Sunday, July 29, 2007

A slice of perfection.

No, not a foodie post.
A Family Day post. A "This Makes It All Worthwhile" post.

I don't often post about daily grind. Who wants to re-live that?! Sometimes I comment about parenting a child on the always-exciting Autism spectrum, but mostly out of anger with The System. (Which we abandoned long ago, and are now spending our future retirement funds on getting private therapies for our son. And which has made all the difference in his very being.)
But this post? This is a post about our oldest son, Parker. He is an Average Child. Average height, average strengths in school, average in alot of measurements of physical and mental achievements. Which is wonderful. I am learning that Average is EASY. Where he soars above the crowd is when he practices and exhibits the martial art of Tae kwon do.
Yesterday, Parker tested for his blue belt. His form was so flawless in his execution - even when he faltered - that the crowd was absolutely silent. Another parent whispered to us "He is really an exquisite child." And my heart nearly burst.
Two other classmates of Parker's now attend tae kwon do with him, and one of the boys tested with Parker yesterday. It was wonderful to see his parents at their first belt testing, to know the emotions that they were feeling, and to be ecstatic with them when their son executed his form successfully and snapped his board with the first kick. We went out to dinner afterward, and people oh'd and ah'd when the 2 little dudes waltzed in in their tae kwon do uniforms. (Okay, there were three additional very cute kids in the group...and at least one person might have been admiring the baby or the exceptionally beautiful little girl in the group). We were given the party room, and for the first time in their lives, our sons were allowed to run wild around a room while eating dinner out. The adults were able to have a good, long chat, unfettered with parenting children aged 3 to 7. I had forgotten what it was like to have dinner out with kids and be able to actually carry on a conversation without "MOMMY!" interruptions. Then we all trotted over to our house, where dessert was served and the garden trains were put on the track and - gasp - the children were allowed to operate them for hours!
Of course, some things that were annoying at the time, now seem funny:
Ken is always dragging his ass when we leave the house. As in, I am about ready to start driving off and leaving him again if he doesn't stop making us late for everything. Parker was about having apoplexy in his booster, waiting for Daddy to come out of the house so we could drive off! So, of course we got there a bit late, as of course we got lost (it was at different studio this time). Ken barked as we finally neared the studio "You jump out and run in with Parker!" and me, being a literal type of person, started to open my door as he slowed, popped off my seat belt and stuck a foot out the door. With that, my husband spies a close parking space. Without telling the rest of us, he decides to zip into that space. I have a sandaled foot out the door on the asphalt! I have a hand firmly grasping an open door! Parker is standing at the ready at his sliding door! So we go from nearly stopped, to a goose of the engine and a turn! WHEEEEEEEEEEE! Parker and I are screaming our heads off - Parker is hanging on for dear life to his booster and the back of Ken's seat, and I am leaning out with the open door as it swings out into thin air, and sanding off the bottom of my expensive, made-in-South-Africa-by-native-women sandals! Ken quips "Oh! Sorry - I saw this close-in space... " and I say "Okay! We're Here! Parker jump out!" and that was the end of it - I trot into the studio, smoking sandal and all, and get the traumatized child into the lineup.
Then, in our absorbed adoration of watching Parker do his routine, we do not notice that Ryan was clicking his camera, with blinding flash, at the audience! He was blinding people as their children did their routines! We discouraged that behavior, so he then decided to play with duplo blocks in a hard plastic case, which made really annoying clunks and clanks while the masters are doing the verbal portion of the tests with each child so now the parents couldn't hear their child's responses. Oy.
But mostly, it was a Magic Day. The weather was cooler and a bit cloudy. The sunset was amazing - a Maxfield Parrish kind of evening. Even the mosquitoes left off for the evening. How lucky is that?!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The hair she's cut.

And I am not liking it. Because I now am forced to spend time actually fixing hair. And I am not a hair-fixing type of person.
Photos to follow, maybe. I have not yet been able to fix the hair properly and may get it entirely cut off, very short.
So, not so happy. Plus, I swear I get weaker the day I get my hair cut.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I read the whole thing in 10 off/on hours *SPOILERS IN COMMENTS*

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrived by post yesterday. Parker brought it in the house and I didn't see it until after 3:00 pm. I got in a couple of hours straight, then interrupted reading (Ken told the boys to quit with the GameCube, already, and promptly left me to deal with them - thanks, Honey!) for another hour and half. We went out to dinner (Noodles, one of our favorites), then for an after-dinner walk, then back home. I nestled in with my book and 2 boys leaping off and on my reading sofa in the master bedroom while they watched Pink Panther on tv. Ken joined them and they settled on the bed. Off to bed with the lot of them around 8:30, and it was just me and Harry. I attempted sleep around 12:30 am. Tossed and turned for an hour, and flipped the reading light back on around 1:30 am.
I finally put the book down around 3 am and slept like the dead. Strange dreams. The boys brought me 'bressist in bed'; a lovely, plated breakfast of 2 slices of toast, a knife, jam, napkin and a half cup of water 'So we won't spill it!' at 7:45 am. Parker cut one slice in half after I offered to share my breakfast with them. We ate in bed, heads bent over the tray to try to avoid crumbs in bed. I told them to find Daddy to ask him when he is going to make waffles, and leapt back out of bed to start reading again. They came back up, and to avoid pleas of GameCube (which they played for HOURS yesterday, so no GameCube today), I put on PBS and luckily, Curious George was featured. So, at 8:15, I again became lost in Harry's world. I was on page 726, so didn't have much left to read. I finished the book in half an hour, re-reading quite a bit as I went, tears streaming down my face at some points.

