Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Winds of Change

I feel like I'm moving into a completely new arena of parenthood. My children went to their first sleepover this weekend.

On one hand, it was wonderfully liberating. I have never been without my children for more than a couple of hours since they were born. Never ever. Skeeter and I went to dinner (at the Olive Garden -- yummy, yummy!), then we went home and watched Waking Ned Devine (a quirky little movie, but quite good). The movie ended at about 11:30, and we went to bed.

Not an exciting night, certainly, but it was fantastic. During that entire time, I didn't have to be the policeman or the referee. I was just a woman, enjoying the evening with her husband.

On the other hand, I didn't sleep well. I kept waking every couple of hours, thinking that I needed to check on the children for some reason. They were fine, of course, and it wasn't even that I was worried about them. I had trouble relaxing once my mind was unoccupied, simply because checking on them is what I do.

It's a very good thing that changes come a bit at a time. It would be too much of a shock for me if it came all at once.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A few comments on the weather

Good heavens!! The weather so far this year has been so strange. We seem to move from one extreme to the other, with almost no time in between.

We usually manage to make it until the first of May before we have to turn on the air conditioner, and it usually stays on until mid to late September. The heat goes on anywhere from mid-October to the first of November, and it stays on until mid to late March.

This year has been far from typical. So far, we've turned off the heat, had to turn it back on, turned it back off, turned on the a/c. Turned off the a/c again, then turned it back on. It's been on since. At one point in April it was 95 degrees. Thankfully, that heat wave only lasted for a few days. Overall though, I think that April has been far from typical, weather-wise.

Just Monday it was 85 degrees (warmer than normal, but still not horrid), where we spent a lovely (if crowded) day at the zoo. I just went out to feed the birds and it was CHILLY! Came in to check the temperature, and it's currently 56 degrees! Crazy weather. Crazy! Thankfully, we have an indoor activity planned for the afternoon!

April really is the cruellest month.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Unrealistic expectations

When I was working at the bookstore tonight, I had at least 11 requests for Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. We had two copies in the store, and we sold both of them before I got there this evening.

The teacher assigned the book today, expected them all to have copies tomorrow, and would be giving each student a ZERO for each day he/she didn't have it. (Three different students told me this, each at different times, so I don't think they were all exaggerating.) Every bookstore in town is sold out. And we have 10+ stores in the area. I know. I called them all.

The teacher is entitled to classroom autonomy, so I suppose there isn't anything that the students (or the parents) can really DO about it. But in my opinion, that's just wrong. If the teacher had set aside the books for them, then yes, she absolutely has the right to require that they get them that quickly. But none of them were assured a copy of the book, and those who don't get the zeros this week are just the lucky ones who can drive or dial the phone faster than the others.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Girl Named Zippy

My latest read was Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy, and it was absolutely delightful! Read it, read it, read it!!

The book is really just a collection of essays about the ins and outs of growing up in a small Middle American community. It reads like Spoon River Anthology, where much of what is told isn't stated, but inferred.

I grew up in a small-ish town, and some parts of the book brought me back to my own joys and discoveries of childhood. I can't express enough how much I enjoyed this book!

I was thrilled to find that Kimmel has written another book of essays further detailing her small and small town years, and it's definitely high on my "must read" list.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The dogs are good for me

We have two dogs. They were (very unexpected) Christmas gifts in 2004 when we found them abandoned in below-freezing temperatures. They were only 5 weeks old when we got them, but now at 50 and 65 lbs, they're hard to remember that small!

Watching them grow up and seeing how their personalities develop has been the most fun part of having them.

Brownie is the larger of the two, but he's the "scaredy dog." He's terrified of loads of things, but the ones that come to mind first are the vacuum cleaner and mylar balloons. He always wants to be in the middle of everything, particularly anything that's taking place in the kitchen (LOL!). We always joke about him, particularly how the big and brawny dog is the one who is scared of everything, but he's a very loving and happy dog.

Lucy is much, much different than her brother. We always joke that she's the cat-dog because she has the same "You're just here to feed me" attitude that I usually see in cats. She's very aloof, although she does enjoy a good petting on her own terms. :o) She's definitely a bird dog. She's constantly tracking the birds and squirrels that happen to get too close to her domain (the backyard). She's never caught a squirrel -- that I've seen -- but I have seen the remains of several birds who got too close. She's currently in a war with a bluejay that has taken up residence in the live oak tree, and I've enjoyed watching them annoy each other. LOL!

