Friday, March 31, 2006

These colors don't run

I am always amazed by the reaction that my daughter, Vicky, gets when she is out in public wearing her Marine Corps Junior ROTC uniform. It seems that she's never ignored. On the contrary, the uniform excites great passion in people. Often, she is mistaken for a real Marine (believe me, she both relishes that, and fears that she is disrespectfully impersonating a Marine, so the correction usually follows quickly). Anyway, it's easy enough to receive positive feedback from fellow Americans, thanking her for her "service" or otherwise being supportive of the troops, and by extension, patriotic in the face of the insidious assault on our way of life, not just from external enemies, but from within. It's the latter that is so hard to stomach.

She's been insulted and mocked by complete strangers, people who don't know her personally, or have an understanding of that uniform, the history behind the Armed Forces in the country. .. in short, what it means to be prepared to die for the very people slinging insults. Everyone can name Pat Tillman, but what of the generations of men and women before him, who died silently and without publicity, without acknowledgement, without a hero's accolades? I think she is most offended by the insult to these unnamed warriors, unable to defend their choice to serve honorably.

It's easy enough to wear the uniform at school, on uniform days, because there is "safety" in numbers. There is a show of unity for everyone in the program. The problems arise off-campus, where she attends the local college for classes in the morning. Sadly, Vic has been introduced to what will certainly be a long line of unprofessional professors, who feel their constitutional right to voice their Marxist opinions over-rides their professional obligation to teach the subject they are hired to teach. Imagine that! Rejecting the very people who keep them in their pink mortarboards and "free speech as long as it agrees with my opinion" diatribes.

I witnessed this firsthand on my campus this week, and although I know of the foolishness surrounding campus recruiting, saw and heard it for myself. The Army had set up a very nice recruiting station in an area that doesn't necessarily attract a lot of student movement (it would have been better by the library or student union) but was not in a position to inconvenience traffic, both on the street or pedestrian. In fact, I'd say it was inconvenient for the purpose of drawing crowds.

I stood by the doors to the Humanities building (Liberal Arts!) when some colleagues walked up to me, expressing their disdain for the recruiters. I was taken aback by the comments. Admittedly, it was not the usual venum spewed by some others--I once heard a professor instruct a student to vote, because "Satan is in the Whitehouse." Nevertheless, I asked why? She conceded that they had a right to be there, but that didn't mean she had to like it.

I dropped the conversation. I was not going to convert her, and she was not going to convert me, but at least, in this instance, there was a mutual understanding. After all, I didn't like Jesse Jackson's visit to campus last fall which was full of finger-pointing and angry allegations of racism and classism, but I didn't fight it. I guess she didn't like to see young men and women proudly wearing the uniform of the United States Army, demonstrating the hard-earned ranks of leadership and medals of accomplishment, in the hopes of attracting bright and purpose-filled young people to join their ranks.

I guess some people are programmed to see a bleak future full of strife and defeat, while others prefer to see a hopeful future worth protecting.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

another slacker post

A tad bit busy today, classes and complaints, just not time in the schedule for my thoughts to really take any kind of form.

looking for a picture of vicky's new smile to post here (that was the news) but never got around to finding it. The laundry is backed up again...WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!

No news from the job interview.

The weather is lovely...for now.

It's good to be alive.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

big announcement coming soon!

In the meantime, entertain yourselves with some pictures from the retreat.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Take Two

I have no idea what I wrote about this morning. I'm sure it had something to do with preparing for the job interview this afternoon. Whatever it was, it's gone. Lost in cyberspace. It's a wonder that I can continue to post here with any kind of success.

So, about this interview. Last week I was looking through the job announcements for part time teaching in the local colleges, and I came across a job opening at a college in the area. It calls for a full-time English instructor, and pays very well. Exceedingly well. So well that I thought, what they heck, I'll apply and see what happens.

Well, what happens is that I passed the first review and I was called in for an interview. Still very cool. Until I got to the interview. I was escorted into a conference room, where the Dean introduced himself, the Vice-Provost, and the English Chair. Whoa! Then he proceeded to give me an agenda for the interview.

Who gives an agenda for an interview? It scared the poopy out of me. First, he makes some opening remarks (I don't remember, I was still focusing on the 5th item, which called for questions). Then he gives me the history of the institution. Weird.

After all the niceties and everything, they pull out my file and proceed to dissect my transcripts in front of me. Here, I owe an apology to any student I ever comforted by telling that the transcripts are not important after you get that first job.

I know they were counting credits in English, but all I could see from across the room was that big fat red D that I got in microbiology my first semester in college. I spent the next three years trying to recover from that semester, and there it was, like a coffee table decoration.

Everything after that went well. I mean, there was nothing heinous, nobody was mean or anything.


They handed me a grammar worksheet and asked me to look it over for a couple of minutes and then teach a lesson. "Oh, and for your convenience, there's a flipboard behind you. Take your time."

I imagine that they compare notes on the deer-in-the-headlights-looks that they get from unsuspecting candidates like me.

Man, I thought I was going to pass out from sheer anxiety. Nevertheless, I pulled it off, in spite of the Dean being unprepared, the Vice-Provost giggling through the debacle, and the Dept. Chair pretending to not be able to read. I sure hope they were just looking to see if I freaked out, or what, because if that's the usual student there, maybe I don't need the money that bad.

