Friday, August 14, 2009

With a Capital "T"

Sophie is in trouble today.

Well...actually she was in trouble on Tuesday, but we haven't been able to squeeze her punishment into the schedule until today.

It all started on Sunday really.

Every summer our church (St. Jude's Episcopal) holds a Mass in the Time of Shakespeare (complete with queen, lutes, etc.) in honor of the Utah Shakespearean Festival that is our little town's claim to fame.  We showed up last Sunday having missed the last several weeks, and not knowing what Elizabethan shenanigans awaited us.

For the service, they invite the actors from the Greenshow (the free before-the-real-show-show with dancing, singing, and again Elizabethan themed)to participate.  Sophie--who is a huge Greenshow fan--was very excited to see these"famous" actors at her church.

So, after church, the hospitality ladies put on a super sweet high tea.  We're talking crumpets and cream and silver tea pots here.  Sophie and I ended up at a table with the Greenshow actors, and they were super sweet to her.  They answered all of her questions and chatted her up and it was a thrilling experience for Soph.
But that was NOTHING compared to Tuesday when Sophie and I attended the Greenshow, and one of the actors recognized Sophie and singled her out to stand up and play a part in "The Scum and Ratsby Show"  (think Elizabethan stand-up).

My girl was over the moon.

So we came home, and she was telling her dad about it--swirling and twirling around generally being spaztic--and she promptly spilled a huge class of water right on E's laptop.

It sparked and smoked and died.

I should add that Sophie as been told and warned and cautioned about fooling around in close proximity to her dad's computer desk.  About 500 times.

There were tears all around, and while it was an accident, it was one she had been warned against profusely.  Unfortunately, the incident happened on Tuesday; her birthday was on Wednesday; Thursday I had to be back at work (sigh)and she was scheduled to spend a day with Grandma; so the decided punishment--a full days worth of grounding to her room--couldn't actually take place until today.

Not the best case scenario I know.

Oh well.  Wish me luck in holding my resolve today.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The dog won't come when she's called...

and the dumplings keep burning.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my complaints about the DS that Sophie (finally) got for her birthday today.

I held out for a long time on this one kids.  But, E talked me around, and my shiny new seven year old is now the proud owner of a shiny new pearl pink Nintendo DS.

Have I mentioned that video games fill me with rage.  I can't play them.  I hate them.  I hate trying to help Sophie play them.  I hate that the stupid voice command on the Nintendogs seems completely shitty, and trying to make the fake dog answer her to her fake name like 50 times (which, by the way, made the REAL dog very antsy because he was like, "Hello!  I'm here!  Why do you keep calling me!) nearly lead me to have a nervous breakdown this morning.

Of course, she's enjoying the Cooking with Mama game, and even has on her chief's hat.  After yesterday's REAL cooking experiment ("I made you a nice warm drink mom.  It has milk, sugar, chocolate, butterscotch and cinnamon. The microwave is a little messy now.") I can't say that I'm sad that she is making octopus dumplings in a completely sterile environment.

Ultimately, I'm a complete and total Luddite when it comes to video games.  I sound like an 80 year old woman walking around saying things like, "Kids these days don't know how to have fun anymore.  All they do is play those new-fangled  Pac-Man games."

But I said OK, and so, having made my bed, I suppose I aught to quit my bitching and lay in it.

So--Happy 7th birthday my darling Soph.  You are the light of my life and the song in my heart.  Please keep liking me for at least a couple more years.  Also, it's almost time to put the DS away.  You have 10 more minutes.  I don't care if you're almost done with that level.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

And then she turned 34...

I kind of hate birthdays.  It's like you should be having lots of fun and feeling very special, but ultimately it's just another day and while it's nice to get some cash and not have to do the dishes, I kind of wonder if it's worth the trouble.

