Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Interesting Weekend...

I usually don't expect two major events within 24 hours - heck, I usually don't expect even one.  But it's been an interesting weekend...

Saturday began with such promise.  We went out for breakfast, which we NEVER do when we're home.  And we went to see a movie as a family in the afternoon (How to Train Your Dragon, which I highly recommend (but not for little kids, it's kinda scary)), which is also a rare occurence.  And we went for dinner as well, at Bertucci's, which is a bit of a drive and a special treat.  Appetizer AND dessert, which we never get.
Well, we paid for it later.  Rachel woke me up about 12:30am, saying, "Mom, I threw up."  I of course asked, "Do I need to clean up anything?"
"Yeah, in the bathroom."

Ok, at least it wasn't in her bedroom - that remains the saving grace.  I flipped on the closet light, grabbed the roll of paper towels, went down the hall... and realized a roll of paper towels just wasn't going to cut it.  She didn't make it to the toilet, and well, let's just say, I needed a mop and by the time I was done, I scrubbed the kids bathtub and cleaned the sink because I might as well finish the job.  It was gross enough that I actually told John to go back to bed because there was really no way for him to help clean it up (hey, I was really groggy at that point).

She seems to be feeling better (knock on wood), and I'm hopeful it was just the wierd food pattern and rich food (no lunch, lots of movie popcorn, and eating out for breakfast and dinner (including gigantic chocolate cake)).

So then this afternoon, I was waiting for John to finish something so we could go out and run errands (hey, I take time with my husband whenever I can these days).  Pushed the "on" button since I'd actually turned off the computer for once.  Nothing happened.  Nothing at all.

You know that feeling when you can't quite believe what's happening?  Like panic, but quieter and usually starts out smaller?  But grows?

I'm running a consignment sale for my church.  My database of all the consignor contact information is on my computer.  Do YOU think I made a backup?

So perhaps in Karmic payback for letting him go back to bed last night, John resurrected my computer.  He figured out it was probably the power supply, and came back with this in his hands.

I had visions of a mad scientist building a body out of parts.  Igor!  Bring the brain!

But it works!  And yes, I immediately made a backup of my database.  Two, in fact.  And I'm enjoying the fact that my computer desk is pretty clean, despite the fact that it's clean because he had to have room to work on the computer and we cleaned it by dumping everything on a nearby table.

Tomorrow is our makeup for the snow days, so the kids have school an extended play day in the school buildings because everyone is on vacation, and then we can really start Spring Break.  Oh, I SO need a day of rest.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Almost There

We have one more day of school on Monday, and then Spring Break! (Our district had to add a day because of all the snow days)

I can't wait.  Between the long winter, John traveling so much, and all the kids concerts, not to mention the impending consignment sale, I'm REALLY looking forward to a bit of a break.

Of course, John will be travelling during most of the break - but the kids and I are resolved to go off and do fun stuff without him.  Leisurely, of course, no getting up TOO early.  Although Rachel usually doesn't get up until 8 on a school day, and will sleep in 'til 9 or 10 if we don't wake her up on a weekend, so she might not get to sleep in as much as the rest of us (namely JC and I who are up before 6am).

My only rule?  We can't spend every day playing video games all day.  Maybe one, or parts of others.  But not every day.

We'll see what we acomplish.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In Which I Become Somewhat Tired of Concerts

Our school district has a "Fine Arts Festival" every year in March.  There are concerts for chorus, orchestra, and band, and an art show.  Each type of music is on a seperate night, and includes groups from 5th grade up through the high school.  We've been attending since JC started music in 5th grade.  But since the two older kids are both musical, we now hit the trifecta.

Rachel sings in the 5th/6th grade chorus for her school, so that concert was last week.  2 5th/6th grade choirs, the middle school choir, 3 high school choirs.

Rachel also plays cello in the orchestra, so that was last night.  2 5th grade orchestras, 2 6th grade orchestras, 2 middle school orchestras (7th and 8th), and 2 high school orchestras.

JC plays in the band at the high school, and that concert is tonight.  2 5th grade bands, 2 6th grade bands, 2 from the middle school, and 3 high school bands.