Whatever. Mixed feelings about the whole thing. With Vicky at college, not a bad deal for us. On the other hand, am I really prepared to give up my freedom and be shackled to a professor's schedule? We'll see.

just a quick note

I accidentally deleted the entry, and I don't have time to rewrite now, so look for it tonight.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The arts not for old farts

So, I have to post this because I just got back from Carmina Burana. It was brilliant. Awesome. Incredible. Lacey R has an exquisite voice, and overall, a magnificent show. Kudos and accolades to the kids.

Really, there isn't enough room here to go on about how much I enjoyed the show. This school system has such an excellent arts program. Why go into Atlanta? The best shows are here.

OK, no more gushing. Well, one more. The show was awesome.

Nevertheless, I do have some observations to share. They are tongue in cheek, but have a grain of truth to them:

  • Young and nubile conductors ought to recognize that they will be waving their arms, and there are consequences to that.
  • The translation of the libretto was included in the program. Did the parents of those little kids know what they were singing?
  • The old guy that sang the part of a roasting duck was brilliant. He actually turned red.
  • An old guy actually sang the part of a roasting duck.
  • Why is there a roasting duck singing in an opera?
  • The back of the program has a little history of the goliard, which is an "earthy" poem. That is code for raunchy. Goliards comprised most of the lyrics in this opera.

Anyway, that's my review of the show. Even the audience was excellent--no cell phones, no hooting, no ridiculous rude behavior. Perhaps the word never got out that it was to be an earthy show.

Maybe the kids just need to sing more in Latin.

Hurray, it's Monday...

...but little has changed. Tonight is Carmina Burrana, there's still lacrosse, and Show Choir, and The Secret Garden. See? I checked off a big thing from my list, but there's still a ton more. And of course, just in time for all these things to end we enter the cycle of end of the year programs, and this year has the excitement of Confirmation and Graduation.

I'll quit detailing my schedule, lest it sound like whining. The only whining I like is wining, as it goes nicely with cheese.

So then, what to post about?

The girls, of course, who came back from their retreat telling stories a mile a minute. There was the usual talk of retreat romances (Vicky has a stalker), recaps of the talks and the skits--all good stories. The real attention-getter, however, was the report on the Ropes Course.

My little girls were flying through an obstacle course 3 stories in the air!

It's a good thing I wasn't there. I might have embarrassed them by wanting to try it out. Evidently, though, it's a pretty scary experience. Both of them admitted to almost paralyzing fear. Why subject themselves to this?

It builds teamwork, and self -confidence, and trust. I think they were very brave to test their limits. Of course, I may be a little biased, but they're pretty good at those things already.

check in later for some pictures--vic said she'd send some along for me

Sunday, March 26, 2006

grumble, grumble

Hurray! On the one hand, me and the other parents are celebrating the last day of the play. It has been a wild Seuss-like run, with plenty of joy and plenty of unexpected twists. It's always the same with all the kids' plays--the build-up, the performances, and then...the letdown. After hoping for an end, it's here, and it's sad.

Get over it cupcake.

I'm grumbling about the parents, and I'm venting it here! After 13 years of school (Vicky graduates this year) I have managed to avoid being the parent in charge of the present for the teacher. That is, until now.

Yes, I am charged with the unpleasant task of approaching people I don't know and have been relatively unseen in this whole process, and extort money from them. The usual suspects whip out the wallets and pay up on day one; it's the invisibles that are a pain.

Alas, I need to figure out a way to stretch the piddling pennies I've collected. Too bad there won't be a miracle of the nickels and dimes.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Saturday, at last

Boy did I ever sleep late today. All the way to 8:20. I feel like I've wasted the entire day.


That darn dog was whining to be let out. I thought dogs were supposed to lie around all day and sleep.

Anyway, finally the pace of things have slowed down. I still have laundry, but I'm happy to report that we all have clean underwear. I thought you'd like to be reassured.

Today's schedule delightfully slow. The girls are in the mountains on retreat, John is at the Habitat store staring at the merchandise, and me and the boy are chilling out, finishing up schoolwork (both of us).

We'll probably have an early dinner, and then off to the Saturday night performance of Seussical.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Christy is famous!

Friday! That means it's almost Monday

Haha. I think I'll slow down today and take a break from the rat race. Actually, I will indeed take the day and evening off. The girls are going on a retreat, and Jonathan will be occupied with the play until after 9, so maybe I'll plan a quiet dinner at home, or John and I can escape somewhere, even if it's just fish sandwiches at McDonald's.

The play is going swimmingly well--if you consider the mishaps as just the regular standard operating procedure for a massive musical endeavor put on by 11-13 year-olds. No biggie, right? Just this week Jonathan fell off the stage into the seats (again--he did it once during rehearsal), sprayed CO2 into his face, and rescued a set that fell, by ad-libbing an entire segment that he wasn't in to hold up a wall.

Christy, my Samurai hero, had her butt handed to her again after another loss, this time to a hardcore, cursing, less than sportsman-like Catholic prep school team. Ok, so it's not fair to indict the whole school for a bratty kid, so I'll retract blaming the team, but fighting is tacky, especially with girls. note to parents: a Catholic school is only as good as the faith modeling you do for your kids--we as parents are their first and foremost teachers in everything. Nevertheless, building years are essential, it just sucks to be on the team when you are losing. I'm proud of the girls for working hard and keeping their chins up, and their sticks in the games until the end.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Vicky, who got another little scholarship, this one from the East Metro Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Go Vic! She's still not slowing down even though she admitted she's got "cabin fever." Yeah, she wants to get out of the house and start college. It'll be July soon enough. If she isn't busy enough, she's scored a Seussical T-shirt by turning pages for the pianist, an old friend from high school.

So, what are my plans for today? Don't you know me well enough yet?

