Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

When Ben arrived home yesterday, he let me know he had a band practice that evening at 6:30 Normally, that would not be a problem, but no day seems to be normal around here. Here's what the past 24 hours have looked like:
  • 3:30 -- Ben arrived home and I learned about band practice planned for 6:30 that evening. Problem is I have book club scheduled at my house starting at 6:00 Further problem, Logan has football practice ending at 5:30.
  • 4:00 -- Contacted friend Sharon and asked her to arrive early for book club to serve as surrogate hostess. No problem. Thanks, Sharon.
  • 4:00 -- Ben called Grandpa to arrange his transportation. Grandpa was unavailable. Called neighbor Beth and she said "sure."
  • 5:30 --Went to school to pick up Logan. Over-zealous coach kept the team until 6:10. Book club started without me. At MY HOUSE.
  • 6:20 -- Leaving football practice with Logan in car, I passed Beth in her car filled with kids. She had just dropped Ben at band practice and asked if I needed her to pick him up. I replied, "yes, please, he gets off at 8:30." She said, "no problem, I have to pick up Cam in Nixa at 8:15. I can be back by 8:30." I wondered why all the kids were in the car, but couldn't chat as we passed each other in traffic.
  • 6:30 -- Arrived home to find book club in full swing. Sharon did such a good job, I don't think anyone noticed I wasn't there. For this club, pot-luck finger food is the first order of business, and since they are all such good providers, I wasn't missed. And there was plenty left for me when I finally did get home half an hour late.
  • 9:00 -- Beth delivered Ben safely home and the book club people departed.
  • 9:15 -- Ben declared he has nothing to wear the next day and started a load of laundry.
  • 10:00 -- I put Ben's laundry in the dryer and went to bed.
  • 2:00 A.M. -- I am awakened by a thunderstorm. Can't get back to sleep -- see 4:00 on the clock face.
  • 5:00 A.M. -- I guess I did fall asleep, because I awaken to the alarm. Time to get Logan up, fed, and driven to school for 6:00 A.M. weight training.
  • 5:45 -- pull out of the driveway and see Beth in her garage with Cam getting in the car. Am able to give Cam a ride to weight training. Wish I had known earlier (?) that he was going so Beth could have been spared getting ready to go. Will work this out for future mornings.
  • 6:15 A.M. --I arrive back home and awaken Ben so he can leave at 6:45 for his early band practice.
  • 6:45 -- I think I drove Ben to band. I hope so, he's not here, and I have no recollection of exactly how and when he left the house.
  • 8:00 -- I realized it was nap time and went back to bed.
  • 11:30 -- Awoke and did a load of laundry.
  • 1:00 P.M. I sit at my computer in my PJs.
  • Tonight and tomorrow morning -- We get to do the same thing all over again, except no book club, but I have three more band uniforms to hem. And I don't have it so bad. Beth has four kids, her husband is out of town, and she was able to help me! And oh, did I mention she has a stress fracture in her foot so she's clomping around in a walking cast? Does this pace cause stress fractures?
And yet, I love this life. The boys have inspiring teachers who are willing to work overtime to make sure the boys perform at the top of their ability. I have wonderful, willing, and supportive friends and neighbors I can draw upon with a moment's notice. I get to participate in a great book club. And I have the joy of a life with two terrific boys. What more could I ask for? (Well, maybe eight hours of uninterrupted sleep once in a while.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sober Surfing

Last Thursday after I had completed my last round of taxi service and brought Ben home from band practice, I sat down at my computer with a nice glass of cabernet. I took a big swig of the wine and felt something foreign in my mouth. Fearing it was a fly (been there, done that) I projectilely spat the wine directly at the computer. It immediately shut down and hasn't been heard from since. Searching for good news, I congratulated myself on having backed up 7 gb of photos just a couple of weeks ago. Anything I've taken since then is still in the camera.

