Friday, August 30, 2013

Duh.

A few weeks ago I decided I was going to start putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to one of my goals: to travel. I started actively saving so I can do this.

I'm tethered to the small town where I grew up. Live here, teach here, still see the same people and things I've always seen. I've never been anywhere too far away, unless we're counting one teeny, tiny quick trip to Vancouver by myself to take a qualifying ballet exam, and a family cruise to Mexico when I was 19. That ain't nothing, but those trips were both pretty light in terms of cultural immersion, and both happened before I was really an adult. There are so many places that call to me. I just think it can only benefit me to see more of the world and how people live in it.

I want to go, so I started saving. Even if all I do is see some more of the US, that's something.

Saving for this is a big step for lots of reasons. First, because I suck at saving money for any reason. Well, also this act is remarkable because of the very new fact that we even have money to save. I realize that's a luxury, even when I'm adjusting priorities. Finally, FINALLY, a year ago we actually were able to stop living paycheck to paycheck and begin some basic family savings. Having kids so young, not having two incomes for a long time while E was in law school--those things took a toll. I'm happy we're in a good place.

So this--something that's just for me--is an even bigger deal.

That's right. Just me. One of the obstacles to even daydreaming about travel, for me, has been that it's not on E's list of things he wants to do. He does not have this travel urge. He'd like to do it someday, but not now. Not until much later in our lives. Waiting for him to say he wanted to go was keeping me from believing I could do it. Or from even saving for it.

The thought of waiting until I retire to travel kills me. But when my friend Maggie's piece about her year of solo travel ran in the LA Times this May, it inspired an important conversation between myself and the E man. One where we decided maybe this is something I need to do sooner, rather than later. Maybe alone, or with friends instead of him--since his heart isn't there yet.

So I'm saving. Setting some priorities that fall in line with what I want to do, which is not spend my whole life blowing all my spending money on Starbucks.

(Let's be real about it, too: there's more than one way it benefits me to buy less crap from Starbucks.)

I have a specific monetary goal for the year. I'm hopeful that I can get anywhere close to it. I don't know where I'll go just yet. I have some ideas. But last month I saved a good amount to put toward this for the first time in my life.

Here's where the duh comes in:

This afternoon I wanted to put this month's chunk of change with last month's and take it to the bank. I knew I put it in a super-secret/super-important place in the house so I wouldn't spend it last month. I knew I didn't spend it last month--I was sure of that much, because of the total lack of stuff.

I looked right where I'd "remembered" putting the money for safekeeping, and it wasn't there.

Um.

I looked in my other super-secret hiding place in the house, and it wasn't there.

Uh.

I dumped a random series of objects out of things, rummaged through them like an angry ape, panicked, and promptly remembered I'd decided to keep the money in an extra pocket in my wallet so I wouldn't put it somewhere and forget where I put it.

Duh.

Yeah. From now on this money goes directly into my savings account on payday. Squirreling things away is not gonna work.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

There is no Xavier.

#cukesFirst night of swim clinics with my Roo.Table.Mom... Pay attention to me.It's been a busy morning in letter-writing. Prepare your mailboxes, friends.

This week isn't a very exciting one, but it's the kind of thing I know I'll look at when the kids are grown and marvel about in that how did we ever do it kind of way, which is why I am taking a moment to mark it here. Just like how now I can't, for the life of me, remember how I used to stay up all night with infants and then go to work the next day. (Those years are just gone. Gone! from my memory.)

This week E and I took our marriage to new levels of intimacy and trust and synced our Google calendars (I can hear you gagging, it's okay). Simply so we could deal with things like the shit storm that was Wednesday. Henry had baseball, E had softball, and Addie had swimming all in the same night. So suddenly, as E texted me on Monday, we are THOSE PEOPLE. And I was like get used to it, because this is the next ten years.

Ugh. Remember, now, this is me with my PE credential that I only got so I could teach ballet and my total avoidance behavior when it comes to any kind of sport playing or watching. Yick.