I have a date with the washing machine.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another day, another random thought

I am truly pooped today. Yesterday started at a full trot at 6:30 am, and ended some time after 11 pm. Most of it was spent on my feet, so this morning, my back is killing me. I never could figure out the connection, but there it is.

As I took Jonathan to school this morning--EARLY so he could go over some scenes from the play that opens tonight, I began to entertain thoughts of a rehearsal-free Monday. So much time on my hands after Monday, if I can just get through this weekend. Is that a denial of the busy schedule I have again today? Is it a positive perk that keeps me motivated? Yes. No. Both.


I do that a lot, actually. Thinking about when whatever is occupying my time will end, so that it's over. After 43 years, I haven't learned that something else jumps right in to take its place. I need a reality check.

I think maybe it's just a character flaw that goes all the way back to my childhood. You know, on December 26th I had already calculated it was 364 days to Christmas.

I read a post over at inkndoodles that made me laugh out loud. You can still smell the roses if you're running with them. I'd cross-stitch that on a pillow just for me. If I cross-stitched. If I ever sat around long enough to admire a pillow.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mass, Music, and Musicals! doncha love the alliteration?

So, at 6:22 am, I am awakened by the query, "Aren't you going to Mass?"

Not a normal question for the hour, or the day of the week, but thanks to our parish's youth, a special 6:45 am Mass is celebrated on Wednesdays in Lent. Who needs to give up chocolate? I'm giving up precious sleep, a far more physical sacrifice. But, enough said. One doesn't need to carp about these things, just do them in the correct spirit, right?

Of course, the pancake breakfast and delightful fellowship that follows the Mass makes it a lovely morning all around.

Back at home at 9:00 am, though, I feel like I've already put in a full day. Tackling today's blog is made exceptional thanks to Trini Otero, the sound technician for the middle school musical, Seussical. Trini closed up rehearsal the other night with an awesome CD, and last night he hooked me up with a copy of it. Trini is my new superhero, as the music is incredible. I'm listening to the Spanish Harlem Orchestra as I write, and it's everything I can do to keep from jumping up and dancing. I'm going out and buying all their stuff. Check them out if you get a chance.

Believe me, I'm going to need all the music and inspiration I can get to make it through the day. I'm feeding the cast tonight, and it promises to be a mess. Nachos for everybody! I gotta run to BJ's to get the groceries this morning, and then have everything ready to go by 4:30, so the pirahnas can eat at 5:00. Oh yeah, it's going to be fun.

Here's a preview of the Cat. If ever the kid was typecast, it's in this role. He just clowns around on stage and acts like himself.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What to post? What to post?

I got...nuthin'.
What a chuckle--I published the above instead of a draft that doesn't get published. Sorry. I had oatmeal turning to cement and a washing machine running water, and no clothes in it. And still, I got nuthin'.

I suppose some days are just like this...bla. Bla bla bla. Bla bla bla bla bla. Maybe it's the rain.

I've got an awful lot of stuff to do today, and sitting here waiting for the muse to show up is a bit of a time-waster, but the discipline of actually posting here daily has helped me trudge through some other writing that I want to finish in this life time.

The distractions are endless. For example, the bane of my existence: laundry. I just don't get the laundry situtation. When I was a kid, the future was supposed to be fully automated. Disposable clothes were invented when I was a kid. Well, actually, my mom invented disposable clothes. When my brother had one of those heinously offensive diaper emergencies in public, my mother just stripped him and pitched the whole thing. Let's just say he's lucky he got a fresh diaper and wasn't thrown out with the mess.

But I digress; I'm still waiting for the automated future, and here I am, in the future. Um, I mean, my childhood's future. The 21st century. You know what I mean.

Where are the floating cars? Where is Rosie the Robot to clean up after us? Where is the food dispenser that obediently provides "tea, Earl Grey, hot" ???

All I got is a flip-phone that chirps like a tri-corder. I feel ripped off.

If you feel my pain, you might be entertained with this:

Monday, March 20, 2006

Manic Monday? It's just a song

I never did post the picture of me with a drink, did I? I went to sleep, and here I am two days later, eating a bowl of oatmeal as I write these lines this morning. After some very beautiful weather these past few days, it's almost a shame to see cold and rain; we're even under a flood warning. Not to worry, though-- if the Yellow River loses its banks, it won't mean anything to us.

We're headed into another busy week, but unlike last week, most things are well-organized and if not running smoothly, most definitely running. The show must go on, and all that.

Seussical opens on Wednesday with a parent preview, and then goes from Thursday through Sunday. That means late nights (what else is new?) and scrambling for dinners. Vicky is still in rehearsals, and Christy has a couple of games this week, so after feeding the Who's down in Whoville on Wednesday, I'll be selling concessions at the Lacrosse game on Thursday.

I want to see the stupid feminist that claims that stay at home moms don't work or do anything valuable. I'm the one that's taking care of her little precious ones dressed in Abercrombie & Fitch, and pretty much abandoned to whatever it is I decide to feed them. Cynical? Nah, just pointing out the obvious. And I do nothing compared to the hardcore ladies in the PTA (btw, I mock them incessantly!).

After spending a weekend working alongside those women(and men!), I must say I come away with a renewed sense that not everybody is for show--there was a lot of hard work accomplished, and the kids were appreciative, too.

