't it...he wanted to drink chocolate milk...no, not that either...he wanted dinner -- nope, never mind, not that...maybe a pillow...or, I know! Put play-doh in and out of a paper bag for a while. Add some magazines. Be content sitting on the floor until...until...Dog Treats! He wanted dog treats! Not very many; just some. Except Mom was so darn unreasonable and took them away and then, of course, he had no choice but to get mad and cry and sob and hollar.

Meanwhile, I could use another day to get some more of this house cleaned up. I couldn't find the vacuum yesterday. I guess it had been so long since I used it... But there it was, at last, tucked in the back of the closet behind the coats with pillows piled on it. So now it is sitting in the bedroom where I can't miss it. And, as I said, I need a longer weekend so I have time to actually use it.

Women of Faith

They were funny, tender, bittersweet, dynamic, and inspiring. They were slick and glitzy and 'Hollywood.' They tottered around on 3 inch spike heels, urging us to take care of ourselves, and didn't seem to see any irony there. They spoke of their challenges in life, and God's help and presence in those challenges; and they spoke of the rewards God has seen fit to provide to them.

And 15,000 women, each paying $$ for a ticket, tote bags for $60.00, books and CDs for sale, the hotels booked up, $8.00 hamburgers $3.00 for 12 ounces of water inside the Rose Garden Arena where we were isolated from competitive pricing, I would say that much of Portland, OR also reaped rewards through the Women of Faith.

This long-awaited "conference" with my friends was nothing like I expected. First, to call it a conference is to imply that there is an exchange of ideas, and there was no exchange here. The speakers were excellent, mind you, and inspiring, but this was a Program, not a conference. We were an audience, not participants.

So, the seats were small and crowded, as is the tradition in any arena because it is important to crowd as many money-payers as possible into the space available; the comfort of those paying is the least important consideration. The steps were difficult to negotiate, mostly because there were so many of us there. The sound system certainly was in good working order. It is a week later, and my ears are still ringing. And of what value is it to pay sums of money to attend an event that is so ****ing large it has to be viewed on television screens even when one is there in person?

Never mind the part about the breaks, when 15,000 women descended upon inadequate bathrooms and food vendors en mass: good, Christian women, pushing and shoving and elbowing each other out of the way in their desperate need to be First In Line.

I think, as for me and myself, I will look for God in the flowers of my garden. I listen for God's voice in the song of the birds and the breeze sighing through tree branches. I will feel God's touch in the warm sun on shoulders or the rain falling on my head, or the hugs of my grandchildren. I will worship and pray in my heart while I stitch quietly at my needlework or while I talk to a hurting child or offer comfort to a colleague.

I probably won't go to another Women of Faith Conference, even when they have a surprise appearance by Dr Phil.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My Son-In-Law

Just about five years ago (in August) my DD began seeing a young soldier stationed nearby. I remember that she seemed to like him, and I remember telling her I thought he was cute. We were sitting on the back deck one warm evening. He was away with his unit, fighting fires up north. I was just one month out of the disaster that I had married.

So, we sat there in the dark, drinking diet Coke, relaxing, and talking about life in general, when the phone rang. Young soldier calling DD. "Oh, Hi-i-i..." she said, smiling. Later on he would tease her a little about that greeting. It wasn't long when he was back from the fire-fighting, and they began seeing each other regularly. In fact, within a month he came home with her one evening...and never left. They have been together ever since.

They are married now, of course, and have given me such a fun little grandboy. And this weekend my son in law turns 30. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!! I love you. I love what a good daddy you are, and I love how much you cherish my dear daughter.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

In plenty of time for Santa

It looks blurry to me. This is a photo of my latest Christmas stocking, finished tonight. Oh, and the black thing is my Maggie's big kitty bottom and her tail. She wanted in on the act. I began stitching this project last January, and took time off to do two other small projects. I hope this photo is clear enough to show how cute the design is.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Assume Best Intentions

I get my feelings hurt. This has been a pattern for me most of my life. I'm quit to hear the subtle insult, the passive rudeness, the disdainful tone of voice...even when it isn't there. It is a side effect of low self esteem, and I come by it honestly - it's genetic. Or not. Nature vs nurture... it's how I was raised.

Well, I fight this constantly, and at the tender age of xx I may be making some headway in the battle. It isn't always about me. Figuring this out was a huge step for me. A random comment from a friend about 20 years ago showed me that there is a lot of ego involved in thinking people are always thinking of me and insulting me. That helped a lot in healing my id.

So another random comment a couple of weeks ago has given me a new affirmation. Assume best intentions. When people say things and I catch myself taking them negatively, I regroup and remind myself to assume those people have the best intentions. It has already gone some distance to relieving me of the burden of being hurt or insulted. It's kind of a relief.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Little Boys

I've spent some evenings this week over at Jack's house. As long as the weather holds, Jack is outside as much as possible, playing with his gang. The gang consists of Jayden, who turned 2 in June, Jack, who is 2 1/2, and the twins - Bobby and Mark - who turned 3 the last week of August. Jayden's baby brother is only 3 months old, so he isn't in the gang yet.

So every evening these little guys get out in the long drive that leads to the duplexes where they live. It's a wonderful location for them, far away from the busy road, plenty of grass and a drive that is paved. Jayden has a Little Tyke's police car; the twins have a Little Tyke's orange hot rod, and Jack has a Little Tyle's red sedan. Three cars, 4 boys. You can imagine. The odd thing is they never ride in their own cars. Jack prefers the police car. The twins like Jack's car, and Jayden drives the hotrod.

Sometimes they fight. Last night it was Mark (or maybe Bobby), pointing to the house and saying, "My g'ma" (grandma). Jack pointed to me and said, "My grandma."
The twin repeated his statement, pointing to his house. Ditto, Jack. We broke it up before the fight. A few weeks it did erupt into a fight over mamas. "My mama,
said the twin. "NO! MY mama!" said Jack. Each pointing at his own mama, by the way. So they're getting angrier and angrier, each pointing at his own mama and shouting at the other, "MY MAMA!!"

If you didn't know they were all little white boys by just looking at them, you'd have been able to tell the other evening when the twins brought out their music and all the boys were dancing in the carport. No one could accuse any of them of having any rhythm! On the other hand, it was a great lesson in personal enjoyment. They just wanted to have fun, and what other people might think never entered.