So, yeah. We spent all week in the car and then watching our kids font le sport. I spent all week packing food into little baggies. And making dinners--which I feel like a boss about, honestly--because that is my sanity. If I make dinner and it didn't come out of a box--like, if there is at least one plant in it--I feel like I won at something. Food in baggies the rest of the day, notwithstanding. The kids spent all week alternately getting dirty and then getting yelled at about not taking so long to get in the shower. Somewhere in there, people did homework.

I am so, so so so proud of my monkeys and their new endeavors. And the other side of that coin is that I am almost unable to stand up in the morning when my alarm goes off right now because I'm so tired.

Back to School Night was this week too, which isn't a bad thing per se except that it involves small talk which gives me the heebs. It's always fine, but it always challenges my shyness. Like, ten million. If I could just stand at the front of a hall and present my Mrs. P Show and then drop the mic and walk out, cool. But here is my terror (and please remember: I have 185 students and we've been in school for less than two weeks by the time I see their parents):

[Parent enters classroom.]

Me: Hi! (Smiling) Welcome. I'm Mrs. P. Please sign in so I know you were here? We'll get started in just a few minutes.
Parent: (Shaking my hand) I'm Xavier's mom.
Me: (Thinking) ...
Parent: ...
Me: (Flipping frantically in my mind through the 185 new student faces I've met in the last ten days.) Xavier... Xavier...
Parent: You know him, right? He talks about you all the time.
Me: Uh... (Panicking, now) Um. Well, I'm still learning names...What does he look like? I, uh...
Parent: (Clearly annoyed) ...
Me: (Sweating) ... (Walking to seating chart to search frantically for Xavier) What did you say your last name was, again?

Imagine that, about ten times.

Ta-da! Welcome to Mrs. Awkward's class.

It was fine, but I did a lot of sweating, per usual.

I feel a bit out of sorts--more so than a regular year, though my kids (as I am steadily learning their names and faces, both of which are lovely) have been really, really good even though our class sizes are gigantic. I'm teaching two new courses so that comes with a little more prep work. But that's the kind of work I enjoy, honestly. I like the challenge of curriculum.

One thing I'd like some more of in the next few weeks--if I am to feel like a sane human--is some quiet time. I'm sitting in my backyard right now for the first time in a few weeks and I am realizing that it's the first time since last weekend when I got up early and wrote a bunch of letters that I've been alone with my thoughts. Well, for longer than it takes to run to the restroom between English classes. Not good. I don't do well when I don't have stillness in my life. Heck, I haven't even had gym time this week, and that's not stillness--that's mindless repetitive movement. Not even that.

It's all good. All this is good. But I'm going to try more actively to find some peace now. I need it. My brain needs the space to think. I need some time to read the book I've been carrying around in my purse for a month. I could really use a nap.

Friday, August 23, 2013

One down.

One week down. One real week, with a Monday and Friday and a host of real-life teaching hours between--a chance to sit comfortably into the routine of the school year. One week of a whole new schedule for our school that means a different thing each day and a new study class period twice a week. A week of looking at the clock an awful lot for pacing since I never know yet when the period will end.

My kids are great. I love my classes. Love. So far they're going swimmingly. And this is 50% because of the students, who are fabulous and doing exactly as they should, and 50% because I am teaching so hard right now, walking miles of circles behind the groups of desks in my room and wearing tracks in the carpet with my favorite Kenneth Cole wedges so everyone is like, oh, hi Mrs. P you're standing right behind me and yep, sure I'll put my cell phone away and get back to work following along with the reading, mmhmm. It changed my teaching life a while ago when I realized that the behavior of any class period was totally dependent on the effort I put into it. I'm sure that sounds stupid. But if there are problems, I can always trace it back to my own lack of planning or something else I didn't do. So as we start school, I'm putting that knowledge (again) to good use, and working my tail off to start the year on the right foot. To teach them I mean business. To establish routines. To be consistent. To set a tone, especially since I'm looking at a different group of kids.

But I won't lie--that's no easy task. Every day in the beginning of the school year is about proving yourself to 185 watchful, critical pairs of eyes. Imagine if you had to meet 185 strangers on the street tomorrow and get them to trust you enough to listen to what you had to say.