More of the same this week, with different sets of parents. I might make some new friends.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

another hit-and-run post

It's early, I've been up for hours, taken a trip to downtown Atlanta to drop off Vicky at the LEAD Conference, and am having a cup of coffee before taking off with Christy to the high school for round two of the LEAD Conference preparations, which today happens to be peppered by more need to bi-locate. A lacrosse game at 10, Jonathan's set painting at 12, somewhere in there John is going to a Habitat for Humanity ground-breaking, or formal move-in, or something important, which I like to attend, and can't today. Bummer. Now there's a ministry where a lot of hard work gets results, and smiles on move-in day.

Anyway, some pictures to recap the week...Samurai won the game on Wednesday, Junior was recognized at the school board for winning grandchampion in mathematics at the county science fair on Thursday, last night the master sergeant led a lovely color guard, and tonight, sometime after 10, I'll post a picture of me, exhausted, with a drink in my hand.

Toodles. Have a lovely day!

Friday, March 17, 2006

insanity reigns...

...what else is new?

I was just going to sit down and jot off something, anything, when I got what must have been the hundredth call today to put out a fire. So, I quit. You get what you get today, and consider it better than 12 on 12; this isn't contrived-- it isn't streamlined --it isn't edited. And the blasted dog is whining, to boot.

The last 3 hours of my day, a day that should have been relaxing, should have had me sitting back issuing orders on laundry and cleaning (namely, stuff I didn't want to do) has been filled with running around.

Let's start with an early morning shuttle to take Jonathan to his Magnet school interview. That went well. One would imagine that getting off on such a good note would work fine, no? No.

Next, as I'm making my second trip to the high school, this time with Christy all packed up for a very long day, we, or rather, she discovers that she doesn't have all the pictures she needs for a layout. Back into the house to search through her sister's computer to find the pics that she needs, never mind that it could have--strike that--should have been done the night before by the other sister, but that's a rant I am avoiding here.

Then, back at the high school, to drop off Chris and pick up Jonathan, who is nowhere to be found. A search party goes out, because a certain young lady is also missing. Hmmm. Another comment for another day.

Meanwhile, a desperate phone call from Ally, that the singer for the national anthem at tonight's LEAD conference has cancelled, and can we, that means me, find a replacement. So back into the school in search of the chorus teachers, who both look at me, look at each other, and look at Jonathan, and say, "He can do it."

So while Jonathan is practicinfg the Star Spangled Banner, Mr. Singleton is calling kids not performing in the program tonight, to see who can substitute, because although Jonathan would have could have sung, he had rehearsal for a play that opens on Wednesday, so he was going to be a last ditch just in case no one came through. Luckily, they found someone.

Then, the great pizza caper happened, because Christy needed lunch and dinner, and we had a whole pizza for her to split between the meals, and we couldn't find her, but we did all is well.

So here I am posting manically, just so there's a post, because god-forbid I should forget to post today, and hear the fallout from that.

And it's only 1 o'clock.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Luly and Victor are world famous artists!

Hey guys, these pictures will be viewed in places as far away as Tasmania (it really exists--not just in cartoons!) and Hong Kong (I think that's just because of Rob) and who knows where else.

First, it's young Victor T., esquire, and his lovely tribute to citrus. Note the intensity of yellow marker, criss-crossed with foliage and orange blossoms. It speaks of spring, and youthfulness, and a new box of fresh markers.

Next, is an elegant self-portrait by none other than Princess Luly, of a long line of princesses from the House of Critter. Note the humble demeaner of an otherwise stellar young lady, bedecked in a flowing gown of pink and green, and wearing the very royal Princess Slippers with magical powers. She is musing on the verdant fields behind her, and whether she should take out her horses for an afternoon ride.


besitos, Tia Bego

difficult choices are...well, difficult

I post at a creative workshop (see the link for inkndoodles) and one of my fellow posters published a very heart-rending poem about his struggle with moving away from his home in search of greener pastures, something I think we all yearn for in one form or another. I've decided to post a somewhat edited version of my response here. I can't always be about making fun of my world, since it's a world I do cherish and have sacrificed immensely to have. It may also explain some things about me, and perhaps expose a bit more than I ordinarily would in a public forum.

Our second exile (the exile of my parents from Cuba, our exile from our mini-Cuba) carries with it some heavy sacrifice, least of which is pastelitos and a quick cafe at the Sedano's window. In many ways, it mirrors our parents' ideological crisis. In the end, it is about quality of life.

We found ourselves, in Miami, living above our means to stay barely afloat, not an indictment on my husband's ability to provide for the family, but the overwhelming cost of living, and the prohibitive "extra's" that do make life comfortable and enriching.

The move to Georgia was bittersweet--to leave family behind is not as dramatic as my parents' experience--afterall, we visit, we communicate, we're together several times a year. The pain has been in the daily life that accumulates over weeks and months, and is best illustrated through the children, who grow dramatically between visits. But the children, in spite of the distance, have had the opprotunity to grow up in an environment, that until now, escaped the encroaching hassles of the rat race we ran from in Miami.

Affordable housing? We have a modest home that's spacious and comfortable (getting a little tight with 5 adult-sized people now--but our next home will be a down-size)and with the exodus to college beginning in the fall, soon to be even bigger. Traffic woes? Not really. The furthest we travel is all the way across town for church. That takes 15 minutes at a leisurely pace. We can make it in ten if we oversleep. Work for John is less than 10 minutes away. He can, and has come home for lunch. Regularly. It's closer than running to McDonald's. In the end, cheaper and healthier (OK, forget that he could pack his lunch--but it's not the same).

School and activities: There's plenty to do, and all of it more than we could have done in Miami. Sports, the arts, school activities--all of it within 5 miles. Everybody is home by 6 (OK, there's an occassional late rehearsal and game)and we're seeing signs of empty nest--you know, the kids have their interests, their activities, going out, etc.

