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


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, 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!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Education! Good grief.

This has been a busy few weeks. WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) finally ended yesterday for me, when the district picked up all of our testing materials. I have no issue with testing. Kids can handle it, our teachers prepare them well, and they have a strong sense of accomplishment afterwards. My objection is to using it as the only assessment of student accomplishment. Thanks to Bush and the Federal Government and No Child Left Behind we are mandated to test ALL students by the same standard. This means that students in gifted education programs are tested by the same standard as students in Functional Academic Classrooms. Functional Academics usually means mentally retarded, learning disabled, can't read, and so on. Then there's the Life Skills kids: these are the children who are learning such things as using the toilet... And we mustn't forget the English Language Learners. It doesn't matter that they have been in the country a year, that they don't speak English, and certainly haven't learned to read it yet (language acquisition takes 5-7 years), but never mind, we are going to test this in English at the same level as all US born children. Oh dear...I can feel myself starting to rant here. A lot of things in public education are wrong, but the solution is not to take the money away and give it to private schools who are not required to test or follow any of the federal rules. For Heaven's Sake, what are legislators and lawmakers thinking with? On the other hand, my grandson is in great shape. I kept him Friday evening for a couple of hours. We played outside where he rode his "bike" over the peanuts I had thrown out for the squirrels, and he loved his litrtle tent. When we came in, I put him up on a chair at the kitchen sink and filled the sink with warm, soapy water. He did the dishes for a long time, until I thought we had enough water everywhere, and then we played some more while we changed his diaper and got his jammies on. My sadness is that I can't have all of them here to do things with. But I'm making plans...