Jack is really the brains of the gang. Up to a point. The twins brought out their semi trucks last night, and immediately rushed to Jayden's and Jack's dump trucks. Jack pushed one of the semis up to the stoop, arranged it in front of the door, and sat on it. You could see the wheels turning in the twins' heads. Wow...what a cool idea... and there was the fight! Only two semi trailers, and three bottoms to sit on them...

So while the boys yell, chase, jump, hollar, fight, scream, race, and otherwise enjoy themselves, I sit in the lawn chair, working on a Christmas stocking that will find its way to Houston. I watch, I laugh, I kiss bumps, I visit with the moms, and I feel wonderful to be near all that energy, all that love, all that innocence.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Eight down, 172 to go...

State law requires 180 days of school. A few years ago, the state agreed to give teachers a raise, then decided we had to earn it, and required two more days of us. Not the students, just teachers. So we spend an extra two days a year in classes. I don't think anyone minds, since we do get paid. But you know that three month paid vacation we get every summer? It doesn't exist. We are paid for 182 days, and the pay is divided into 12 payments, one per month.

Nevertheless, most people go into education because they care. Mind you, most of my experience has been with elementary ed, so I can't speak as firmly to secondary educators and their motives. Still, I believe that, overall, educators are people who care about the generations coming up, who one day will take over leadership. We care about helping children to become good citizens who build society. We care about teaching children to be responsible to one another and to our society as a whole. We care about teaching children to think and to search for answers; it makes more sense to teach a child how to research Columbus' trip, than to make him/her memorize the names of the ships (the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria).

In one of my schools, our "raw material" is inconsistent. Some come from two-parent families where both parents work, have cars and insurance and own their home. Some come from single-parent families where there is a strong emphasis on being at school and doing homework. Others come from families where there is a different dad in the home every few months. Some are on Welfare. Some move every three months or so, and in their records I find a relatively consistent record of past schools, the same ones. These students will move on, and eventually come back, only to move on again. Sometimes students tell me their parent/s drinks or does drugs. I have met parents who operated as prostitutes and even one or two who pimped their daughters out. The effort a parent puts into getting a child to school daily as a kindergartener is often an indication of whether that child will later drop out. There may be acting out by students in this school as they deal with the worries and inconsistencies in their lives.

In my other school, the majority of children live in nice homes whether in one or two parent families. Paychecks are consistent, and so are work hours. Parents can be reached by phone and come in to conference when there are problems. Unless said parent is in Iraq or Afghanistan. There may be acting out by these students as they deal with the worries and fears of their lives.

BUT we must build test scores. We are mandated by the No Child Left Behind to raise test scores. We can't be bothered dealing with these petty emotional details, because we MUST raise test scores. So we hire reading coaches and math coaches and instructional staff, most of whom work with teachers, not students, because we must teach the teachers to RAISE TEST SCORES. Never mind where the child comes from. Forget the fact that the child has fetal alcohol syndrome or a parent who is a meth addict or a parent who is dead in the war zone. WE MUST RAISE TEST SCORES. The ultimate goal of teaching is to RAISE TEST SCORES. And if we don't, by golly, WE WILL BE REPLACED.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Jamie Lynn Fallon

She is only a name to me. I dont know know if she was someone with an "important" job, or if she was a clerk. I don't know anything about the family she left behind. I don't know what she enjoyed in her free time. Was she someone's wife, mother? Did she knit or waterski? Here's what I do know about Jamie Lynn Fallon: she went to work that day, expecting to do her job. She didn't know she would die. She never planned to be a victim or a martyr. I don't know if she practiced Islam, Buddhism, or Christianity.

She died on September 11, 2000. While she died, I was 3,000 miles away, getting dressed for my job as a counselor at an Air Force elementary school, and listening to the radio. When the newscaster said a plane had crashed into one of the towers, I thought he meant a small, private plane, one of those little 2-person jobbies... and when I arrived at school that morning, one of the first things I heard was a parent telling her friend, "My husband is TDY at the pentagon. I don't know if he's alive."

In my lifetime I have heard, "Remember the Maine!" "Remember the Alamo!" "Remember Pearl Harbor!" And now, "Remember 9-11!" No, I don't personally remember the first three - I wasn't born yet. Every war must have its own horror that is remembered by that generation. 9-11 will be history to my grandchildren, as Pearl Harbor was to me. And yet, Pearl Harbor touched me because it touched my father, who was sitting in a movie theater when the film was interrupted by the announcement that all servicemen were to report immediately for duty, whether or not they were on leave. And I remember a sermon one Sunday in December, 1965, on the 20th anniversary. Twenty years was So Long Ago when I was 16. Today, Pearl Harbor was 61 years ago, and 9-11 was five years ago. And both of them seem only months in the past.

We cannot forget that people who went innocently about their business that day became the unwitting, unwilling targets of others who had no respect for human life. We cannot ever forget the innocent victims in any war. Jamie Lynn Fallon is only one, and never knew she was giving her life for a cause. I pray that her family is able now to remember her without so much pain.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Water! Who Knew? And I'm an Aquarius, too.

***Your Element Is Water***


A bit of a contradiction, you can seem both lighthearted and serious.
That's because you're good at going with the flow - but you also are deep.

Highly intuitive, you tune in to people's emotions and moods easily.
You are able to tap into deep emotional connections and connect with others.

You prefer a smooth, harmonious life - but you can navigate your way around waves.
You have a knack for getting people to get along and making life a little more peaceful.


What's Your Element?
http://www.blogthings.com/whatsyourelementquiz/

Monday, September 4, 2006

Phooey.

I wrote a long post yesterday, and lost it when DD called to have me look up something online for her. Today I wrote another one, and at the end, I decided to add a picture. The picture uploaded, but not the post.

The picture is a little watercolor I did one day after school, trying out a design. It is called the Hand of God, or Hamsa Hand, or Hand of Miriam. It has a number of different names, and is a middle-eastern symbol of good luck. Usually the hand has an eye in the palm; the all-seeing Eye of God, which wards off evil. One source told me that the Hand of God is Moslem, and another source told me that it pre-dates Judaism, so I'm not sure anyone can claim it.