In short though, we have been blessed with good neighbors, good people in the community, parents of friends who share our values, that the kids have had experiences and opportunities that would have been not just fiscally impossible in Miami, but prohibitive because of time. Don't confuse my banter making fun of southern culture with a lack of cosmopolitan opportunities. My kids have traveled more than most kids their age, and I can say it would have been impossible in Miami, where just going to the beach presented a sacrifice.

It's a bittersweet drink, but like our parents before us, our role is to do what we feel is right for the family that God has created through us.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Uhm, Orange? Part II

There's a song by Jim Croce that wisely exhorts:

You don't tug on Superman's cape,
You don't spit into the wind,
You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger,
and you don't mess around with Jim.

Mostly, it goes on about messin' with the Big Dogs and getting bit.

This morning I'm nursing the big ol' bite on my backside, after laughing for two straight days about my friends' orange car. You see, it seems that the Japanese, or Korean or somwhere in Asia, they are producing a new line of cars.

Check out the tag. I hope you can read it on your screen, but I'll tell you that this model is called, yup, The Bego.

Man! I promise that unlike Napolean, I have no skills. This isn't a photoshop. Karma has reached out across the internet and bitch-slapped me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Uhm, Orange?

Generally speaking, it’s usually a good idea to refrain from excessive teasing of one’s friends. I mean, a gentle jab, a hilarious diatribe of ranting and mockery, it all should be done in fun, not in a mean-spirited and hurtful way.

So, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to retaliate, when my friends, who have known my great emotional, physical, and financial strain from having hit a deer, not once, but twice in the last six months, still thought it hilarious to buy me the dullest piece of literature in the Americas, namely, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, as a birthday gift.

Thanks guys. Revenge is sweet, and you have given me the opportunity, nay, the GENEROUS GIFT ON A SILVER PLATTER of dropping by to show me your new car.

It is by far, the most hideous, heinous, comical-looking thing I’ve ever seen. The Keystone cops have nothing on this. Those Honda Elements remind me of people who have really long torsos and itty bitty short legs. The Element looks like somebody took a Hummer, and plopped it on a skateboard. That big ole boxy car requires some tires with testosterone, not those weenie little skate wheels.

So, I had to make nice and ooh and ahh over the car, even though it’s orange. I mean, tangerine. Great. A fruity name for a fruity car.

Alas, it does have some great features. First, it still has that new car smell. Mine smells like cleats. It’s brand new and shiny and clean. I’m afraid of what’s plastered on the back of my passenger seat. It’s very roomy inside—surprisingly roomy. My car isn’t built for the Johnson legs (it’s a good thing I’m not a Johnson, isn’t it?).

In short (I crack myself up—didn’t even mean the additional jab!), it’s not a bad little car. I hope the car wears out long before you weary of its color.

Drive safely; it’s the passengers that are important anyway.

Monday, March 13, 2006

all you're getting is this lame post today

So yesterday's little adventure in documenting my day has left me...well, rather rather put out at the idea of sitting down at the computer so soon after the final post last night.

Nevertheless, I don't dare take the day off. Who knows what crazy call I'll get from Mami, or what kind of hostage situation created by Vicky will assault me.

With that said, let me examine my schedule for the day. First, I have to run 2, 473 errands for John. That should keep me busy for a bit. Oh, and Jonathan needs to go to the orthodontist, which means he's expecting that I take him to lunch.

Then there's the girls, who have late evenings today--to cook or not cook? That's always the question around here during the week. Well, Chris is playing at St. Pius, and it's two games back to back, so that means another night of fast food for her. Vic--who knows?

And what about me? I have to grade two sets of papers that I should have graded last week while I was on spring break, and didn't. Woe is me. You always have to pay the piper. Why don't I seem to learn that lesson?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

12 on 12

A little game to show what we do on the 12th of the month. The object is to take 12 photographs throughout the day, to document the routine, or silliness, or random moments.

I woke up at 8:14 am and shuffled into the kitchen for my first cup of java. I certainly hope you weren't expecting me to post a picture of myself in that condition, so you'll have to settle for the cup of coffee on my messy desk, where I checked up on email, started this mess, and helped Jaime with one of his practice homilies. Blissful quiet until....

The King and Master, or in this case, Superman, got up at 10:43 am, whereupon he immediately had several insulting things to say about my choice of shirt (A very nice University of Georgia polo). He said I should burn it, so we went in search of the ultimate Sting....

whereupon, the newly admitted Techie had the honors of pitching the shirt into coffee grounds and who knows what else, at about 10:57 am. Note her slippers have the GT logo.

Then, at 12:57 we all sat down to an artery clogging brunch. Everbody was chomping on bacon, and even the dog was sitting quietly hoping for some scraps. of course, breakfast at 1 is typical if you get up at noon. Nevermind I've already put in a full day.

At 1:45, the queen of I'll get around to doing my sacrament prep homework finally got around to doing it. Class is in an hour!

2:45, time for the garbage detail! Jonathan is the expert in that area.

3:00, time for Sacrament Prep class. Sometimes interesting, sometimes tedious. Isa owes me because I am the sponsor-proxy.

5:05 pm, the picture whores are posing and acting up for the camera.

5:30 Mass. Aren't these angelic looking little angels? Or, something. John and Vicky bolted away from the camera.
7:00 John, Jonathan and me went to get a bite to eat at our new favoritest restaurant, Casa de Waffle--just read the label on the hot sauce.
The movie, Passion of the Christ, ended very late. At 9;40 pm, Vicky decided to take a nap outside the parish hall.