Oh, and you'd have to learn their names.

So we've been busy. It's much easier to keep things moving rather than to give anybody any free time to think too hard about what they don't like about what we're learning. (Heaven knows we've got more than enough to do.) And, actually, I'm teaching a piece that I like quite a bit--an excerpt from Krakauer's Into the Wild--which is interesting enough to hold the attention of 40 or so sixteen year olds at a time. So that's fun.

But the real thing that has been taking it out of me, the thing that I'm feeling in the aches of my shoulders and lower back, is trying to build relationships with those 185. Trying to learn names and remember enough little details to make them feel welcome, remembered, wanted in my classroom. Of course they are, but making them feel it--making 185 humans feel that on a daily basis, or even successfully reaching half of them--is quite a challenge in the beginning, especially when they come through the door in batches of 40. It helps that I had many of them as freshmen, but that also comes with an expectation that I remember many small details that have already slipped through the cracks of my memory in the last two years.

School is good. Teaching continues to teach me every single day, and it challenges me more than I ever thought it could, this many years in. There are days I wish it just got easier--that it was possible to coast. But on the days when everything comes together and I can see it all working, I'm glad for the challenge.

The other day before school a few of my freshmen from last year ran across the quad (yes, ran) and hugged me. It took me by surprise because I'm not really a hugger with my students, but also because these were kids that would stand at my desk last year and roll their eyes, kids that would mumble "what-ever" under their breath and stomp away. Not kids I thought I was reaching at all. But one of them (after she run-hugged me) looked right at me and said "I'm going to come to you this year when I need help in English, right?" I told her of course. I could see on her face that I'd made that connection with her--that golden thing we're hoping for, where they believe that you both know what you're taking about and that you are somebody that they can trust. It gave me hope about getting there this year, too.

My Favorite Things: A Very Short Photo Essay by Henry, Using Mom's Phone

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Stuff & Things

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Sometimes you just need to put on your sister's hat, grab your puppy and your blanket, and go read in the (dry) bathtub. At least, Henry did after school today. When I came home I heard him call hello from the bathroom and I saw legs and a splinted arm sticking up from the tub. He took his Lego clock in there with him so he'd know how long to read.

I'm so sad that he's not going to be eight forever.

Don't get too excited, though. He didn't dream this one up on his own. His reading log for this year includes all kinds of silly tasks (like bathtub reading with silly hats) and his sister did the same thing when she had this same teacher.

Of course, Henry seems to be embracing the assignment and making it his own, to absolutely nobody's surprise.

(He isn't reading upside down--it's a two-fer and it has one book on each half.)

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Addie chose a more traditional work station for her homework. Looks like we're officially into our routine.

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Except for this. He's out for the rest of the summer season. He got whacked with a bat playing catcher on Saturday and for a little while we thought his elbow might be broken. Thankfully, it's not, but he can't move his arm so well and it's very swollen so they're keeping him splinted. And no more ball. Poor guy.

Sports are more of a "thing" around here than they have ever been. In fact, sports right now are more of a thing than they've ever been in my life, period. In high school I was too busy doing pliés and pirouettes and scrunching my leg warmers into exactly the right state of "look how hard I didn't try" scrunch to be paying attention to anything sporty. I missed out on developing whatever that human quality is where you understand why people like to spend their time watching other guys and girls toss a ball around. Or where you learn why tossing a ball around might, like, not be torture for you. I think I was daydreaming about the choreography to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons the day they taught that and I missed it. This is also like math, honestly. I don't understand it so I avoid it. But anyway. Sports. Henry's been playing summer baseball, E just started up another round of softball, and Addie starts swim team clinics in a week or so.

YAY SPORTS.

You really wouldn't think I was a person with a PE credential, would you?

But the truth is that I'm excited for all of them, and though I'm never going to be one of those moms yelling at the ump (YUCK) during my kid's baseball game, at least now I feel like I can follow along. I'm steeling myself for the whole swim thing. I hear it's a whole other deal. But again, I'm excited for Ad. She loves to swim and this is going to be really good for her.