My friend in Jerusalem gave me my first Hand of God in the late 70s, a small charm which I put on a chain and wore around my neck. It wasn't secure, and disappeared one day, never to be seen again. Several years ago I was poking around in the bead shop down at Freighthouse Square in Tacoma, and found another Hamsa charm. I bought it - just a few cents, and it resided in a box of trinkets until this past winter, when I put it on a chain. I love to wear it. It reminds me of a song we sometimes sing, taken from one of the psalms, which has a line that says, "...and holds me in the palm of His hand."

Well, I thought it would make a lovely cross stitch design, and that's what I was thinking of when I did the little painting. It was meant as a sketch more than anything, but I like the colors. My DD has a beautiful embroidered wall hanging - about 12x12, with a Hamsa hand. When the Jerusalem friend visited last summer, she brought it for DD. This friend was my roommate in college, a Detroit girl who finally decided she wanted to live in Israel, and has for 30 years. My children call her Aunt, and one of my grands is named for her. We think having her as part of our lives makes us pretty special.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Friday, September 1, 2006

Back to School

I was going to say "back to the grindstone," but that is only partly true. I spent four days this week in in-services, preparing for the first day of school next Wednesday. After 2 1/2 days with the staff of school 1, I was in tears, feeling like I was next to a nervous breakdown. I haven't slept through the night in a week, and it has been worse this week. The task is so monumental: something like taking the mountain to Mohammed, one pebble at a time.

After 1 day at school 2, today, I am eager and making plans, excited about what I might be able to accomplish today.

So what is the difference? Well, both schools are about 400 students, so it isn't the size. School 1 is largely poverty, has a high homeless population. School 2 is military, has a high population of students whose parents are in Irag and Afghanistan, fighting, with the potential of not coming home. So, demographically, they are different, but both have severe stressors.

I think the real difference, though, is in the principal. Principal 1 is a nice, gentle man, who is totally focused on the job at hand, and who wants us to see what a big job we have, and how hard we will be working to avoid being a school, next year, that is NOT making "adequate yearly progress." Principal 2 is a nice, gentle woman, who is totally focused on the job at hand, and who wants us to be able to "put the wonder back into learning." To that end, she gave us magic wands and bubbles to play with, had music to emphasize the various things we would be doing this year, did a sample science lesson with us (which involved blowing bubbles) to illustrate her point, and wore a football jersey and proclaimed herself as our coach.

What a difference!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

She Did It! All By Herself!

This is what Jack tells us regularly: He did it, all by himself. No matter who helps him. And a week or so ago he was telling his mama and daddy that he was a Big Girl. Well, he's 2.

I wonder if my other 2 yr old grand is still announcing "Ki'ycat, hairba'!"? I love 2 yr olds. I hear the 4 is crazy about preschool. I wish I could see her joy. She didn't adapt to daycare easily, but I guess a year of her big brother teaching her phonics when he came home from school was enough to persuade her that school is cool.

So, my DD fixed my blog problem. She said it was a setting on my template. I swear, I promise, cross my heart, I will NEVER do anything to anything on this blog again. I will leave it to the experts - DD and Hannelie.

We are back to school with a vengence. Four days of training this week, and another on Tuesday, the fifth. Students arrive on the sixth. Honestly, I'm a wreck. First, I haven't had to get up for a while, and going back to full days of training has made me tired. Last night I came home and fell asleep, woke up and fell asleep, finally got up and went to bed - at 8:30. Today I just cried a lot. After school, that is. Everything is fine once we get back into the swing of it, but right now it's not much fun.

Time to go to bed. TTFN.

She Did It! All By Herself!

Posting?

Hmmm... is it going to work?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I guess it's me or my computer. Or AOL. But Cassie has AOL. So it's me.


undefined

I can post to Gramma's blog

Here's a post from Cassie.... It's working for me. Must just be you :) I should have checked it out yesterday when I was over there.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

What to do First?

School will be starting soon. Indeed, workshops begin next week for staff. The lazy days of summer will come to an end. I want to be ready. And my little group of ladies from church is coming over Saturday. The house is relatively clean, but the carpet is BA-AD. It looks as if someone dribbled mud randomly around the living room. I can't figure out what caused it. In appearance, it resembles a random slug trail, only dark like mud. So I'll be off to rent a Rug Doctor this morning, I guess.

Other things that need to be finished are less likely to happen before Saturday. I wanted to have made sweet little crocheted bookmarks for each lady. Can't seem to get through even one. And I wanted to finish the Christmas stocking. That one is fine - I still have four months to complete that. And the bookmarks can be done anytime, there is nothing special about having them on Saturday. I'd like to work on the quilt, since I did finally reach Sonja and know what to do next. But I need a space of time to work on that, and I need to lay it out on the floor and look at it, and the carpet is filthy...

Ok, so I guess I'll get dressed and head for the grocery store and check on the carpet shampooers. There is still time to have professionals come in.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

What Kind of Tree Are You?

You Are A Cypress Tree

You are strong, adaptable, and striving to be content.
You're good at taking what life has to give - even if you don't like it.
A passionate lover who can't be satisfied, you are quick tempered at times.
You hate loneliness, want love and affection, and need to be needed.
A bit of a live wire, you love to gain knowledge any cost... and you can be careless at times.

Monday, August 7, 2006

Someone Died This Week

On Saturday I learned that a man I once loved had died.

During a sad, lonely period in my life, I found him; or maybe he found me. By the time we split, I felt used and abused.

He was a talented man who abused drugs and alcohol most of his life. He sang with an angel's voice, but he couldn't sing, couldn't play guitar, unless he was high.

I am saddened at the waste of a precious life. And I have been waiting for this news for over five years, ever since I wouldn't let him come back home. Living with him was toxic. He was angry and abusive, physically, emotionally, verbally, mentally.

Toward the end, he tried to get sober, and went into treatment. His sobriety lasted 4 days. That really was the end for me, but it took months of Al-Anon and counseling for me to make the break.