10:51 pm, getting sleepy and finishing up the blog. Phew. Long day.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Another routine Saturday, NOT!

Who gets up at 6 am on a Saturday? My kids. The rest of the world was sound asleep, but Jonathan and Vicky were on their way to the high school at 6:30 am. Bah! I rolled over and went back to sleep for a couple of hours.

Today was a very full schedule. Jonathan had a math competition somewhere in Atlanta.

Vicky traveled a couple of hours south for a literary meet. What is that? I don't know, but it involved her giving an extemporaneous speech. Tell me that doesn't fit her big mouth excellently. If there's anything that Vic has, it's an opinion.

And finally, Chris had a home lacrosse game, which means I was there selling concessions.

All in all a very busy day, and mostly victorious. Jonathan performed very well at the competition, and his JV team took the 1st place trophy (with his personal performance being the best on JV). For a bonus, the Varsity team also took 1st.

Vic placed 4th in the speech competition, thus contributing points to the overall team score--they won 1st place, too.

Chris, unfortunately, was unable to pull out a victory in the last part of the game. For the most part, they were in it until the end. I guess they lost steam, or concentration, or drive. Anyway, no excuses, just looking forward to the next game on Monday. That one is important.
she's in the black on the left
Meanwhile, she's nursing another small injury, when her opponent nailed her with the stick right on the crown of her head. My little thespian pulled out her acting skills and got a bit dramatic with a thrown stick and loudly exclaimed, "ouch" -- but to no avail. The official wasn't buying today, but there were two exciting yellow cards against the other team.

I, of course, sold under-cooked hotdogs and over-warmed pizza. The water was chilled, though, and on a hot day like today, the moneymaker.

I'll go soak my feet now.

Friday, March 10, 2006

UPDATE: a las malas

Vicky is standing over me demanding that I post an original entry, because even though I doctored the one earlier today, it was originally posted in The Secret Blog, which I killed off. She's come back to the office twice, thumping the veins in her arm asking for the next entry, like a heroin addict. Or a blog addict. Whatever.

This is crazy! Criticized by the very people I repeatedly mock in these lines. She thinks I'm going to avoid mocking her for leaving the keys locked in her car this morning. Hmmmm. Perhaps I'll get to that later, as well.

My mother, too, calls me to tell me I haven't updated the blog, and to hop to it. My, my, my. I imagine the editors at the New York Times might be less demanding.

So, here I am trying to dream up something else to say, when I really wanted to be looking for pictures of Ken and Barbie.

Actually, there is a lovely tribute that I can include today, and which, in retrospect really should have been the original entry: Last night I had the pleasure of sitting through 15 middle school speeches on the uplifting, yet terribly cliche topic of "How Bright is My Future."

My future is about 60 watts right now...but I expect it to get brighter very soon. Anyway, it's not about me.

Like I said, 15 middle schoolers telling me about their future. It could have been terrible, but I sat next to the teacher, who among her charges is famously beloved for her sense of humor and her ability to squeeze blood out of a turnip in addition to winning essays and speeches out of prepubescent knuckleheads.

In short, they produce for her because she demands it, expects it, and then goes to their events to support them and beem with pride regardless of the outcome. It's a recipe for success, because three of the six slots for the next level of competition were filled by her students (who competed against the other middle schools in the county). This included the distinction of taking first place in the boys category, and first and second place in the girls category. Kudos and Accolades.

These kids are special. They are incredibly competitive when producing the work, and then, after the competition, incredibly supportive of each other. I love that. There are no petty jealousies, or meanspiritedness about the results, simply sincere well-wishes, and the remarkable pride that it was "one of their own" that won.

These guys are going to conquer the world. And do it with a smile.

Mattel, Plastics, and Postalitas

Sometimes I think I'm the only person that rejects extreme materialism and what my friends and I used to call "the plasticos" when I was in high school. Note: I like to have a nice car, a big house, and fine clothes, and I like to go out to dinner. I said extreme materialism.

Anyway, although it's easy enough to accuse some sets of people in Miami as plasticos, the truth is, that the phenomenon transcends culture. Up here in the Deep South we have plasticos, too. Only, we call them Ken and Barbie, after the obvious reference to the plastic toys most little girls played with a hundred years before those nasty Bratz things became popular, but that's another rant.

Here, I'm surrounded by this brand of Ken and Barbie, but that doesn't keep me from having to play nice.

I remember when I was a kid in the 60's that I received one of the new Ken dolls as a gift. He had plastic hair that was painted a weird light brown, and of course, blue eyes. Ken came with a very mod outfit, and an orange bathing suit, with towel and sandals accessories.

I peeked inside the suit, you know. Everybody did. My dad did, too. One of us was relieved to find out that Ken was not anatomically correct. Guess which one? In retrospect, what would a six year old do with that kind of information? Mattel was prudent and wise to emasculate Ken.

Unfortunately, that has since become my arbiter of reality. I measure folks' level of materialism and disconnect from real life values by how they respond to my personal brand of trailer-park-chic. My friend says I wear comfortable shoes and have natural hair. I think that's code for maybe you should comb your hair and dress up a bit. No offense taken; I am, after all, comfortable. Nevertheless, every once in a while, I run across a distorted sense of my own reality, and see Ken and Barbie all around me.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Deerslayer Strikes Again

Well, maybe not. At least this one didn't jump onto the car, just scurried ahead of us and scared the lights out of the kids. No harm done, at least, to us. We inspected the car carefully this morning, and didn't find too much evidence of a serious impact. I must have hit the deer's hind quarters or maybe its leg as it was passing, because I heard, more than felt, an impact, but like I said last night, the brakes did their job.