So now that Henry's out, we'll continue to go and cheer on his team and then we'll go and cheer on E's team, and we'll go and watch Ad swim her little swimmies off.


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Other things: My garden is craze amaze, just when I don't have any time to take care of it. I basically leave it alone, let the sprinklers water it every day, and then go out there once a week and rip stuff out that makes me angry. Sorry 'bout that, zucchini plant. You were getting too big for your own good, anyway. But everything is growing like mad, and we're enjoying so much late summer produce. Having a garden is the best.

Plus, it makes me giggle.

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There's not a lot I can say about this that's going to be appropriate, so I'll keep it short. This is a cucumber that had kind of a growth issue.

Didn't think it was possible to love snail mail any more than I already did...  once again my pen pals prove me wrong. Emile FTW with my first (ever!) typewriter-typed letter. Why is everything better when it's typed on an old typewriter? #happy #1941Roya

I came home to this other happy surprise (above)--a typed letter. Typed on a 1941 typewriter. Sigh. I love mail, but today I discovered that typed mail--typewriter typed mail--is a whole new level of awesome.  It feels classic and old-fashioned in the best of ways.

I haven't been great about writing letters in the last few weeks, but they drift in every few days from my pen pals and they're the best. I love that this is a thing we're doing while I'm in my MFA program. And I know that it will be something I look back on and go of course we did that, of course we were so enamored with words that we had to put them in envelopes and send them to each other all the time, but that makes them even more perfect. That's enriching my MFA/grad school/ college-that-I-never-had-in-college-but-am-having-now experience even more.

I even like the slow pace of it--the fact that news and thoughts that move by letter are not as fast as those on social media. I love that there's a thing that you get to keep, a record of someone thinking of you. I'm so sentimental. Such a collector of words. Plus who doesn't love that moment when you sort through the bills and see a letter from a friend?

Nobody. That feeling of carrying a letter that's for you back into the house so you can read it is perfection.

I like to think of this as our slow words movement. Like the slow food movement. There's something glorious about slowing down, yes?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

First.

I shouldn't be writing. I should be sleeping, because I'm in that beyond tired, exhausted space where basically all of your feelings have been simplified in a new kind emotional math to "lay down and cry" and you, like, just can't handle it right now, okay?

My legs and feet hurt like the dickens. There will be no sleeping, yet. This happened last year, too, in the first days of high heel-wearing and teaching and standing on my feet in "don't mess with me" stance for hours at a time behind students' desks and at my podium. I wish there was a way to train up to teaching each fall, a Couch to 5th Period or some such. Maybe then I wouldn't spend a few weeks trying to bathtub and foam roll the aches out of my calves.

But. Other than the ol' feets (which, consequently, were like totally not a problem when I started teaching at 22), today was good. Regular. No surprises. Things are always better once the kids arrive, and that was most certainly the case today. There have been years in recent history when we didn't have any preservice work days because of budget cutbacks, and there have been days when we had preservice work days that were relatively light and unscheduled. Though I prefer to have the work days than to not have them, this year was a year of tightly scheduled meetings and training, the kind of year that makes me want to lay down on the carpet and take a nap before I even start because I feel overwhelmed, tired, and like I might not actually make it to the first day of teaching school.

This was also a new kind of year when I cry in front of both the principal and the vice principal in the days before school even begins.

Hey. Yeah, that happened.

I won't go into specifics, but I will say a few things about that:

a) I'm not proud.
b) It wasn't a good week in hormones.

Unprofessional ladytime outbursts aside, I made it to school today (hair, curled), I made it inside my classroom (even though I locked my keys in there last night) and we all made it through the first day like champs.

I was so excited to meet my first class of AVID students. They were adorable and eager. I was so happy to see a lot of familiar faces in my junior classes--many of them were kids I taught as freshmen, all grown up and happy (or at least not angry) to see me again.

Well, only one kid (one!) gave me a death stare today. Win.