I hurt for those he has left behind. His mother, sister, two sons, and others who knew him as a child and remember him as he once was, those who knew his potential so much better than I. I grieve for what I thought we had, but what was never real. I pray he has found the peace he he wanted so desperately.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

One Little Grand



These are pictures DD took over the weekend - Jacky and his Yaya (that's me) and Jacky with Bob da Mato. He is a happy little boy, with a really great sense of humor - always laughing, always teasing. I have a feeling that if he could spend more time with his cousins, they would be a pretty scary little gang! Between them, they would think of everything to do or get into. Wouldn't that be fun?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Dinner With a 2 Year Old

The only thing more exciting than dinner with a 2-y-o is dinner with my son's 3 (ages 7, 4, and 2). We went to Appleby's. Jack stood next to me in the booth for the hour and a half we were there, with a grip on the neck of my shirt that he seldom relaxed. He was loud and silly. When his momma put the straw hotpad on her head he shrieked, grabbed it, and put it on my head - then told the restaurant that it was a Bob da Mato hat. He put it on his head, back on my head, back on his head, until it fell down behind )we were at the end of the row, so there was nothing behind us. He wore my watch for 2 or 3 seconds, then carefully placed it as high as he could reach on the wooden venetian blind. He stirred my salad with his applesauce spoon, telling me he "fix food for you, Yaya."

The best part (being there was more fun than you are having reading about it, I'm sure), for me, and the thing that just about had me wetting myself, was when he put the dessert menu over his face and said, "Where me go? I can't find me! Here I am!" The waitress, in a vain attempt to distract him, gave him a balloon. We petted the balloon, talked to the balloon, "lost" the balloon, kissed the balloon, looked at people through the balloon...and all at full volume. I'm sure you had to be there, but I was, and I'm still grinning. His momma is checking his cold medicine to see if it causes exciteability...

Aaargh! Avast Ye!



My pirate name is:


Calico Mary Flint



Often indecisive, you can't even choose a favorite color. You're apt to follow wherever the wind blows you, just like Calico Jack Rackham, your namesake. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Making Progress




I worked on the quilt last night until Cassie called from their camping trip on the Eastern side of the state. I talked to Jack, who did not want to give up the phone, and who wanted to "go Yaya's house." They'll be back today, and their dogs will go home. I miss Jack now, and I will miss the dogs when they leave. They don't say much, but they are a lot of company. Francesca, the mini doxie, raised Grace, the big hound-rott mix. Grace tries really hard to be a lap dog, like Francesca, but somehow it just doesn't work.

Anyway, one of the photos is me, holding up my first quilt square on the day Sonja was teaching me and getting me started. The second photo shows the layout I tried yesterday. The green background will be the color that joins the squares, and the photo shows all the completed squares to date. I prepared 12 more squares for sewing. Maybe I'll work on them today.

Later, I browsed a lot of quilting sites online. There are thousands of free quilt patterns out there. (Also thousands of free knitting, crocheting, cross stitch, etc patterns. Just type "free-whatever" in your search.) I began to get a headache, looking at so many. For now I will focus on my little 9-patch. I finally understand Aunt Helen's quilt frame, though. The completed quilt would be stretched on the frame, horizontally. All the ladies at the quilting bee would sit around the four sides and handquilt a pattern of stitches into the quilt, joining the quilt top, batting, and backing. Now Sonja does that with a computerized card in her sewing machine. I wonder if the quilting bee ladies would think it magic? In a way, it is.

Methodist Squirrels

There were four country churches in a small TEXAS town: The Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church and the Catholic Church. Each church was overrun with pesky squirrels.

One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels. After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptst Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it. The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Catholic group got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creation. So they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town. Three days later, the squirrels were back.

But -- the Methodist Church came up with the best and most effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

*As a Methodist for the past 47 years, I can attest to the truth of this...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

For the Quilt lady


May your new quilting adventure be as successfull as your new blog!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Birthing a Quilt

I had done a post to go along with the photo under "A Quilt is Born" but it seems to be missing...although the photo remains. This is my first-ever quilt, something I have wanted to do for many years. Last week the time seemed right, so I called my work friend, Sonja. Sonja creates the most beautifully exquisite quilts I ever have seen. We went shopping on Wednesday, and $70 later, I had a stack of fabric in beautiful colors of purple, blue, pink, yellow, green.

Per Sonja's instructions, I took everything home and washed it all. I hated putting that pretty fabric in the washer! But I do follow directions, and did as told. On Thursday I packed it all up, along with the sewing machine, and hauled it al over to Sonja's house. I learned to use the rotary cutter (slick!)and how to iron the seams in one directionk and to sew strips together and then cut them to make patches. Sonja says this quilt is a '9-patch.' That means I put 9 squares together to make one larger square. We finished 9 squares that afternoon, and I haven't touched it since. Maybe this afternoon, if I can get past this vague dizziness that is affecting me. For now, though, I think I'll head back to the couch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Creativity takes a backseat in this weather...

Really, I could hardly wait to get working on my quilt, but it has been so hot I didn't want to sweat all over that pretty material. It's also been too hot to work on the baby's Christmas stocking. During last night we finally began to have some relief. The weathercaster said the Pacific Ocean is our best air conditioner, and it was moving in on us somehow, sending cooler air our way. It was at least 15 degrees cooler today, and most welcome. Maybe we're done with the awful heat now, although we are having a water shortage. There are a number of wild fires in these northwestern states. I'll be praying for the rain that will replenish our water supplies, and put out the fires.

And maybe, tomorrow, I'll get out the sewing machine.

Sick Baby

As if this heat wave weren't bad enough, little Jack is sick. He has been coughing and fussy for a few days, but yesterday his mama noticed that he was just burning hot, even in the pool. She didn't have much luck getting his temp until sometime during the night when his underarm temp was 101. Seems to me that meant his actual internal temp was even higher. Bless her, she called me in the middle of the night to ask if I could stay with him today because he couldn't go to daycare with a temp. No problem. And it wasn't a problem, except I am not used to being alert for so long. At home here, I can doze off. Jack and I had a nice day. We didn't do too much of anything, just kind of relaxed and took it easy. Jack covered Gracie (the dog, and a whole story unto herself) with his sheet so she could "go s'eep." Gracie wasn't very appreciative and kept getting up. Undaunted, Jack would cover her again the next time she plopped down long enough.

I had just mentioned that he would be going down for his nap soon when he brought his sheet and his binky and climbed up in my lap. He was asleep in moments. I sat and relished the feeling of a sleeping child in my arms...until my hip began to ache. Then I scootched out from under him and he lay curled up, sound asleep, for another 2 hours. Between not sleeping well with the heat, and not feeling good, the little guy slept a good, long time.