We looked along the side of the road this morning and didn't see the animal, so I hope she's OK.

Of course, some of you may be wondering what the deal is with me hitting deer. Get over it, I'm a careful driver. That stretch of road is pitch black at night, and it's still a pocket of forest, although the development is encroaching rapidly. I just think there are fewer areas for the deer, and they are concentrated in that piece of road, where they need to cross to get to a pond.

Unfortunately, one of my neighbors hit a deer a couple of months ago, and the day after he got the car back, struck another one. Poor guy hasn't had a car for two months. I suspect that it will only get worse as the area continues to be developed.

It does beg the question of hunting, though. All the hunters I know explain that the purpose of hunting is to control animal populations. We should declare open season on that road. It's far more humane to shoot 'em, eat 'em, and wear 'em instead of maiming them and leaving them on the side of the road.

I always did want to have a buckskin jacket.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I hit another deer

Can you believe I hit another deer on my way home tonight? Unbelievable. Poor Christy was in the front seat again. This time it wasn't as dramatic--I just clipped the deer after stopping on a dime. Christy is giving up riding shotgun with me at night. For lent? For ever

Can you say anti-lock brakes? That's a good thing.

Oh, and there's a ridiculous power struggle going on about flushing the toilet thoroughly. I'm going to bed; the last hour has been taxing on my nerves.

General Beauregard Lee was right

Spring is here! The trees and flowers in the neighborhood are blooming, so I thought I'd just share my morning with you. These are all on the way down to the lake; my favorite is the purple at the bottom of the hill. A Magnolia? How Southern.

The truth is, I would fail any tree identifying trek. I just call 'em the pretty pink one, the pretty yellow one, the pretty purple one.

Except the white ones. I know the name of that one. Bradford Pear. They are everywhere, and to see them from afar you might say, what a lovely bloom! And then you get up close to it, and get assaulted by the stench. Ewwww.

There are tons of them, everywhere. In fact, at the middle school the entire driveway is lined with these beautiful trees. Unfortunately, the kids are dropped off and picked up in that line of trees. The kids are blunt in that way that is special to middle schoolers. Ask any one of them and they'll tell you what the trees smell like.

What's that? You want to know what they say it smells like? Ok, you asked for it. Crotch. It opens up a whole set of questions that I prefer not to go into, but yes, indeed, it does smell like old sweaty clothes. Like you, I am taken aback by their description, however accurate it might be. I guess it's because the trees are packed densely, and the scent is overpowering.


The prettiest trees, though, are the Cherry Blossoms, but they haven't bloomed yet. Keep an eye out for that post in the coming weeks.

Cheers to you all on this lovely spring day. I hope your day is as full of promise as mine.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Greetings all over the world

Yesterday I received birthday greetings from many friends and family. All the calls were warm and affectionate, and in some cases, from very far away.

The furthest call came from my friend, Leonie, in Australia. How wild is that? Of course, there was a cluster of calls from Miami, and a few assorted other places such as New York. Nothing like a call from a loved one to give a warm fuzzy!

I discovered in my conversations, that many people are tuning into this blog, if not daily, at least regularly to catch up with my posts, and what's going on around here. I have a free tracking service on this site, that identifies visitors by location. The girls and I have been tracking the most exotic places, and I thought it would be cool to share that with the regular visitors.

In no particular order, here's a list of locations from within the U.S.A. and then from around the world. See if you can find your home town!

Williston, FL; San Jose, CA; Jupiter, FL; Miami, FL; Hinsdale, IL; Tacoma, WA; Waleska, GA; Mount Laurel, NJ; Tulsa, OK; Rialto, CA; Louisville, CO; Homestead, FL; Fayetteville, GA; Maplewood, NJ;, Norcross, GA; Schaumburg, IL; Henderson, NV; Pompano Beach, FL; Ocean View, NJ.

Internationally, I'll just include the city and country, forgoing the province or state:

Tretton, Norway; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Singapore; Delhi, India; Kunglv, Sweden; Delfshaven, Netherlands; Brunswick, Australia; Dublin, Ireland; Tranbjerg, Denmark; Madrid, Spain; Delph, United Kingdom; Bogota, Colombia; La Garrofa, Spain; Port Hope, Canada; Medicine Hat, Canada; Egypt; Keilor, Australia; Winnipeg, Canada; Helsingborg, Sweden; Arada, Portugal; Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam; Durango, Spain, Puteaux, France; Shawford, United Kingdom; Essenden, Australia; Richmond, Australia.

Isn't this the coolest thing?

Monday, March 06, 2006

UPDATE: Samurai Returns Victorious

They got rid of the goose egg! McIntosh went DOWN 14-9, and Battle Dyke's replacement not all that impressive for All-American.

All is well in chipmunk land tonight.

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY, but this has nothing to do with that

I had an interesting conversation with some friends yesterday, a somewhat serious discussion on what should and shouldn't go into a blog. There was a humorous incident that involved some people that I mock with a great deal of regularity, as uncharitable as that is. I admit that it makes me a meanie, albeit a funny meanie, but it is certainly NOTHING I would ever post about. There's mean, and then there's mean, and I don't think I have it in me to be cruel.

Or I am a coward.

I guess it takes a certain ability to generate a thick skin as a writer. My friend is a sportswriter--he claims that he tells it like is, and doesn't soften the news. I understand that reporting is all about recounting what happens in a particular event. That does take courage, because people do complain, and accuse writers of having personal agendas and such.