FDOS selfie.

One little thing was weird today. No AP. It's been eight years since I've started a school year without being an AP teacher, and I was worried for a long time about letting that title go. Terrified to even make the decision last year, actually. I've known that I needed to do it so I could get my MFA finished, but I was scared to say it for so long... I think for a lot of reasons. I don't think people like to talk about it, but there's a level of almost automatic respect (or reputation? assumption? something.) that comes with being an AP teacher. I was worried about not having that title this year. (Stupid, I know.) But just like when I gave up ballet... or again when I stopped dancing as an adult, or when I stopped being the dance teacher at our high school, it's hard to stop using a label you've been using to define yourself for a long time. It's hard to stop saying I'm the dancer. I'm the AP teacher. Whatever. (Kind of like how it's still hard for me now to say I'm a writer--am I?) It meant redefining myself, or knowing that I was going to be redefined in the minds of so many students and parents. And even though that's the kind of thing that shouldn't bother zen 34 year old me, it weirds me out to think about. When you teach in a still smallish town, you just know you get talked about. A lot.

I was also worried about not getting to work with those kids anymore, because some of the best relationships of my teaching career have been with those amazing top notch kids from my AP classes. But I was pleased today to have an opportunity to let that fear go. To have a reason to remember kids are kids, and that they don't need labels on them, either. I was so happy to just be with my students and to get a healthy dose of perspective. And to remember that I've had just as many wonderful relationships with kids in all kinds of classes. I was really honest-to-goodness pleased to see so many great faces today. I made the right choice. I have great students. Change isn't bad, it's just scary sometimes to say it out loud, to let something go that you've been using to define yourself.

Today was a good day, and I'm looking forward to this year.

We real cool.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Well, that happened.

Let's talk about the fact that this was my first day back to work and I am already missing one of Henry's baseball games. Yeah. And it's 5:24 PM and I'm sitting on the couch in the clothes I wore to work (not having energy enough to even peel them off or choose a pair of sweatpants from the drawer) and my hair is piled in a curly rats nest on top of my head (which, apparently, was hideous enough that it made Addie go, "whoa! Mom, what happened to your hair?), and I have COOKED NOTHING.

We're all gonna go hungry tonight. Mama's back to work, and it's only Monday. It's all over.

HYPERBOLE.

I can feel you shaking your head as you read this, E, thinking it's only going to get worse. You will get to eat dinner, Dear.

Anyhoo. It's not so bad, but I do need a little break or I'm going to fall asleep mid-dinner prep, which won't be very safe.

I don't see students until Thursday, because I have three days of pre-service. Which I think must be Swahili for "crush the will of the teacher by convincing her she has a lot to do in her classroom, but give her no time to do it." I get time in there, sure. But it's kind of like how sleep was when the kids were newborns. It happens in fitful spurts--like, 45 minutes at a time. Never long enough to count, just long enough for you to feel the cruelty of its being over too soon. And just as soon as I get going on a good stretch of quality time, some crisis happens, and it all goes to crap. Or a bell sounds and I have to be somewhere. So it's a lot of rushing around, a lot of crazy, and then in between the not getting decent stretches of time to do things, I just sit in the piles of things I know I need to do and look around meekly like I can't figure out where to start, and ask myself what the hell I was thinking back in 1995 when I took that career quiz and I was sure that firefighter and hairdresser were not the jobs for me.

My room will be ready. It always is. Seeing the kids will be great. It always is. But that doesn't mean I won't do this derpy routine where I sit in the piles and pull at my hair and spin in circles like a dog 900 times, first. And I'll get all nervous before the first day and then the first day will come and then it will be too long and once it's October I'll be like I'M GOOD.

So, I'm looking forward to that. October.

Today was weird. I won't lie. It was sudden. Before I knew it, I was up and presenting a workshop to other teachers, and realizing I hadn't given my teacher voice a workout since May. I could hear myself talking and I wanted to laugh at me, at Mrs. P--probably not the right space to be in while you're up at the front of the room doing the teaching. It went fine. It just felt strange. Out of body, like. I'm so not Mrs. P right now.