My son, as fine a man as I ever have known, is single parenting this week while his wife is out of town on a business trip. His dear little guys are so fun, and so active, that I know he must be exhausted. I wonder if they all are piled up in bed with him? It wasn't easy for me to sit on the couch during my visit. As my Steve puts it, his kids don't believe in the laws of physics, and continue to try to occupy the same space as each other, their parents, or their gramma.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

My Post Where?

I did a new post, and it isn't here. I wonder what happened to it? Did I dream it? Now, what was it about? I can't remember...I wonder if I dreamt it?

Mick da Mouse

My little grandson, Jack, has an accent. I'm not sure where he gets it, because we're all from around here, but his mother had one at the same age, so maybe it's genetic. Jack loves VeggieTales, and especially loves Bob da Mato (Bob the Tomato). This morning when Jack and Mama stopped by on their way to daycare, I gave Jack some Mickey Mouse graham crackers. "Dem Mick da Mouse?" he asked me? Well, yes they are. He generously doled out one for me, one for Mama, crammed his mouth full, and began to worry. "Where da phone? Where da mote (remote)? Put on shoes, Yaya. Come on, I pull you up."

I love having them stop by in the morning. I was just getting up, and I think a hug from a 2 1/2 yo is the best way to wake up. We were sitting in the living room when Mama said it was time to go to school. "Not yet," said Jack. "Later. In a minute." and he closed the door, just in case we tried to sneak him out when he wasn't looking.

DD noticed recently that he needed something lighter to cover up with at night with this heat wave. Most of Jack's blankets were too small to be useful now that he has grown so much, so I went to Joanne's on Saturday and found some really cute cotton print: Winnie the Pooh and Suzy's Zoo. Yesterday I hemmed 2 sheets and made 2 little pillowcases. I hope he has happy dreams sleeping with those; I prayed as much love as I could into them while I worked on them.

This morning I am meeting my buddy, Mona, at Curves. We're both hoping to get ourselves back into regular exercise. I quit last winter when my back bothered me so much. Ironically, it's exercise and losing weight that I need to relieve my back pain...I don't even need to see doctors anymore. No matter what's wrong with me, I know the answer is, "Lose weight." Urinary tract infections? Headache? Muscle spasm? Acid reflux? Diabetes? The cure for all of these is Lose Weight. What do doctors tell skinny people? I'll bet skinny people are doomed to suffer until death, because they don't have weight to lose...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Jiggedy Jig...

What a great trip I had! Left Tacoma-Seattle in the wee hours of the morning, July 2, for Houston, Bush International Airport. Why would anyone go to Houston in July you ask? Only a fish would willingly visit a place where the air is so humid you have to wade through it. A fish, or a gramma with three little grands to visit. (I'm the gramma, not the fish.)

I deplaned about 6:30 am, then began the long trek to baggage claim. After about a 3-mile walk, I sat down to watch the carousel disgorge its lumps of luggage-like matter. Suddenly, behind me, I heard shrieking and shouts of "Gramma!" My son and his two oldest (ages 31, 7, and 4) were there to greet me - and they already had my bag. Seems I was at the wrong carousel, and my bag has bright yellow footprint stickers on it to enable it to be spotted in a sea of black luggage, so they were already way ahead of me...and I never caught up for the rest of my visit.

It was nine wonderful days of Gramma watch me, Gramma wanna play uno, gramma I'm hungry, Gramma are you awake...it was, in short, the best nine days a gramma could spend. The littlest one, so cute, and with eyes that take up half his little face, even decided (about day 8) that I wasn't so bad: "Gramma cookie...cookie JAR!" he sang. Who me? Couldn't be... but still he cried when I held him. Next visit should be the magic one, when he accepts gramma.

I can't imagine that DS and his beautiful wife get through any day without laughing themselves silly. The children are so funny! The oldest spends most of his time not doing whatever he is told/asked to do. (I can't clean my room, mom told me to put my books away; I'm busy not doing that right now.) The middle one is driven by her need to do everything her big brother does. Competitive is not her middle name, but it could be. And the baby is always a few steps behind the others, but never far away. Except when he got mad at me and put himself down for a nap. It began to be consistent that I would find him back in his crib, sound asleep, when he disappeared. My son began to ask me to 'watch' the kids, rather than to babysit, if he had to be gone. Mostly because what I mostly did was watch the kids tear around, get into things, destroy the living room... you get the picture, I'm sure. It isn't that I meant to not take care of them, but I did get distracted sometimes. Anyway, they were still alive when I left, in spite of how hard they tried to kill each other off...

And so, I arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, July 11, DS' 32nd birthday. How lonely it feels here. Home again, home again, jiggedy jog.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yaya, take off shirt. Get in, Yaya.

A couple of years ago I bought an EasySet Pool. It wasn't so easy. Last year I gave it to DD and her hubby. They set it up, and played in it most of the summer. It's about 4'x15', roughly. Big enough for several people to mess around and get wet and cool off. So I stopped over there today after my class. Their neices are visiting, and they all decided to get wet. Jack told me to take off my shirt and get it (hence the title). I opted out...for a while. Finally, it just looked too good, so I just got in. What the heck, after such a hot, sweaty day, all my clothes needed laundering anyway, so I might as well get them wet.

It was fun! And it felt so good! Our temps are in the 90s this week. Although my class was in an air-conditioned building, and the car is air-conditioned, it was a long, long day, and the water helped ease off some stress. Today's class was on how the brain works. Guess what? The brain is a miracle! I really enjoyed the class today; the teacher was excellent, the class members all teachers. They served a continental breakfast and tacos for lunch, ice cream in the afternoon break, and had bottles of water on ice all day. If I have to spend a week in class, this is sure the way to do it. I can't quite figure out if the class is being offered by the union (WA Education Assn) or the Educational Service District (it's in the union headquarters building), but it doesn't matter. It's being paid for by my local, and it is very very good. I'm even looking forward to tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow. our new pastor arrives tomorrow late afternoon/early evening. I should just get back from the class and have to head over to the parsonage to help unload their u-haul. Her husband is also a pastor, assigned to a nearby church, and we have a brand new parsonage, less than a year old, for them to live in. A lot of United Methodist churches are getting away from parsonages. Anyway, a small crew from both churches will be on hand to unload and move them in, and we have our first administrative meeting with Pastor Bonnie Wed night.