I'll admit to being a little tired of rushing kids to school by 6:45, and not getting everyone home until 9:30pm.  And of sitting in the bleachers - just had a thought, can I bring my stadium seat tonight?

I suppose I should be glad it's not like last year - we had the trifecta plus.  Rachel and William both had pictures in the art show.  Which is yet another night.

Suzy Homemaker

I am not terribley domestic.  Oh, I can cook ok, and bake pretty well (especially cookies) and I know HOW to clean house even if I usually don't choose to, but I don't think of myself as a "homemaker".

But I had a moment yesterday.  Rachel had an orchestra concert last night, and even though the concert started at 8pm, she had to be there at 6:45.  Ugh.  She doesn't even get off the bus until 4.  And of course, she told me a few days ago that her black pants didn't really fit, but it's ok Mom, I can wear my dance pants.  Which are a little on the short side.  I didn't manage to do anything about this until yesterday (it's been a busy week with a consignment sale I participated in, and one I'm organizing).  I picked up two pairs of pants for her from Old Navy.  Girls 16 black jeans (all they had in black) and Women's size 0 (!!!) black pants.  Hopefully one would fit.

Rachel resisted my pleas to try on the pants until after 5.  She came down and said the women's pants fit but were too long - so at 5:30, I eyeballed the right length, ironed the hems, and started sewing.  I finished the hems, got her dinner heated up (rotissere chicken, I'm no fool on a busy night!), and even had time to finish my own before we left the house at 6:30.  And the pants are exactly the right length.

Hah!  Now THAT'S a sense of accomplishment.  Mom, you should be proud.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lyndon LaRouche is Still Around

Or, at least, his followers are.  I stopped at the post office in a nearby town to mail some letters today (and pick up a sandwich at the deli next door).  There were a couple of Lyndon LaRouche supporters there with large signs and an aggressive (but not obnoxious) attitude.  The posters were obnoxious - I would never have thought to equate Nixon and Obama, but there it was.

First they asked if their posters were large enough to read (most definitly).  Then they asked if I wanted to help them work to impeach Obama.

Uh, no.  Debated about debating them, but in my experience, people like that have made up their minds and NOTHING you can say will even begin to sway them.  Doesn't even matter if you have facts on your side.

It was a good sandwich, though.  And I'm sort of considering checking out the LaRouche website, except that it might encourage them.  Of course, it's really out of a morbid curiousity.

I thought he was dead.  Think if I'd mentioned that, it would have shut them up?  No?  You're probably right.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Artist, shmartist

The lunchbox auction was this last weekend (yes, in the POURING rain, if you've been following East Coast weather).

All of the lunchboxes were lined up on tables, with bid sheets in front of them.  I was dismayed to see that mine was not standing up to handling well - something I didn't think about during construction (well, I did a little, but apparently not enough).  Some of the leaves in particular had fallen off - I stuck things back on as well as I could, while still being discreet about it.  The exciting part was there were bids on my sheet!  More than one!  And none of them were my husband - although he did ask if I wanted to buy my lunchbox back.  Even though I'm really proud of it, I have a tendency to hoard things, so letting go was important.  And what would I do with it, really?  Display it on a shelf?  What's the point of that besides bragging to my friends?

So we didn't bid, and someone else bought it for $50.  $50!!!! There was a bid for $60-but it got crossed out.  I'm feeling a little insulted by that, but oh well.  The winning buyer is a high-school biology teacher, and she loved the roots idea, and planned on bringing it to school to show her kids that science can show up in unlikely places (or something like that, it was noisy there).

No, I didn't bring my camera.  Didn't think of it until we were well on the road.  No, didn't even take any pictures with my cell phone.  I'm both glad it's over (felt very self-concious) and thinking, ok, what next?  The book art on display in the next room takes so many forms, it does make me feel like I should keep working.  I keep saying I'm going to block out time every week, but that hasn't actually happened yet.

But the printmaking group near us has posted its spring class schedule...maybe this time I can actually go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whose Homework is it Anyway?