I am so sad that there will be no more Harry Potter books. They have kept me spellbound since 1998, when I read it aloud to my then 9 year old Godson, his 6 year old brother, and my 10 year old niece while on a trip to visit my Godson's family in Chicago.

These 7 books got the whole planet reading again. And that is a very, very good thing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A little slice of heaven.

It was a little slice of heaven.
This place Rainbow Lakes Resort.
Pictures to follow, which are on Ryan's camera and, well, we haven't quite found it yet! I know it's here, just - where?
The resort is above 9,200 feet, and features warm days and very chilly nights. I drove up with Parker, Ryan and my mother. Ken was in Florida, buy a car. A 2006 Audi A4 Cabriolet, in silver. With low miles, one owner, blah blah blah. (It has yet to be shipped so haven't seen it.) He and my father drove up on Saturday. Which left my mom and myself to set up camp, so to speak.
We did quite well, except for a couple of things:
1. We did not complete the equation that if one finds a small furnace in a cabin, there just might be a thermostat which controls said furnace somewhere about. And that it would be turned down below 50 degrees during the day...
2. We took the sign by the commode that read "Our septic system is fragile. Please do not flush any paper." Very. Seriously. As in - NO PAPER. which was fine with us, being diaper-changing women and all, but which threw the boys (and eventually, the grown men) for a Huge Loop. And which we found out from the resort owners was for a #1 case only - definitely not a #2 situation. In the meantime, my mother and I were doing a lot of boy butt-wiping and alot of triple-wrapping of toilet paper, etc. Yes, Ewwwwwwwwww. Thankfully, the men folk were simply NOT going #2 and were much, much relieved when we trotted back with the information "YES! We can flush paper for #2!" There was a stampede for the facilities after this pearl of news!
About the no-heat the first night: It got down below 50 in the cabin. WAY below 50. I put the boys in my bed and tried to sleep on the blow-up bed. Which of course, was the same temp as the air in the room - FREEZING! When we accidently found the thermostat the next morning, life became much better. And we felt duly humbled.
But as to the rest of the vacation? It was perfection. Long days filled with fishing, boating, hiking and snoozing. Tasty, simple meals prepared on a very tiny gas stove. I read 3 books in the 4 days we were there. And the great news is that I've continued reading since we've arrived home.
We just happened to drive into Buena Vista at 10 one morning, and there was a rodeo parade! Complete with tiny-car tooting and zooming monkey-hatted Shriners! (What happened to the Harleys on which they used to scoot?) And lots of kids on their groomed-to-the-nines ponies and horses, or tugging goats/alpacas/sheep/calves on ropes. So sweet. And crowds of really old folk clapping each other on the back, obviously friends for all their lives. Then a trip to a bakery that served up high quality baked goods - not easy over 8000 feet altitude. We purchased a few yummy treats to make mornings at the cabin special for the next few days.
There was lots of exploring, walking sticks to locate and customize on each hike, wildlife to discover (Deer! Elk! Beaver! Fish!) (Thank God no Bear or Cougar!) and at night - a bonfire to experience. We let the boys put sticks in the fire and then 'write' with the fiery end. They played around that bonfire for 3 hours and finally fell asleep on long log seats around the fire. We met people who had been coming to the lake for 45 years; people who had spent their honeymoon at the lake and conceived children at the lake; people who were first-timers like us and who also vowed to return annually.
And we will be returning annually. At least! We have reservations for next July and are considering making a long week-end reservation for September of this year when the aspens are changing.
We took some photos and lots of video. I will get around to editing this post with photos or posting anew with the photos

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Reading, not writing

We were on vacation for 4 days and I read 3 books. Since we've been home I've read 2. I Hate My Neck and The Wal-Mart Effect One made me laugh, one made me mad. Both made me think. Which is a Good Thing.
The Vacation Report will have to wait. Because?

And yes, doing laundry.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We're OFF like dirty shirts!