The next couple of days will be a little busy, as my class is 9-4 and is about 30 miles away. Traffic wasn't bad at all today. It was slow all the way home, but it moved steadily. I got directions from Mapquest to get up there this morning, and they had it all messed up. By 8:30 I was at the Chamber of Commerce in the small city, and it was another 45 minutes of driving all over bleeping Weyerhauser (the lumber people), trying to find this place. I wasn't the only one. And what really ticks me off is that the freeway goes within 1/2 mile of the place, and Mapquest had me driving all over the state of Washington...

On Sunday, the 2nd, I will be in tropical Houston, TX, delighting in my three precious grands. I can hardly wait. Maybe when I get back I will have some good stories to tell. For tonight, though, I'm signing off. Later, gator.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

No, wait...

It's two pounds a month, which means 50 months... oooh. I liked it better when I didn't know. I'm going to forget I figured that out. That's just plain old self defeating. I'm eating healthier and moving more. Maybe I could start taking short walks.

Sigh...

Ok, Hannelie sent me directions a chimp could follow, and when I finished editing my links, they were gone, and so were/are my previous posts. I am not touching it again. No. I will not destroy my little blog any further.

What a lazy day. I read and dozed all morning. Finally stirred myself enough to get dressed about 3pm, and have been hard at it ever since. Well...for me, that is. I am very overweight. I'm fat. By choice, I guess, since I am the person who controls my exercise and food intake. So three months ago I made a committment to change my eating habits, and I have lost six pounds. I know, big whoop. But my doctor was pleased, and I am delighted. Yes, I'd love to be instantly thin, but thin and me is never going to happen, and that isn't my goal. Healthy is my goal. Living to watch my grands grow up is my goal. So it took three months to lose six pounds. I'm doing something right. After all, It took thirty years to gain 100 pounds. Oooh...let me think...if three months equals six pounds, then 100 pounds should take...seventeen months? is that right?

So, as I was saying, I really worked today. I cleaned out two dog kennels. I haven't had a dog since January. When I gave up my little Phoebe, I hauled the kennels out to the deck and left them. Today they are sparkling and ready for someone to use. I cleaned my little guy's high chair. He outgrew it a year ago. I found oyster crackers under the pad. The high chair has been on the deck for months. I cleaned the deck furniture, empty window boxes, tossed out dead hanging plant skeletons, cardboard boxes, styrofoam packing material...you might get the idea my deck has been a catchall. Walking is hard on me because my back hurts so much. My back hurts because I have arthritis. And I am 100 pounds overweight. I have to sit down a lot while I'm doing things. So working hard, for me, means doing something, rest, doing something more, rest, etc. It took about five hours to get it all down. When I finished, I hauled my little guy's walker-thingy out to the van so I can give it to DD's neighbor with the six week old baby. He's a little young for it...

Then I sat in the wicker rocker and I rocked. I watched the trees. I talked to the cat. I thought about a shower. I rocked. I rocked and let my mind drift... and I thought about how good it felt to get the deck cleaned up and relax, and how much I would like to sit out there with my stitching or a good book. What a nice day this has been.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Win Some, Lose Some

At some point this week, after experimenting with the settings on my blog, I managed to delete all of my links. So I tried - REALLY HARD - to put my links back. I wanted to add Seeker. Ok, so the title of her blog is there: The First Hundred. But when I clicked on it, it took me straight to Blogger Help: How do I edit my links? Dang. Now I have to beg DD to fix it for me, and she doesn't have a lot of extra time. >sigh<

But, because Hannelie is such a sweetie, I really have paragraphs, and that means as much to me as my links.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Testing...

Thanks to Hannelie, if I have followed her directions correctly I should be able to have actual paragraphs in my postings.

It has been a constant frustration to this former English teacher that I could write in paragraphs, but my published posts always came out as a big lump.

This should be enough to show whether I am successful or need to go back to the blogging board.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Where I'm From

I am from bare, leafless, winter trees, from Ford and tires and automatic transmission.

I am from the yellow brick house on Sugarbush Road, warm, cozy, filled with the smell of home-made bread.

I am from the elm, the lilac, the bales of straw, from the maple, the african violet, the woolen yarn.

I am from no elbows on the table and laughter, from Ed and Gladys, Russell and Catherine, and others I'll never know.

I am from feelings that are easily hurt and the fear of never being good enough.

From people who are all the same except for how they look, and from always treat people as I would be treated.

I am from teetotalers and Women's Christian Temperance Union, from Bible-thumpers and deep spiritual grace, from forgiveness, from baptism.

I'm from Michigan and Serbia and England, from sailing ships and immigrants, from farmers, cabbage, and chicken noodle soup.

From the old swamp cedar for a Christmas tree and the house that burned down, from the box factory in Chicago, and the childbirth death of a grandmother.

I am from World War II, from cigar boxes of anonymous photos, from men who proudly served and women who anxiously waited. I am part of the unbroken thread, one beating heart, one pair of hands, passing love and laughter and a hope to make a better place for my grandchildren. This is the legacy passed to me, and which I pass on.

Where I'm From - http://www.swva.net/fredlst/wif.htm

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Aaahhhh....

Made it. Summer break. Nine weeks of lazy bliss. My first class starts a week from tomorrow, up north, so it will be a daily drive (not all that far, I'm going for the element of drama here) for five days. It's called Special Education for All. I'll learn more about writing IEPs, BIPs, SLPs...more about the WACs and the federal regulations that govern special ed. Anyway, shortly after that I'll head to tropical Houston so I can play jungle gym for the grands for a few days. I have some other classes coming up later in the summer, before it's time, in August, to go back for training days and start preparing for the start of school. Spent today and yesterday just putting things away. Threw out a week's worth of unread newspapers (no time lately), unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, put away the shoes (a plethora of shoes), the birdcage with the peanut in it, the small deck table, Jack's bucket, broom, pushtoy, garden tools, art supplies, books, laundry... Now, if someone would dust and vacuum, this place would be almost ready for company. I'm already planning the menu for when I have the girls over for lunch. And my buddy and I are going to have art classes and teach each other what we learned at the Letters of Joy conference in May. I'm doing some drawing and cartooning, stitching, knitting, and now that my flower bed is cleaned out, I need to get some plants to fill it in. Busy days!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...