Snapshots from the last few weeks:
  • Janzen watching in awe as I unloaded my first Costco haul.  After he watching me put away the lifetime (well, 3 month anyway) supply of paper towels, toothpaste, laundry soap, etc., he asks, "Geez Boo. Is this for when the zombies attack?"
  • Sitting on the porch at the Jorgensen family cabin all day with my dear Jen.  Nothing better to do than watch the Quaky leaves quake.  Perfect.
  • Making my first ringer in horseshoes.
  • Cleaned out my closet.  Finally.
  • Trying to find some jeans that fit with Soph...both of us struggling and unsuccessful.  Her saying, "Mom, trying on pants just makes me too emotional."
  • The first red cherry tomato from the garden.
  • Turing the calendar over to August, realizing that school is starting any second now, and I am not ready.
  • Having the first truly, truly ugly fight with my husband in years.  Then making up and realizing that I truly, truly do love this man.
  • Watching Soph gear up for her first jog with dad (her idea).  Shoes on the right feet--check.  Headband--check. Shaker cued to Dancing Queen--check.  The girl is ready to rumble.
  • Sitting through my first visit to the dentist in WAY longer than I feel comfortable disclosing to anyone.  Even the hygenist.  Do I floss?  Ummm.  Sure.  You bet.  No cavities (I've never had even one.) but the punishment for my lack of dental care is now a series of fairly painful "deep cleanings."
  • Celebrating Erik's birthday with a picnic at Cedar Breaks--just us and the kids.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Home Run!

"Mommmm!   Geez--I'm going to second base!"


The above is what Soph yelled at me when I opened the door while she was going to the bathroom.
Apparently, she heard someone (probably her dad) talking figuratively about "first base" and "second base"--spun the idea through the crazy mess and marvel that is her 6 year old mind--added a little prior knowledge, and figured he must be talking about bathroom business.  I guess it makes sense in a way--number one/first base, number two/second base.

So now, when we walk the dog, it's "Ew...Jimmy just went to first base on that mailbox."

I haven't set her straight yet.  While I'm confident I could explain first base with no problem, bases 2, 3, and home plate are probably better covered sometime in the distant future--like at the 5th grade maturation program.

(Ok--maybe a little before that.  Lord.  I'm going to have to have the sex talk with my daughter some day.  I wonder how that will go.  Personally, I got most of my information from various Harlequin romances.  As you can imagine, I was slightly disappointed when my first encounter was nothing like "Savage Thunder."  Apparently he hadn't read the book.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In which she acts as t hough it hasn't been several months since her last post...

Anyone else finding the solutions to systems of linear equations today?

I thought not.

Ahhh, summer school.

Somedays I just sit here with my thumb up my ass.  Other days I explain the difference between socialism and communism to one kid, dash over to check on the girl doing the packet on invertebrates, and then desperately try to relearn polynomials to drag some poor senior through his last math credit.


We're four weeks and four days into summer, but who's counting.

I feel like this is the last summer that Sophie is going to be a little girl; next year is 2nd grade, and after that, or so I've heard, moms become creatures who know nothing, and are basically in the way.

So--my goal for this summer is to, as much as possible, enjoy my little girl.  Well, that and have many more drinks than I do during the school year.

Here's a quick summary of the days that have blasted by.

Swimming Lessons
Soph ended up with a GREAT teacher.  The scardy-Soph who wouldn't even put her face in the water at the beginning of last year now jumps off the diving board--in the deep end--and swims to the edge on her own.
(The last lesson was a bit of a gross-out comedy.  Imagine a pool full of kids.  Sophie has on her pink Speedo goggles and is having a tea-party at the bottom of the pool with the fairies while waiting for her turn to practice the elementary back stroke with the teacher.  Suddenly she shoots to the surface.  Her face a study of composed concern, she raises her hand, and in a just louder than normal voice calls out, "Teacher!"  The teacher doesn't answer, as she busy drilling "Monkey/Airplane/Soldier "into the brain and body of a very reluctant student.  Sophie calls again "Teacher!  I need to tell you something!"  Kathy, the teacher, finally heads over to Soph to ask what the problem is.  Sophie tells her, "I think someone had an accident."  Kathy asks, "Did someone get hurt?"  Sophie whispers, "No.  Somebody pooped."  Kathy asks, "Are you sure?"  Soph answers confidently, "Yep.  It's over there.  I can see little pieces coming off of it."  After investigating with Soph's borrowed goggles, Kathy confirms the turd and evacuates the pool.)