To a place I am hoping is a bit like summers of my youth:
Rainbow Lake Resort
I got a checkup and new paws on the minivan, and I've packed the sunscreen, skeeter repellant and star-gazing binoculars. We have light jackets, rain jackets and heavy jackets. Toys and books. I'm bringing a sewing craft, too. (hope springs eternal).
See you in a while!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Phone conversation today:

Me: Wait a minute; I have to move to get better reception (while spinning around in Williams Sonoma, trying to hear better).
Her: Blah blah can't-hear-her-blah...
Me: Crap! My phone doesn't have any reception! Can you hear me? I can't hear you!
Her: blah blah *bling - crystal clear* Oh! I can hear you now. What happened?
Me: This phone is So Old. I mean it's the phone on Year 1 of Alias for gosh sake!
Her: Alias?
Me: Never mind - it was a spy tv show. Off the air now. Never saw how it ended the final year.
Her: Well, if you need a new phone, you should get one while Anne-Marie is there.
Me: What's that weird noise in the background? Sounds like an ad for a cell phone or something.
Her: Oh, that's the new cell phone! I hope nobody is texting me! I can't figure out how to retrieve text messages, and there they sit.
Me: Wait a minute; isn't that your family ring tone? Isn't that what they say on that ad...
Her: Oh, Yes! It's (her daughter)! I better get this...
Me: OK call me back...
Her: No, I'll tell her I'll call her back.
Me: SHIT! My phone just went dead!
*whacking the stuffing out of it on an upholstered chair in the mall*
Me: Are you there?
Her: What was that thumping noise?
Me: Beating my phone to make it work. Sometimes it just goes dead! But I don't want to get a new phone! We never learned how to use these phones and I found a text message from a couple of years ago on thing last week!
Her: Oh, I know what you mean! This new phone can do everything but stir the soup. And I only know how to turn the thing off and on and to answer calls. Last time I learned how to use the phone, (her husband) traded all our phones in and got new ones. Completely different. So I never learn how to run them anymore. I think you can take videos on this one, too.
Me: Hey, there's that ringing again. I swear, it's your family ring tone, or something.
Her: Oh, yes! It's (her husband). I'll let that one go to voice mail - oh I can't! I don't know how to retrieve messages yet! I'll be right back.
Me: SHIT! My phone went dead again! *Mercilessly whacking it on the upholstery, again*
Her: Are you there? Hello? Are you beating that phone again?! I'm telling you, you better get a new phone while you've got that 20 year old in the house. She can show you how to run it.
Me: Just what I need - to be able to text, take photos and drive all at the same time!
Her: Is that the same phone you were complaining about being so slippery you were constantly dropping it?
Me: YES!
Her: Do you mean you've had the same cell phone for 7 years?
Me: Yes.
Her: How do you get away with that?
Me: I know what you mean! It's great to have the same old phone. No learning curve. SHIT! It's dead, AGAIN! Oh, no, don't know what happened - Are you there?
Her: I should let you go.
Me: Yes, I have to get Anne-Marie something for her birthday. Hey, why did you call?
Her: Geesh, I can't remember.
Me: You know, maybe I'll stop by that phone kiosk around the corner...
Her: OH! I remember what it was! We have a new home phone number since (her husband) got the new phones. It's xxx-xxx-xxxx
Me: You called me right? I can just save it on my cell phone.
Her: Hey, that's right! I have to learn how to do that again. Oh, probably not! This phone is completely different from the old one.
Me: Can you believe we just spent (looking at phone) 22 minutes talking about our cell phones. Not how your trip to China was, or how my kids are. No. Our Stupid Cell Phones.
Her: I'll call you at home later. Then we can talk.
Me: SHIT MY PHONE IS DEAD. AGAIN. *drops slippery phone and it busts into 7 pieces this time*

And - I lost her new number as I can't put the phone back together. I guess I really will have to buy a new cell phone.

I met Lemony Sarah!

Yes! The Lovely Sarah O, formerly of Chicago, now of Superior.
And she IS lovely.
And had her hair coiffed, some makeup on and was wearing a chic outfit.
I, on the other hand, had bathed. Other than that, I was wearing old play-with-kids clothing. Oh, and earrings.
She nibbled on her lunch. I wolfed down not only my share, but hers as well!
We discussed a surprising array of subjects. We haven't solved World Hunger or even figured out where they should do their banking. But given a few more meetings, and we just might.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We Have Succombed:

I cannot believe it.
Ken and I have decided to purchase a Gamecube or some other such thing for Parker for his birthday.
Plus a couple of games.
Someone said "Forget the Gamecube! Get them Wii!"
I think NOT.
The first time I tried that Wii thing, I ended up nearly destroying someone's brand-spanking new plasma TV! The remote flew, FLEW, I tell you, out of my grasp and skidded across their TV screen. And the worst thing? I didn't get another turn! YES! The punishment, no matter whom, for such an indiscretion was not getting to play for the rest of the day.
So we are thinking Gamecube.
I have no idea about such things.
Do you have to buy extra memory for the thing?
Can I trust the salespeople at Best Buy or some other Biggish Box not to 'see me coming' and load me up like the true rube that I am?
Any and all advice greatly appreciated. The Big Day is the 10th. So only a few days to decide What To Do.