Surely I can last three more days. So little time, and so much yet to do! Yesterday I filed a CPS report, and another one today. Spent half an hour talking to the nicest young police officer - same age as my DS. Tomorrow I have two end-of-year assemblies; one in the afternoon at my afternoon school, and one in the evening at my morning school. I will be presenting the President's Award for Academic Excellence, which goes to students who have maintained a B+ or better through 4th and 5th grades. Once the assemblies are over, I have two offices to strip and check out of for the summer. I suppose all school districts do this: we have to put everything away, in boxes or cupboards, so rooms can be taken care of in the summer. Carpets get cleaned, floors stripped and waxed, desks scrubbed inside and out, chalkboards recoated or whiteboards re-whatever-it-is-they-need, windows scrubbed and walls (every few years) painted. In August we go back and put it all together again. I wonder how many other industries do this type of thing? Two years ago my school closed, so we had to pack everything for moving to a new building. Not so bad for me (an office isn't that big), but a lot of work for the classroom teachers. Thursday is the last school day of the year; students will leave at 11:30 and be back on their bikes within half an hour. Friday is that last LID day. I don't mind too much. We'll be meeting at the Landmark Convention Center, they'll give us lunch and all the coffee we wnt all day. And I can draw pictures while I listen. Or I might take my knitting. If it is cool enough, I can knit, and maybe finish the shawl I'm working on.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The End Is Near

By that I mean the end of school. Students are finished at noon on Thursday. Staff must do a Learning Improvement Day on Friday. Learning Improvement Days (LID) are designed by the school district to teach us to be better teachers...regardless of the fact that the state trusts us enough to give us teaching certificates when we are fully qualified. But I digress.

I had a chance to talk to my Texas Grands today. The three conversations went something like this:

the Girl: Hi Gramma
me: Hi baby!
girl: babbledabbledibbleswabble gramma flubblerhubarbblibber two gribblejibberjaber gramma mary swibbledeflibby bye!
me: Bye, honey. I love you!

the Big Boy: Hi Gramma
me: Hi sweetheart. How are you?
Big Boy: what?
me: How are you?
Big Boy: what?
me: what did you do yesterday?
Big Boy: huh?
me: what did you do yesterday?
Big Boy: oh, we went to the...to the...to the...to the...to the...
me: to the high school? (I had already read his dad's post about this)
Big Boy: yeah! We got wet!
me: did you have fun?
Big Boy: what?
me: did you have fun?
BB: huh?
me: are you listening to me?
BB: huh?
me: I'm having a conversation with you, but I don't think you are listening.
BB: what?
me: Are you listening when I talk?
BB: huh?
me: give the phone to daddy, honey.

(dad: say hello)
Little Boy: HALLO!!!!
me: Hi honey!
(dad: tell gramma something)
Little Boy: ...
me: Hi baby.
(dad: tell gramma about playing in the sprinkler)
Little Boy: ...
me: did you play in the sprinkler?
Little Boy: ...
(dad: say bye bye)
Little Boy: BYE BYE!!!!!
me: bye honey.


So, I had a chance to talk to all three of them. They are so precious, and quite gifted. On the other hand, when DD asks Jack if he wants to talk to Yaya, he says "no." As Seeker commented recently, we are building memories. And I did get my laundry done today. I hope to vacuum before the summer ends.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Jiggedy Jig, It's Friday Again

And I don't have anything to post that anyone would want to read. Today's highlights: I made a CPS report, I counseled two first-graders who both claimed ownership of the orange pencil sharpener, I nagged a fifth grade teacher until he gave me his nominations for the President's Award for Academic Excellence, we had a chocolate dipping fountain at my afternoon school, complete with apples and strawberries and other things to dip, I counseled two first-graders who didn't know how to behave with a substitute teacher, prepared President's Award certificates, and finished the day bitc--gossping in the staff room with friends. Shortly I'll head over to DD's. I'm invited to dinner so I can watch Jack afterwards, while they go grocery shopping. She bribed me. "We've got pot roast and Tim's (local potato chips)." I'll take a book and my stitching, in case Jack slows down. Meanwhile, I have a basket of laundry to fold, 2 or 3 piles of laundry to do in my bedroom, and a carpet that is crying out for a vacuum cleaner. Maybe there will be time tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have a life...(I guess)

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Something Cute

I picked up Jack from daycare today. He was so excited! He saw me through the window and I could hear him hollering "Yaya, Yaya!" and banging on the glass. Well, we had to stop and get a donut and chocolate milk when we passed the donut place on the way home...

But what was really cute was the part after we arrived home. Jack got on his bike and started rolling backwards down the driveway. About that time the twins saw him and one of them (either Robby/Bobby or Mark - no, it's still just 2 twins, not 3) saw jack and ran as fast as he could. "Jack!" he cried, as he threw his arms around Jack in a big hug. "Da Boy!" Jack answered, hugging him back.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Personal Day

Today I took the day off and spent it with Jack. I can hardly wait to go back to work tomorrow and rest up. Keeping up with a toddler is meant for young people. He is cutting his molars, and there were moments during the day when he was slightly less than charming. We watched VeggieTales - or, we watched the Snoodle come and go on the menu page for a while. "There it is!" "Where he go?" "Nother one!" "Where he go?" "There he is!" Fifteen minutes of this can feel like half a day. We spent a good part of the morning on the floor in the bedroom, digging through the toys; I was compulsively attempting to put all the pieces together that belonged together, while Jack compulsively grabbed and scattered everything. At some point I realized we were working at cross purposes, and began tossing toys back into the box. He really loved that! Permission to throw! So we put on shoes and socks and went outside. The driveway is on a slope, and he had a great time on his ride-toy, rolling down the slope backwards. When "Da Boys" came out, they all did it. Da Boys are twins, age 2, who moved into the house across from Jack. The 3 of them had a wonderful time. No bickering, no trouble, just chasing each other and yelling. I understand the next unit is going to have another 2-yr-old boy. What a little gang that will be.

Now I really must go write out my bills and get them in the mail. Another late credit card payment...