But I wasn't talking about the news, I was talking about a blog, which amounts to sharing my diary with the world. Making fun of a caricature I create by captializing on some stereotypes is one thing; gossiping about my family and friends is entirely different.

I would feel like a traitor to the very intimacy of family and friendship. I'd feel like Harriet the Spy.

Of course, if there was some secret place to post, then all bets are off, but that kinda defeats the objective, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The compressor died, and other bad news

Five hundred dollars! For a teeny tiny little motor. What a racket. There is good news with the bad, as the darn fridge is still under warranty for parts. Of course, they nailed us with a charge for walking through the door, and then, because they had to order the part, will nail us again on Tuesday for labor. At least we had the little dorm fridge in the basement--that's made a lovely addition to the kitchen for the weekend.


The Samurai came back with an injury yesterday. She took the full impact of a lacrosse ball right smack in the face. No impressive bruises or cuts, just a bit of chipmunk swelling. I suggested she block a goal with the stick next time.

In reality, there was a penalty for illegal propel, which basically means the other chick stood in front of Christy and aimed for her head. I don't ever want to hear anybody criticize me again for biting off a corner of my nails during a basketball game.


Well, birthday weekend is sort of under way, in abbreviated bursts and good intentions. This morning we're off to breakfast as a family, and for the three days of birthday weekend, that'll mark the only time we're all together. Ah, so many signs of the beginning of the end. I guess I'm practicing for future posts about the empty nest.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

He's Here! He's Here!!!

Bubba has arrived, and he doesn't disappoint.

According to Vic, "He's hot." Too bad Christy is in Columbus beating people with a stick. He's channeling some of that bad boy, Jess, from the Gilmore Girls.

When he called, we got a good laugh because John confirmed it was another countrified accent, but when he walked in, the first thing I did was make eye-contact with Vicky. Tall. Slim. Dressed all in black. Wearing cool shades.

Of course, the minute he opened his mouth he sounded like The Voice of the South. Ted Turner.

What a shame.

no picture; even I wouldn't stoop that low.

Good morning!

Just a note to say....Murphy has come to roost around here for a while. The refrigerator blew up, or at least, blew out the chiller. So, I've been cleaning that mess. Nothing grosser that the vision of bloody water pooled under the fridge. Oh, well, there were the swirls of melted ice cream to give it a frothy appearance.

Maybe there are grosser images, but I'm sticking with my own gross factor that faced me yesterday as I cleaned and scrubbed.

You realize of course that this happened right after paying Kyle handsomely for fixing the garage door.

The appliance store is sending a repairman later this morning. I'll update y'all on the adventure after Bubba fixes the ice box.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Southern-fried Southern

Larry the Cable Guy has a twin brother that fixes garage doors. I know this because he came out and fixed ours.

He was a good, quick, diligent worker, but he sounded like the stand up comedian. For real.

Now understand that over the years we have run into fewer and fewer native Georgians. Most are older folks who grew up in the area. Believe me, the good old boy network is still alive and well here in the outskirts of Atlanta.

For the most part, though, younger people are generally transplants from the city and usually from up north. Every once in awhile I’ll run into a really countrified person, but that caricature is better left in the movies.

That is, until I met Kyle (pronounced Cay-eel) the Garage Door Installer. He actually said, “Well now that there is lookin’ good. Real good.” What can you possibly respond to that? After fixing it, the garage door did look pretty good. Clearly the written word does no justice to the sing-song southern drawl/twang of the country accent. Just watch local boy Jeff Foxworthy to get an idea. You know, countrified folks are the only people I know that pronounce two syllables in good. Go ahead and entertain yourselves trying to master that feat.

Nevertheless, Kyle is my hero. The garage door not only works beautifully, it’s lookin’ real goo-ood. You can’t beat that.

Y’all come back now, y’hear?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bubba Gump...I mean Bubba Vic...

Vicky woke up with a fat lip today. Very funny. She sounded like the kid who mumbles in Fat Albert cartoons. That lower lip was just flapping away. I'm posting this in lieu of my regular entry because, frankly, I have a picture that's worth a thousand words.

We figured out that it was the cheese sauce we used for dinner last night. We had nachos with cheese, and the cheese had little chopped up jalapenos. I'm guessing she had a reaction to that. Nothing a little Benadryl won't fix.

Meanwhile, as she was getting ready to leave, we heard her mumbling, "Shrimp stew, shrimp pie, shrimp tacos, shrimp soup...."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Turn away from sin!

So it's another Ash Wednesday and Lent is upon us. I'm giving up sleep. The truth is, I haven't slept a full 8 hours since July of 1988, but that's another story.

We were up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for mass at 6:45 this morning (which means I was up at 5:30). The teens asked our pastor for an early mass, and not only did he agree, but every Wednesday during Lent there will be an early bird mass, followed by a pancake breakfast for the teens. Hmmm. A little appeasement? I think so.

Anyway, there was a packed house, which is a good thing, and a lot of teens went, which is also a very good thing. I hope they keep it up. I know we've made the commitment to do it.

Our new priest, assigned until June, was there, too, and if you know about our woes not having an associate for the past year, you know this is a good thing, too, even if it is temporary.

He's a Father-What-a-Waste--nice looking bloke, and was distributing ashes as if he had a crate to get rid of; consequently I have the kind of gigantic cross on my forehead that I would have appreciated as a child, but considering today's reading and the exhortation to fast in private, kind of an attention-getting billboard on my face. Whatever, I'm so twitchy that it'll rub off throughout the day.