And after school I ran around so I could get the kids to my Gram's to finish Addie's pickles. They came out great, but of course I forgot to take any pictures other than the recipe. But that's pretty cool, since it's in Gram's handwriting:

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A good day, but I'm beat, I still smell a little brine-y, and I might just fall asleep right here on the couch.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Yoga Jones Approach

Yoga Jones: Do you know what a mandala is? 
Piper Chapman: Um, those are those round Buddhist art things? 
Yoga Jones: The Tibet monks make them out of dyed sand laid out into big, beautiful designs. And when they’re done after days or weeks of work, they wipe it all away. 
Piper Chapman: Wow, that’s— that’s a lot. 
Yoga Jones: Try to look at your experience here as a mandala, Chapman. Work hard to make something as meaningful and beautiful as you can and when you’re done pack it in and know it was all temporary. You have to remember that— it’s all temporary.

Back to work tomorrow.

I'm going to work hard to make something meaningful and beautiful this year.

And when it's done, I'll pack it in and know it was all temporary.

Make Your Own Whiteboards. Be Awesome.

Because apparently nobody wants to share this secret with high school teachers.

I told my mom (a first grade teacher) last week that I found a Youtube video that shows you how to make your own whiteboards and she looked at me like duh Heather, and said "yeah, that's how I got my lapboards for my class."

Um. Why didn't anybody tell me before?

So I guess elementary school teachers already know this super secret, but I most definitely did not. I've been teaching 12-ish years and lamenting the price of whiteboards for a long time. Coveting them. Wishing I could afford them. And I could!

So if you want a cheap whiteboard, big or small, here's how you do it.

1. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's. We went to Lowe's. Just because.

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2. Find the "White Panelboard." It comes in 4 x 8 sheets.

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3. Have the store cut it in whatever size you want. I wanted approximately poster-sized boards to use for AVID tutorials, so we had them make two cuts in each board. (The sign said it was 25 cents per cut, but they didn't charge us the $1 when we checked out. Shrug.)

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4. Mount on the walls, if you want. (We mounted all of them but two.) Write. Erase. Be happy.

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The end.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Standing on the Edge of the World

cowstakingpicturebeachKittytreesrockslighthouse.jpgchicken ranch

Two years ago, right before I started grad school and right before her last year of teaching, K and I decided we needed to drive to the coast to see (touch?) the ocean. That year we went to Stinson. Last year we went to San Francisco. This year we took a trip to Point Reyes.

The trip is an annual tradition before school starts (even though she's retired, now), but also a marker of time. We talk about what we've accomplished since the last time we stood there at the edge of the continent together, feeling small as we take in the enormity of the Pacific. Each time, it's kind of amazing what's happened in that year.

There's something so inherently cyclical about the life of a teacher. So in a way, our little day trip to the sea is a nice way to start--a fresh start--and today we didn't just promise each other we'd try new things as we did last year. Today there were goals, dammit. This was our Ocean Goals and Objectives Summit 2013.

My big one for this school year is to say no. To make room in my life for more of my family and more of my writing by saying no to things that don't matter. Or don't fit. Or don't fill me up. Things that are not about my real life. Things that take my time and leave me feeling like I gave away my energy for nothing. Most school years I feel a sense of sadness as summer comes to an end because I resign myself to giving up my "real" life in order to do the Mrs. P Show. This year I want to say no to giving my soul to that, and instead I want to live my real life all year. Still gonna teach the shit outta my classes. Still gonna do my best. But I want to practice this: "No."

I'll see how it goes.