The computer was old; maybe I put it out of its misery. The letter A was missing from the keyboard and the battery was completely and permanently dead. It was bloated and sluggish. It was time.
So, here's the replacement. It's an Asus and was just under $500. And, I'll get used to it. So far, I've discovered it has the ability to zoom in and out almost magically. I seem to be doing something with my left hand and the built-in mouse, but whatever it is, it's not under my conscious control yet. In the photo, it's trying to sync my ipod to my itunes. If I have it backwards, I'll end up with an empty ipod. We'll see. These idiot-proof programs aren't equipped to deal with me! (Or vice-versa.) Needless to say I won't be drinking and keyboarding anytime in the near future!
I love these uniforms. The quality of the tailoring is amazing and it makes them a joy to work on. They are built to withstand at least ten seasons of marching band rigor worn by a high school student. I've altered and/or repaired two dozen of them in the last week because even sublime tailoring can't take into account the different sizes and shapes of the kids.

Tomorrow I'm hosting the book club I joined early this summer. It's a nice group of local women, many of them active or retired school teachers. This group shares a "finger-food" dinner and discusses books that have been borrowed via ILL. There's a service that supplies copies of book club worthy titles in quantities that satisfy a good sized group. They aren't the latest in print, but we've read some interesting things I might have otherwise missed.

Last night we had the opportunity to introduce an Italian boy to American pizza. A friend is hosting an exchange student from Rome for the school year. He just arrived in the country on Friday and seemed pretty overwhelmed. He is 16 and will turn 17 at the end of the month. I can't imagine as a parent being brave enough to send my kid off like that for a whole school year. Andrea's command of the spoken English seemed a bit light -- I hope it's because he was tired and overwhelmed. I understand his written language skills as well as his reading are quite good.
We'll see how he's adjusting when we celebrate his birthday at the end of the month.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Off Again!

Back to school 2008

Three years later

And two years from now Ben will be out of the picture. Logan will have to go his last years alone.

We'll have a busy day today. They left for school a little after seven this morning. After I get home from my early physical therapy appointment, I'll sew band uniforms all day. Logan will go to football practice right after school and get home around 5:30. We'll just have time to squeeze in dinner together (chicken marbella, sweet potato fries, spinach, and green salad) when it will be time to take Ben to band practice. At 9:00, every one will be home and I'll be able to pour a glass of wine to drink while I go over all their syllabi and school supply lists. I love the rhythm of these days (and years)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It All Comes Out in the Wash

I know -- BORING! -- more quilt pictures and two the same. Only they aren't the same, the top picture was taken before I washed the quilt and the bottom is the after shot. The point is to show you it's okay to wash a quilt I've made (if the quilt is small enough, or your washing machine is big enough).

This quilt was finished just in time for Nikki's baby shower on Sunday and just in time for me to start working on band uniforms. I've spent eight hours in the past two days helping to fit all the kids and in a weak moment I signed on to do the necessary repairs and alterations. There are about two dozen uniforms to rework and about two weeks before they need to wear them for the first time. I think I can, I think I can!

School starts tomorrow. It's the first official day of high school for Logan if you don't count his high school summer school session and all his freshman team football practices. Ben starts his junior year. Both boys are carrying heavy loads this year, so school should be intense for them. We're all going to be busy.

I've decided to postpone the second knee surgery until I have more complete healing from the first. I've been struggling with quite a bit of edema and I need to get that under control before I proceed. I'm thinking not till next spring. The new knee is working really well and I'm delighted with my improved mobility. It still feels "clunky" and numb, but works just fine.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

And It's Good For You

My favorite sneaky way to get lots of nutrition into the boys.

Prepare 1 C. organic brown rice in 2 C. organic chicken broth
Stir in 1 C. cubed chicken left over from last night's rotisserie chicken
Add a can of black beans
Add 1 can chopped Ortega chiles
Add 1 C. frozen corn
Stir in about 1/2 C. medium salsa (to taste)
Put in 9" square pyrex pan and top with 1/2 to 1 C. grated cheese

Heat at 350 degrees until it is hot all the way through.