Monday, May 29, 2006

Remembering


It is Memorial Day weekend, and I have been remembering a lot about my favorite veteran, my dad. Dad's family was dirt-poor; they were farmers. His dad immigrated from Serbia around the turn of the century, and married another Serb he met in Chicago. My grandfather Steve served in the cavalry and rode against Pancho Villa. He would tell stories to young Eddie, my father, about his time in the Army. One of his tales included the phrase, "When I was standing in line for my pay..." Little Eddie was so excited! He exclaimed, "You mean they let you be in the Army, and they paid you, too?!"

My dad was too short to enlist. He was 5'1 1/2" tall, and told me how he would hang from tree branches, trying to stretch himself taller (he may have been teasing me - I believed everything he said). When WWII began, he finally was allowed to enlist. He joined the Army and spent the war years in New Guinea. When I asked him what he did in the war, he always told me "I hid behind a tree." I never knew for sure what he did, but when the Army Air Corps broke away and became the Air Force, daddy went with it. He loved planes, became an aircraft electrician, and could always name any plane that flew overhead (my brother still can). Daddy was a veteran of WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam.

I would be thinking about daddy this weekend, regardless, but it so happens I found a website two days ago that really was exciting to me. In 19534dad got orders to Tripoli, Libya, and we went with him. For 3 years we lived in Tripoli while daddy worked at Wheelus Field. The website? Wheelus Through a Child's Eyes. Here is a link, http://www.dougmcguinn.com/Libya/wheelus1.htm. I was 4. And what memories I have! Thanks to Doug McGuinn, who created the website, I've had a wonderful weekend of remembering -- almost as good as a real visit with my parents who, sadly, are both gone now.

The pictures show my daddy (before I was a twinkle in his eye), probably around 1940, Me climbing on the Roman ruins near Tripoli, and the house we lived in on the economy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

She doesn't look 30...

Happy Birthday My Beautiful Daughter!

Today (make that yesterday - I just noticed the time) my baby girl turned 30. Oh my, she was such a red little baby girl. And bald. And the prettiest baby... who became an even prettier little girl. And grew up to be a beautiful woman. How I love you, my sweet!


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

...and we're Back!


Blogger is so temperamental! It's been such a nice, laid-back weekend. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with the little guy so his mama could attend a baby shower. We just had fun, swept the kitchen floor (he is fascinated by the broom), did some dishes, filled the pool, enjoyed the sunshine. Later on we put in a VeggieTales cd and he snuggled in my arms while we watched. It felt so normal to be taking care of a little person and putzing about the house, and I thought how much I miss those happy days when my own DS and DD were little. This morning the little guy called me, "Yaya!" he yells. "What?" I holler back. "Doin'?" he yells. We have the same conversation repeatedly until he gets bored and moves on. Today was a little different. Today he pushed the button for speakerphone. "Yaya!" he yelled. "What?" I yelled back. "Yaya! What doin' in dere?" he asked... and in the background I heard DD explaining how Yaya gets really little and climbs inside the telephone... Meanwhile, if I work it right, here is a picture of the Christmas stocking I am stitching for one of the other little grands.

Ho hum. Blogger, this is getting old.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mahatma Gandhi

"My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and talents, and I lay them both at His feet."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Thoughts on a Sunday


My blog will be a lot more interesting when I learn to post photos on it. I'm disappointed that I did it wrong yesterday, and the pictures didn't upload. My son tried to tell me how... and I had to stop him because I only speak English, and don't always understand that, let alone whatever language he was speaking. Today was a lazy day. I sat on the couch, read until I fell asleep, woke up and cross stitched, fell asleep, did a load of laundry... made up for what was a long week with hard challenges. We have about 20 days of school left. My principal at one school wants to make me full time in her building, but so far the budget restrictions and the district won't let that happen. I have a BA in English and Education, and an MEd (Master's in Education), but am not "highly qualified" to teach a reading group, which would provide the money to bring me on full time. I have taught reading, and I have 19 years of experience as a teacher and elementary school counselor. I find it outrageous. Maybe I need to write to my state rep...couldn't hurt, could it? By golly, I think I may have done the picture!

The Tea

Pictures from the Tea. That is, if they actually uploaded. These would be some shots of the table and some of the friends I work with who joined us today. No picture of DD -- maybe another day.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother-Daughter Tea

Today was our fifth annual Mother-Daughter Tea at our church. This year I hosted a table, and was very nervous about it. In the past, the tables have been set with elegant, beautiful china, silver, and glass. I've never owned china, other than everyday dishes, so this was a challenge. My ex, when he was in Germany, bought china for both of the kids, so they each had a set, and although both are married and live away, I happen to have both sets here. Anita (my buddy) has her grandmother's collection of antique teacups. My son in law has his mother's collection of carnival glass...and with the help of all these people, my table came together perfectly. The carnival glass is iridescent, blue-green. So I used the pitcher for water, an oval bowl filled with white lilacs for a centerpiece, and goblets for water. The china came in a setting for 6 for both kids, so I used 4 plates from each set, alternating them. Both are pure white. I happen to have a white china teapot which was a wedding gift in 1971, and I borrowed the tableware from the church. The table was so pretty! With a plain white tablecloth, it was all blue(-green) and white. Stunning, and I was so pleased.

But there was a moment when my beautiful daughter suddenly left the table. Oh, the bathroom, I thought. But I noticed she looked upset. Quite a long time passed, and she didn't return... where is she? I wondered. Many of the younger moms in our congregation had brought their little daughters; pretty little 2 and 3 year olds playing and dancing...any my dear, precious child began to think of the daughter she gave birth to 3 years ago. Little Amelia, who lived only a few hours.

Once upon a time when my little girl was sad, I could kiss her and hold her and make everything better. And today I could do nothing. I held her, I kissed her, and I cried with her.

Mother's Day is so bittersweet. I know that when I gave birth to James 33 years ago, my mother grieved and wished she could take away the pain that his death brought to me. I went on to have 2 children who have become 2 of the finest adults I have the privilege of knowing; and nothing will ever take away my longing for that firstborn child. We parents long to protect our children from the pain of this world, knowing we can't... I'm so sorry this day was not a celebration for my daughter. That is, until she went home and held our little guy. What a joy!