What is the point of this post? There isn't one, I guess. Only to say how thankful I am for a friend who will let me talk all day about the things on my mind, about microwaving my damn eggs, about the same shit I always talk about because I'm stuck on it. (To the point that I miss all the road signs, stop in the middle of the two-lane highway, back up, and get yelled at by a park ranger, because apparently I'm incapable of reading and talking at the same time.) That I am proud to have a friend who has accomplished so much in terms of her own health and happiness in only a year of retirement, and still (how?) manages to schedule more lunches with more people than any human ought to be able to have. That I am grateful to share the big blue/gray Pacific and some salty Eucalyptus sea air with someone who loves it as much as I do, and doesn't mind that it makes both of our hair frizz a little. That I'm grateful for a friend who likes adventures, even short ones. And tri tip. And a good story, even if it involves a little road rash.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Roo, the Pickle Maker

Addie learned how to make my grandma's solar dill pickles today. We figured she's been eating more of them than anybody for so long... it was time she knew the family secret.

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Sunday, August 04, 2013

Truck & Raisin's Excellent Adventure

I could have written this post last night between the hours of 3:00 and 4:30 AM. I was awake, thanks to my stomach's decision to be a total douche about digesting fried food (methinks this means I am an old person, now) and go the whole "let's do indigestion when we could be sleeping" route. But instead of getting up and writing, I just lay in bed and steeped in my anger real good. That might not have been healthy, but it sure felt right.

Yesterday we did three things. Wait. Four things. WE DID ALL THE THINGS. But yesterday was fun, all of it. And strange, in parts. So by the time last night I saw a fifteen year old boy in skinny jeans wearing furry wolf ears and, yes, a big, fat, furry wolf tail that went all the way down to his ankles, I smiled and was like, huh.

So anyway. Yesterday. Henry boy had a baseball game in the morning and he rocked it. Like, I'm not sure what happened between our last game of the season where I was writing about how we were not good but we had heart, and August, but the boy has gained some confidence. (And also? Not to be overlooked? My longer attention span at the game and my correct use of the term RBI in conversation. Thank you.) I cannot believe that ol' Hanko has matured so much between May and August, nor has he been running daily drills or anything, but the boy had a great day. He played first base almost the whole game, made a great out at first, and got two base hits. Easily the best game he's ever had. And fun to watch.

We raced home, post-game, to take showers, because we were a family of filthy people who needed to get clean before we headed to our next destination: a family reunion for E's mom's family. Just as Henry jumped in the shower, I realized that I hadn't planned anything to take with us, side-dish wise. Veggie garden to the rescue. I threw together a salad of things strictly from my garden, we all got clean, and we headed to Roseville for the thing.

The reunion was really nice, and it was great to see a bunch of extended family that we haven't seen since probably just after Addie was born. And when I say "a bunch," I'm not exaggerating. E's family alone is (I think) over 30 people when it's just us, so you add in a few more branches and this thing was huge. We were in a really nice park with lots of shade and a huge play structure for the kids. We had a great time sitting around, eating and catching up. And this is true even though religion, politics, and DNA/ personal and biological information collection conspiracies were topics of conversation within the first five minutes we got there. You gotta love people.

After the reunion wrapped up and we did all our hugs goodbye, we decided our day wasn't full enough, so we took the kids over to Nordstrom because the shoes they wanted for school were on sale. Of course they both ended up choosing new shoes that were not on sale, but what are you gonna do. We met up with E's cousin Kev and took the kids to Dave and Busters for a night of fried food and video games (hence my late night good-timey rock-n-roll stomach thing). Kev was visiting from Southern California all week and the kids adore him. He nicknamed Addie "Truck" shortly after she was born, and Henry subsequently earned the nickname "Raisin." For no good reason other than silliness, and that just makes them love him even more. So Truck, Raisin, E, H, and Kev had a great night playing arcade games and Skee-Ball. And we saw Wolf Boy.