This doesn't have much chicken in it, so a rotisserie chicken lasts us for several meals. We eat the parts that stick out the first night -- drumsticks, thighs, and wings. Night #2 I make this dish which lasts two nights and I still have plenty of chicken for sandwiches and chicken salad.

I've heard that the combination of rice and beans is the equivalent of a complete protein. I'm not a nutritionist, so I can't say for sure, but I like to think so because it is always a challenge to get Ben to eat enough protein. For veggies it has the corn, salsa, and peppers -- you could add others. Serve with a green salad and you are over the top nutrition-wise!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

God Bless the Class of 2010

I think I are not a grammarian.
I think I am an editor.

  • Why does this have to be one of Logan's favorite shirts?
  • Why did he have to wear it to California and to Lisa's house?
  • Why didn't I edit it sooner, instead of just cringing every time he wore it?
  • How could the school let this slip by?
  • Why wasn't it recalled?
  • What will become of the class of 2010?
  • Why do people think we are a bunch of illiterate hillbillies?
  • Why does it bother me so much?
  • Why am I so snarky?
  • What do you think?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Not a Hoarder, I'm just Sentimental!

I'm really truly trying to get rid of stuff. But it's hard. I am working my way through my closet, determined to keep only what I actually wear. But it's hard. Take this shirt, for instance:I bought this during the summer of 2000, the first and, as it turned out, only year of my retirement. I took an 11,000 mile coast-to-coast road trip. Part of the time I was alone, and part of the time one or two of my three oldest grandsons, Tommy, Billy, and Danny (or as they are known today, Tom, Bill, and Dan) were with me. The shirt is a souvenir of the writing workshop I attended at the University of Iowa. During those intense five days, a classmate and I formed a friendship which survives to this day, although she's a much better writer than I.

Later in my travels, Billy and Danny joined me (that's who they were at that time) and we toured National Parks: Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Glacier. At Glacier, we drove over the Going to the Sun Road and stayed at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton on the Canadian side.
Going to the Sun Road

In the days when Billy (with Medusa-like spikes) was taller than Danny
(My white Dodge Caravan at left)
The amazing old hotel sits on a wind-swept bluff overlooking Waterton Lake. The winds are so strong the hotel requires anchoring cables and still it sways and creaks. It was a perfect place for the boys to sail their model gliders. They climbed to the highest balcony and let them go, drawing the attention of lots of visitors who served as spotters and go-fers so they could clamber back up and do it all over again.

We spent one afternoon in the town of Waterton, I did laundry while the boys terrorized the town as they pedalled a four-wheeled surrey on two wheels around the corners of the village. While the laundry and the boys spun around, I shopped and bought this jacket which I've probably worn twice. I need to get rid of it. But it's hard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Must Be Someplace Else; It Doesn't Get This Hot Here

At 6:00 P.M.!!! It was so hot at 6:00 A.M. Ben voluntarily put on shorts instead of jeans for the first time this summer (in Missouri, that is -- I sent shorts with him to California, did he wear them?) He did wear them in Florida this past May. This has been the hottest summer within memory for many locals I've asked. Records are being broken and I worry about pets and people without a/c.

Ben has band camp this week -- they gather at 8:00 A.M. and go till 8:30 P.M., with 3-1/2 hours of break time for lunch and dinner. They are supposed to practice marching in the morning and in the evening, but only when the heat index on the field is at some pre-determined acceptable level. Bet they won't be marching this evening!

Logan has just been hanging out at home; it's too hot to shoot hoops with his friend next door. Maybe they will go to the pool this evening, if the water is not too warm!
I saw a scissortailed flycatcher this morning while driving Ben to band. Apparently they are common to this area, but I had never noticed one before. At first, I thought the bird was carrying something, but then realized that all was part of the bird. Very pretty. There are lots of wonderful birds in this area, many of which I cannot identify because they are new to me.