Thursday, August 30, 2007

I went watchless today. I chose this uniformed position primarily due to vanity, but nevertheless, I was unsure of the time all day long.

It was kind of freeing, but only because of my schedule today. It's nice to ease the stress about how much time do I have left before I have to (fill in the blank).

Anyway, I have to buy a new everyday watch. The water that seeped into my comfortable, elastic banded Timex when I was floating down the icy Boise River with some excellent friends a month ago, finally caught up with the ticker.

What are your most important considerations when purchasing a watch?

Monday, August 27, 2007

I was ambushed by algebra when I walked in the door.

“Hi Mom,” my oldest said. “Can you help me with this?”
She had to identify the variables and write the equation. When was the last time I did this? It wasn’t remarkably difficult and she got it with a little prompting. I said,
“That was kinda fun. It was like a puzzle.”

Eye roll

It occurs to me that I am reaching the ceiling of helping my kids with math. I never took anything higher than Algebra 1 and Geometry. A few years ago when I was at my sister’s, her daughter asked if I could help with a math problem.
“Sure!” I responded enthusiastically, flattered that she asked.
That pride quickly deflated when she showed me the problem. Synthetic division. Was this the polyester/rayon version of the denim algebra I was familiar with? I read back through the section. whoa. I was further behind than I realized. I could not help her in the time I had. I would need to take a class first.

I pointed out her options:
Take a stab at it and be sure to ask the teacher tomorrow
Phone a friend
Call Grandpa

Calling Grandpa is a desperate measure, although I’m sure he knows synthetic division – and not just that it needs to be tumble-dried on a low temperature setting.

My niece chose option number one.
I went home and remember to shift the laundry.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My youngest, who is closing in on ten, just discovered the joy in "Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon. When she wanted to play it again to learn the words, she asked me to please not sing along so she could hear better.

That was a tough request, even though I don't even know all the words.

"I'm on my way. I don't know where I'm going. I'm on my way.
I'm taking my time but I don't know where..."

What songs compel you to sing along recently?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I've been intermittently reading two books on punctuation:
Spunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik and
Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, which I originally thought was a diet book.
Both are great and both have me thinking about my writing in different ways.

So with these thoughts of punctuation reorganizing in my head, I enjoyed my son's recent punctuation misunderstanding.

I had gathered my children together to declare that they needed to maintain a list all week of the items they keep getting told they need for school, or for upcoming sports and scouts. I would not, could not run to the store every day for one thing at a time. I reminded them that they could list books that they were told they would need. Then I said, "Kat needs 'To Kill A Mockingbird.'"
Kyle was startled. He didn't hear the quotation marks or see the capitalization. It hadn't occurred to me that he didn't know this was a book title. Hasn't everyone heard of this book? Apparently not.
"What?!" he sat up, alarmed. "Why the violence?"
charming huh?
So once I explained it he grinned, "Oh, Suzy needs a bridge to Teribithia and Kat needs to kill a mockingbird."

Have you had any recent misunderstandings regarding punctuation?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm working on balance.

This freelance work puts me in charge of my own schedule, which ultimately is a great thing. The problem is limiting the time that my mind in "on-duty" for work. Because I often can do personal errands during "office hours", and because so many events I am required to attend are very early or evening, I feel like I need to be "on call" from like 7am until 9pm. Those are extreme hours and not always required, but it still doesn't seem to be enough.

I have to actively focus on not worrying about an unfinished article or open ad deal. After 9pm, I just can't check my e-mail anymore. It stresses me out. Then I can't fall asleep worrying about who I need to call tomorrow. Of course, it's not just work: Girl Scouts, youth group, lacrosse, family & friends.

E-mail takes so much time to manage. I do like e-mail as a means of communication. It is less insistent than a phone call.

I have a new phone that I am still learning. When I get a call I have the options to "silence" or "ignore." Good reminders. One of my pet peeves is when someone answers only to say they can't talk and will call me back. Why not let it just go to voicemail? Isn't that its purpose?

Would this be easier to compartmentalize if I went to an office? Probably not. Everyone is stressed out. I need to go to yoga.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The thing I'm studying for recently is an adult Sunday School class coming up for the fall at my church. I have a delicious topic.
My class is called "The Uncensored Bible." We will be looking over several of the Bible stories that are too racy to be included in children's material and rarely covered in sermons: drunkenness, human sacrifice, gory murders, incest, public orgies, genocide, kidnappings, rape, and all sorts of mayhem.

Why study these? These ancient stories have survived thousands of years, supposedly for our benefit. They are, in a way, our family histories. It's good to know our stories.

I have a great grandpa about whom I know virtually nothing accept one story. During the tensions leading to the US involvement in WWII, Charles Preston tarred and feathered a German-sympathizer and ran him out of town. He did a brief stint in jail and shamed the family. His children were sworn to secrecy. But guess what story is the only one passed on to his great grandchildren?

So what I'm wondering is, do you have any racy stories in your family history that you are glad to know? How does knowing them change anything?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I've been busy entertaining, working, running my children around, shopping for back to school, dating, and studying actually. As a result, I've neglected some of my domestic responsibilities - including weeding. My front garden looks too terrible to show you. But this one weed that took over a little wrougt iron table turned out to be a beautiful Morning Glory.
Sometimes there is beauty in letting things go.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Last weekend we were lucky enough to have some old friends come see us for the weekend. Our kids enjoyed touring DC together, although it was the hottest day of the summer (until today that is.) They did a great job maintaining proper decorum in the sweltering sojourn through Arlington Cemetery. By the time we got to the WWII memorial, proper decorum had been stretched to far.

Annapolis was fun, as always. We got to watch the midshipmen practicing their sailing techniques while we rode the Harbor Queen. Of course we had to have crabs for the full Maryland experience.
Laura, who you've met on this blog, and I have a unique bond. We are friends because our ex-husbands were friends. So even though they don't communicate anymore, we bonded over our divorces. It seems our exes have some similar issues being big jocks from the same small town. So we had a weekend long psychotherapy session - with margaritas.

Laura is an amazing mother, overcoming odds that most people simply couldn't face. You can tell by how cool her kids are.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm back and getting caught up from all the fun happenings of summer. Here are a few pictures of our beautiful visit with old friends in Idaho. It was great to see my high school friends and have my children renew their friendship with their children.

I also learned that the less I spent on an event, the more fun it seemed to be. It was a pleasure to watch our children play, unplugged, for hours. We all delighted in the ice-melt Payette & Boise Rivers, climbing on the boulders, and the high desert scenery. Those Boiseans love their libraries!

I came home with jet lag, an interesting new drink recipe, an easy dinner idea, loads of pictures, and a renewed closeness for my friends that I've known for 21 years. What a long strange trip its been.

Thanks Lisa & Big! Thanks J & B! I love you!