Yes, having the dogs puts more work on me, like cleaning the neverending bits of dog hair that seem to get everywhere, but I'm so glad to have them.

This morning we had a terrible thunderstorm, and neither of them wanted to go out for their morning pee. When it was mostly over, Skeeter insisted (quite rightfully!), but they were both quite annoyed about it. Once the trip outside was finished and they were back in, Brownie looked at Skeeter and howled at him. Not a menacing bark or growl, but a howl, as if to say "How could you make me go out there!?! Use your eyes, man! It's wet and growly and awful!"

It was the biggest laugh I've had in ages, and even now I'm having trouble typing through the laugh-tears. It made me remember how much I like having my furry, four footed babies.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Labor of Love

Well, probably nothing that dramatic. :o)

Last year around my birthday I decided to grow my hair long so that I could donate it to Locks of Love. It was pretty short when I decided, just barely brushing my shoulders. I haven't had it long since I was about 6, so it was definitely a new experience for me.

It really did become a sacrifice for the last few months, and that wasn't something that I expected. It had gotten so long that it was significantly heavier than usual. It took much longer to wash and dry, and it always looked and felt dirty at the end of the day.

This year, at my birthday last week, I went to the salon to see if it was long enough to donate, and . . . HOORAY!! . . . it was!

The transformation:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bristle Love

Oh, how I love my new toothbrush!! LOL! I'm such a cheap old biddy. I always buy the generic Target brand toothbrushes. They get the job done, but they're nothing special. I've just never been able to spend almost $4 on the "fancy" name brand toothbrushes.

Today I opened my new toothbrush, which happened to be a freebie from a local dentist that I got at the Christmas parade. (I thought that was great -- throwing toothbrushes instead of candy! LOL!) I really, really need to figure out what kind it is because it's fantastic, and I will *definitely* spend the extra money for it!

I just Googled and figured out what I have. Just in case you're wondering, it's the Oral-B CrossAction toothbrush. And it's most certainly worth the $4!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Science of Magic

We spent the day at the Pink Palace Museum, and we had a BLAST! For some reason, the children were fascinated with the idea that it had been built as someone's home, so we spent over an hour in the mansion portion. And the public portion isn't all that big! The public is only allowed in the entry, a hallway, and two rooms. The hallway and rooms are set up with exhibits on the history of the area, but the entry is just a huge open space -- with a stuffed polar bear (??)! I need to remember to ask why the polar bear is there. LOL!

Once we left the original mansion, we went to the traveling exhibit, The Science of Magic. Spyder (the aspiring magician) was absolutely thrilled! Sass was excited too, since the exhibit is very "hands-on" and she got to do the magic too. It was actually our second time at the exhibit, but the first time we went was during Spring Break for the schools, so it was completely packed. It was much, much nicer being able to enjoy it without the big crowd.

It's a great exhibit, and I'll be sad for it to go. I can't wait to see what's next though!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

SchoolHouse Rock LIVE!

LOVE IT!! We saw SchoolHouse Rock Live last week, and everyone loved it! I can honestly say that Sass, Spyder, and I all had a fantastic time.

For me, of course, it was a stroll (jog, maybe?) down memory lane. I remember how much I loved those three or four minute songs when I was little. I'd watch the Saturday morning cartoons just waiting for SchoolHouse Rock.

My children watch the DVD regularly, but it's not quite the same. There's just something about having a favorite song surprise you on the television, like when you're flipping channels and come across a movie that you already own and you watch it anyway. Or maybe that's just me? :o)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tin Roof Tango!

Spyder and I went to see Tin Roof Tango last week. What a show! The group essentially plays folk music from around the world, and it was outstanding!

The group plays traditional instruments, which made it even more fascinating. One of the main instruments used was the hammered dulcimer, which we've seen at the Renaissance Festival many times (but Spyder never realized -- LOL!). I think his favorite instrument was the South American RainStick.

Spyder was laughing and dancing and singing through all of it! He loved it so much that we even bought the CD!

Back in the saddle again!

WHEW! It's been quite a month! From the urchins being ill to running about for different activities, the days have been quite full! I feel like my life was running me. I think (I *think*) that we're settled into our usual routine once again. Still busy and on-the-go, as springtime always is, but I'm not allowing things to get out of hand. :o)

I haven't quite worked eBay listings into the schedule again, but I suppose that will come.

At the moment, I'm trying to gather Easter basket items. I know what they're getting; I just need to go and BUY it without having me with them (quite a difficult thing)!