Summer Reading
We're blasting through the Little House on the Prairie books.  She's taken to wearing the bonnet my mom gave her daily and calling me Ma.  I really, really want to get her to start reading independently,and try and tempt her with many and varied kinds of books from the library, but she just isn't interested.  This is where I start comparing her to other kids, and me to other moms, and then feeling like shit for even making the comparisons and like even worse shit for finding us both a little lacking.

Other Shenanigans
As usual, I've over scheduled her, because there's nothing that makes me more crazy than trying to entertain a bored kid.  Which, frankly, I'm not sure is my job, but which I do.  My mom didn't taxi our asses all around town.  We just played--or watched tv--or forced Jon to submit to being dressed as a girl complete with hula skirt and bikini top--but it wasn't like she was all that involved.  Which I get.  There were four of us.  We had a built in playmate--or nemesis--and either way, there was someone to interact with.  I guess my guilt at not having another kid has lead me to play mommy cruise director--a roll I'm ambivalent about.  But there's craft camp and yoga and piano and cousin play dates and all other kinds of activities that we run around to.  And not only do they keep Soph busy, they give me an excuse not to clean the house.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Am I the only mom...

who feels a little overwhelmed (and slightly peeved) by the amount of shit that the elementary school wants me to keep track of?

Maybe I'm just stupid.

Lately though, it seems like I'm receiving a new dictum every day...
  • Wear the class shirt on Monday.  (Which is a problem, as Sophie doesn't actually have any PANTS.)
  • Track 20 minutes of reading per night.
  • Return the leveled reading book every day.
  • Return LIBRARY books on Tuesday.
  • Start tracking addition reading minutes for the read-a-thon starting last Friday.  (p.s.  The letter sent home for said read-a-thon was abysmal.  Shocking. Nearly impossible to read because of the shit-tastic usage.)
  • Turn in minutes for read-a-thon on Friday.
And that's just the crap I can think of off the top of my head.  I don't know how moms with more than one child do it!

Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing but love for my comrades at the elementary school.  I couldn't do it.  The same kids.  All day.  Plus the tattling and pants peeing and snotty noses.  BUT maybe they could lighten up just a bit on my 6 year old.

In further bitching and complaining news, I hate the cold, hate the first week of daylight savings, (because frankly, I just don't see the savings.  I don't think the SUN gets the memo about moving the clock an hour either way.  It shines for its allotted shining time whether we call it 6:30 am or 5:30 am.) and I hate that my body was thrown so out of wack this morning, I didn't get in my, ahem, morning constitutional, and now will probably be backed up for days.

To balance things out, I can report that I love (ok, that's a strong word.  How about like?) the Dead in Dixie books that Kodikins loaned me.  I love that the crippling fear and worry I've been experiencing for the last several weeks seems to be on a brief hyatus.  I love having my Daisy Scout meeting all planed out.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Here I Am. (But not to rock you like a hurricane)

All day long today I've tried, just as an exercise, to not distract myself.  Not to do those things I do to just past the time and numb the edge and dull the free floating fear and dread that seems lately to be so much a part of my human experience.

And I discovered that I do a lot of numbing.

I love to read--but often I read not because I necessarily want to--but because it keeps my mind distracted.  (Because honestly, how many times can I really need to read Protector of the Small.)

And then there's the sitting down in front of the laptop to check Facebook, (I DID make myself give up Perez Hilton a few months ago) my various emails, my blog stats, back to Facebook, then to Go Fug Yourself, and then MSN, and then back to Facebook.  It's pointless.

There's more.  (You know---check the fridge, check on that chin zit, etc.) But my main point here is that the majority of my non-working or Sophie-care related moments are spent just trying to avoid my head.

So today, I just tried to say, "Ok head.  Here I am."

And apparently, there's a reason I've been trying to avoid that.

It sucketh.  I seriously, seriously don't know what to do with myself other than list all the things to be afraid of and worried about.