In 2nd grade in our town, the kids do a unit on their heritage.  Every family has to send in a list of what countries their ancestors are from, and the teacher picks one for the child to do research on.  JC did England, Rachel did Canada, and William got England again.

The parts of the project have not changed much over the 7 years between JC and William.  There's an oversized postcard (actually, that one I don't remember with the other two, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen), where they have to create a collage of pictures from the country.  There's a family shield, which has to include country flags from all your claimed ancestors, pictures of your interests, a family picture, your last name in big letters, etc.  This has shrunk by about half over time, which isn't a bad thing.  And it now includes not only the outline of the shield, but specific areas for each section, and a fancy banner at the bottom for the name.  There used to be a lot less guidance and a lot more area to fill.

And there's the food for the "international festival".  We haven't gotten a notification about that part yet, but I'm assuming it's coming.  It's always the hard part for most parents.  Some countries are easy, in terms of characteristic cusine; we have lots of Italians in our area, and there's lots of choices for Italian foods and desserts.  England is a little harder, as most Americans don't associate the English with a particular cusine, or if they do, it's not necessarily a good association.  And I'm not making bangers & mash or fish & chips for a 2nd grade class.  The only fact that William has come home with from his research is that the English tend to call dessert "pudding".  And that there's one called spotted dog.  So I may try to come up with a pudding or trifle when the time comes.  Although bubble & squeak would be fun just for the name.

(The hard food was for Rachel.  Name a typical Canadian food (most people I asked said, "beer").  After some research (yay internet!) we came up with a Canadian cookie called a butter tart.  Very yummy, by the way, and I was looking forward to making them again.  Oh well.)

But the thing you'll notice about all the projects is that they are impossible for a 2nd grader to do on their own.  I suppose if provided with magazines and such to cut up, they could pretty much handle most of the collages by themselves (except for the lettering, probably).  But I don't have magazines with pictures of England lying around, so we're stuck with the Internet again.  And the instructions specifically ask for parental help.  Ok, William and I did some Google image searches and he picked out which pictures to use with some guidance.  But in the process of printing them out, I realized it was more efficient to arrange them on a page to fill the space.  I was going to have him cut them out and glue them on the postcard when he said, "we allowed to print them right on the paper".  Oh.  Well, ok, I added a nice fancy font "England", and printed it right on the (letter-sized) postcard.

So far, all he's done is pick out the pictures (mostly) and I've done the layout and printing (and eventually the baking).  Does this mean I can pass 2nd grade?

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Red Mittens

But first we'll start with some snow.  These are pictures of the second major snowstorm we had during the month of February.
Behind William you can see our kind neighbor excavating access to our mailbox with his snowblower - which is much larger than our snowblower.

William and Rachel spent a lot of time constructing a sledding track down our hill into our neighbors bushes (the neighbor's daughter helped too).  I think we may have watched a bit too much of the luging and bobsledding at the Olympics.

I did not bother to dig out John's car.  I mean, why should I when no one was going to drive it?  Of course, we paid for that when the battery was dead by the time he got home.  Yes, we were able to jump it and it seems fine now.

My Olympic knitting.  I actually cast on before the opening ceremonies - but I ripped everything I had done out the next day and started over, so I'm still counting it.  I had gotten the gauge horribly wrong, but the do-over came out nice.  However, despite all my care at measuring, neither pair actually matches size-wise.  I'm not quite sure why, but maybe next time I'll count rows instead of just measuring.  The multi-colored ones are Rachel's, the blue ones are William's.

A gratuitous picture of JC just because I hardly ever post pictures of him.  He's shooting me with one of William's Nerf guns.

And yes, John bought me a pair of the infamous red Canada mittens.  He said they weren't hard to get, just tedious, with long lines of people and digging through several bins to find the "large" pair in a sea of "tiny" ones.  They're lovely warm (lined, even) and comfy, although I was ever so slightly disappointed that the maple leaf is appliqued, not knitted.  They're still cute.  He found the knit hats the Americans wore for the opening ceremonies, which JC liked, but they were extremely expensive (Ralph Lauren, of course), so no hat for JC.  Although I found a pattern online, so maybe...