And THEN on the way home, we saw a DeLorean on the freeway. Boom. Excellent.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

currently.

remembering that I have a blog. Oops. I think the same thing happened last year when I went to Yosemite, too. I unplugged, then I sort of remained unplugged. I always find that my sleep schedule gets reset by the more sunlight-driven thing I'm on there, too (which proves you right, NPR). Not that I mind any of that. Lest you think I've been sitting on my back porch, cross-legged, meditating all week, I'll set you straight: I've mostly been running the kids around here and there. But as I did that, I somehow kept up a bit of a technology fast.

gearing up for some family sports time. First, another round of Henry baseball. The boy is playing summer ball this year, which I hope is not synonymous with melting-in-the-August-heat ball. He's happy to be playing again, and that makes us happy. We're also getting ready for E to start another round of his adult softball league--this time he formed his own team--so that will be good too, when the games don't overlap with Henry's. And we're hoping to get Roo into fall swim clinics this week for the swim team. So, yeah. Our calendar is filling up. And--oh yeah--school is in two weeks.

coming to terms with the fact that my Addie Marie, my Roodle Doo, my Funschkie Bear who in my mind some days is still all of two years old, is about to start sixth grade. And as of this week, has her own cell phone. Yeesh. I mean, she's awesome and we wanted her to have it so we can coordinate rides and such... She's so responsible, and this is the next step, you know, in the trusting and the giving of opportunities to show she can be trusted. But yeesh.

still laughing about Henry's latest confession. He'd been working up to it for about three days, and by the time he came to tell me about it the other night, it was really bothering him. It went something like this:

Me: Dude, what is bothering you?
Henry: I did something at school. I knew it wasn't good.
Me: And it's still bothering you? Was it really bad?
Henry: Kinda. Well, I think.
Me: Just tell me what you did
Henry: Well, I pushed Addie in line.
Me: Don't talk to me at the end of summer about 'you pushed Addie in line.' What's really wrong?
Henry: Well, I also told this one kid I had a spider bite in my armpit.
Me: Well, did you?
Henry: Yeah.
Me: DUDE. These are not things to be worried about. What's really wrong?
Henry: Well, there is this other thing.
Me: Yeah. What did you do? Just tell me, honey.
Henry: I'm not sure what made me do it.
Me: What, Buddy.
Henry: I DREW A POOP IN ROHAN'S NOTEBOOK.
Me: [laughing] I know what made you do it.
Henry: [smiling] You do?
Me: Yeah, that's FUNNY. But it is NOT APPROPRIATE.
Henry: I drew it in a toilet. And I wrote "poop" next to it real small. Rohan was like "what's pop?"
Me: [still laughing] You can not do that, okay? You're going to get other people in trouble if you draw poop in their notebooks. And you're going to get in trouble if it's in yours.
Henry: [laughing] It was funny.
Me: Do you feel better now that you finally told me?
Henry: Yeah.

feeling like the biggest idiot for not figuring out the simplest thing so much sooner. For at least a year, I've been making fritatta (basically just baked omlets) for breakfast because I figured out that if I eat some protein and some veggies, I feel better in the morning. And eggs are pretty easy. If you make a frittata, you just put the whole pan in the oven, and boom, you're done. BUT IT JUST GOT EASIER.

Why, oh why, did I never know/think/realize that I could just make the damn eggs in my microwave in a mug? No pan to clean, no oven to deal with, no waiting. I swear, sometimes I am completely dense. Of course microwaved eggs are not as good as a frittata. But most of the time, I'm so short on time. And microwaved eggs and veggies are better than anything I could buy on the way to school. Anyway. I had this brilliant realization when I read this post and I've been eating easy eggy muggins ever since. And feeling like DUH, PDAWG, DUH.


Eggy Muggins (adapted/photo from IQS)

1. Put some chopped veggies and/or spinach in a mug.
2. Add a splash of water. Nuke for 1 min.
3. Dump out excess water.
4. Crack an egg (or two) in the mug. Scramble.
5. Nuke: 1 min for one egg, 1.5 min for 2 eggs

I can't tell if this means I am brilliant or, like, really far behind the rest of the world.

enjoying my first batch of cold brew iced coffee. We got to talking about it in Yosemite and I realized I'd never tried it. I don't have any special equipment so I made quite a mess in the kitchen when I strained the concentrate, but the iced coffee without the acid is amazeballs. I already drink a boatloat of iced coffee at home, so this feels like a level up.

happy. This past week has been full of old friends and work friends and family... lots of kid time and family time and H & E time. Getting ready for school to start again, but feeling ready, happy, settled.