But I'm going to keep trying.  I'm operating under the assumption that eventually I'll get to the end of the list.
I'm not sure what to do with that "other" time.  My guitar case is dusty and my callouses are gone, but maybe that would be a direction.  Also, I don't look at the blog as an avoidance mechanism.  I do think it's reflective, so maybe I'll try to post more than once a month.

A quick Soph said:

Sophie can memorize about anything if you put it to music.  We sang the Girl Scout Law to the tune of "Home on the Range" a couple of times at the last Daisy meeting, and she got it in her head.  She's been having me help her, and now she has the whole thing memorized.  I was pretty proud of her, so I asked her if she'd like to recite the law at our next meeting.  Her reply:

"Oooo!  Can I wear a cloak and wear a crown and make a speech?"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Deep Breaths

I spent most of the week hanging on by a thread.  Maybe it's my Mormon upbringing, but my gut always has told me that the world is one step from total meltdown, and this week, I had moments of true, true panic.

E has made me promise to quit listening to NPR, but I can't help it. I poke the power button of my car radio and just listen for about 5 seconds and then quickly turn it off.  Little flashes like " Iran continues it's uranium enrichment program..." and "...the catastrophic down-turn of markets in Germany..." aren't doing much to dispel the ever increasing anxiety that has taken up residence in the pit of my stomach.

Plus, I spent the tail end of last week at a conference, and the lady who traveled and roomed with me was nice, and stable, and older, and kept saying things like, "Our daughter who is a financial analyst and who has been pretty spot on through this whole thing says to be ready for the next dark ages."   When I explained to her that comments like that really disturb and upset me, and I asked if it was hyperbolic at all, she said no, but then went on to try and console me with a lecture on how the dark ages have been renamed the middle/medieval ages because there was still art and music and literature.  That didn't help.

Eventually I had a full fledged panic-attack in the middle of dinner at PF Changs, had to excuse myself to go into the bathroom to shake and barf, and then returned to the table and asked if we could kindly change the topic from the inevitability of the loss of all our jobs to something slightly less vomit inducing.

And so much of it comes back to being a mom.  I look at Sophie's beautiful, sweet face, and wonder what there will be for her.  I imagine horrible scenarios in which she is starving or enslaved or blown up or dying from some crazy form of typhoid-germ warfare and then I get the shakes again and have to excuse myself to go in the bathroom and sob and try not to barf.

How about an abrupt change of subject?

So you know about the whole Mormon thing already.  I was one, now I'm not, I live in Utah, and those guys have a pretty slick recruitment scheme in place for the kiddies.  It's called Primary.  And Soph wants to go. 


It's been a struggle for me on a number of levels.  A few weeks ago when she came home from attending church and said to me, "Don't worry mom.  There IS a Jesus.  Joseph Smith saw him.  Can Daddy baptize me?" and my brain tried to crawl out through my right nostril because it knew there was no way it could process that statement, I decided that maybe I had better start looking for some options.

What I REALLY wanted was some community/congregation that would be sweet to her, wanted to help the world, offered some kind of "Bible as Literature for Elementary School Kids" so that she could learn the stories--because they are a cultural phenomenon that are helpful to know--if for nothing else than literary allusions, and would fill in the vacuum that she seems to be feeling about being one of the only kids in her class who don't go to church.  If they took it pretty easy on the Jesus question, that would be good too.

I was dropping off some Girl Scout (I didn't mention that I'm the new Daisy Scout leader?) stuff at the local Episcopal church (They're nice enough to let us use their space.) and happened to bump into their reverend/pastor/minister.  A very cool lady (!) named Susan.  I mentioned to her that my daughter was feeling very curious about religion, and we were considering a visit to the Episcopalians just to check things out.  She lit right up, and was very, very kind.  First she read me her "Robin Williams Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian," t shirt, then she assured me that wherever I was in my journey, I, and my daughter, were welcome.  She also told me that jeans were totally acceptable to wear, and that if we wanted to stay, there would be coffee hour after.

We've been three times now.  Soph has the Sunday school teacher (a very sweet 8th grade girl) all to herself, and they mainly read children's bible stories and color.  She likes it.   I like sitting in the chapel; it has beautiful wood arches, and a very cool labrynth on the floor.  I also like the community/congregation, and particularly the older ladies who tell Soph how pretty she is, give me a hug during the "peace," and put on a pretty impressive spread after church every week.  And the coffee is pretty good too.

If only it weren't for the fact that I don't actually believe in God--Jesus in particular--it would be a perfect fit.  I love how at the end of her sermon today, Susan said, "Let's get living!"  I love how she seems to like ending the service with the Amiel quite, "Life is short. Be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!"  I hate it when everyone recites the Nicene Creed.  It reminds me that the reason the church exists is to worship God/Jesus, not to provide me with a silent place to sit, a nice cup of coffee, and a few words of encouragement.

They're starting an investigator's class next Sunday, and Susan invited me to come.  In fact, I think I may be the investigator that the class is being held for.  And I don't wanna.  I don't want to have to say, "I think what you have here is swell.  I love the sense of community and the way that you seem to want to do good in the world.  I also think the whole Jesus thing is a bit of a crock."  I don't know that they'd still let me come.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A quick Soph (and Madeline) said...

So, big sis Mandy and I were shuttling Sophie and Madeline over to Grandma's house on New Year's Day, and the following conversation ensued.

Me:  Wow!  Look at all the snirt.
Madeline:  What's snirt?
Mandy:  Oh, it's something they said in Minnesota.  It's that gross mixture of snow and dirt on the side of the road.
Sophie: (Thinking for a minute)  What about snee?
Me: (Thick as a plank)  What's snee?
Madeline: (Catching on immediately) Yellow snow!  Snow and pee!
Sophie:  (Definitely on a roll now) And snoop!
Madeline: Or snoo!
Sophie: (Triumphantly) And SNARF!

Somehow, I don't think this is what the Eskimos had in mind with their 100 different words for snow.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Only 2 days...

of Christmas Vacation are left.

As always, depending on the slant of memory, it seems like it just started, and at the same time like it's been ages since I rolled out of bed at 6:00, hit the carpet running, and found myself sitting at my desk by 7:30.

Two other teachers and I held a SIOP training (strategies for English language learners and limited English proficient students) yesterday.  Getting ready was SO stressful.  The prospect of standing up in front of peers and telling them what's what is scary as fuck.  But, if I'm being totally honest, I think I did ok.  I always over prepare, particularly when I'm nervous, and that lead to a bit of a rushed feeling, but other than that, I don't think I made too much of a tit of myself.

(Want to know something else?  As much as I dreaded it, and as nerve wracking as it was, teaching a group of literate, reasonably interested, well behaved adults was kind  They even got most of my jokes.  In another life time, far into the future, it may be something I wouldn't mind doing as a regular gig.)

Christmas came and went with very little fanfare at our house.  Soph didn't really need, or surprisingly want much this year, and seemed pretty content with the few things we/Santa picked out for her.  She also really likes the keyboard Grandma gave her, and we like it too, now that we bought some head phones.  In addition to a few toys, she wanted one of those rolly-back-and-forth-ball-ice cream makers, so I went ahead and bought her one.  Ultimately E seems to have had the most fun with it.  The oatmeal scotchie cookie dough batch was pretty dang delicious.

Mandy came for a visit, and Soph was thrilled to see the Albuquerque cousins.  Things got off to a pretty rocky start.  The Krause kids are more independent, focused players, and Soph prefers everyone all mixed up together, engaging in as many shenanigans as possible.  But, by the last few days of the visit, they found some common ground and had a really fun time together.

Which leads to today.  Erik and Janz are doing a little sparring in the garage.  Sophie just delivered me a special drink (I'm pretty sure it's water and honey and maybe a little ketchup.) and is working through her usual Saturday morning activities.  She's played orphanage with her dolls, fed the Hungry Hungry hippos their breakfast, listened to me read her a little Junie B. Jones, and watched a little Sponge Bob.

As for me, I started my period at about 6:00 this morning, and am feeling pretty pokey.  It's time for me to get my ass out of bed, and begin to undeck the halls.  Which is not nearly as fun as decking them.  Less with the carols, snacks, and nog.  More with the sweating and swearing.  I may have to have an un-decking mai tai.  That's traditional, isn't it?