March 20, 2014

Mortality

I'm heading to Appalachia tomorrow to say goodbye to Big Bob, my favorite uncle.  He's over 80, and while his wife was away, something happened and a neighbor stopped by to borrow some flour (or a sheep or a rifle), and when no-one answered the knock, opened the door and walked inside, like people in all small towns of no great wealth are prone to do.  He found Big Bob prone (facedown -- supine is face up) in the living room and promptly called an ambulance.  That was five days ago.  While Big Bog apparently responds to sounds, he has not awoken from his coma.  An MRI shows no signs of stroke.  While Big Bob is diabetic, he does not appear to be in a diabetic coma.

The news is not good.  This is not a tragedy.  Big Bob has lived more than his three score and ten.  He has lived to see four lovely grandchildren, and, after the loss of his first wife, married again quite happily.  Nonetheless, I am not ready to say goodbye.

While at this point all my grandparents are dead, I have only lost one close relation previously.  That was Big Bob's first wife.  My grandparents dies at the ages 80, 80, 94 and 99.  The only aunt I lost died of emphysema and after effects of the polio that killed her mother and crippled her brother (her father died in World War II, having survived the Bataan Death March, when Allied forces torpedoed the boat taking him to a Japanese prison camp or  wherever they were taking him).  All my blood relations one generation up are still alive.  Big Bob is threatening to change that statement.  I don't like it.  That is all.

March 17, 2014

My Winter in the Great White North

That's not true. I still live in the generally almost tropical national capital area suburbs. But today is my 995th snow day of 2014. That may be a slight exaggeration. But even when the federal government closes, my employer generally remains open, and I have had more snow days in the last three months than I have had in the previous three years. More even than the dreaded snowpocalypse winter. At least this time I have electricity and a gas stove. But seriously, winter this year really is bizarre. Poor SWMBO is going to have at least a week of extra school at the beginning of the summer. She loves snow days, but really doesn't like the end result.

 In another foreshadowing of the rapture, one of my children is now my height. The Valkyrie may even be a little taller than I am, but I'm not copping to that yet. She still has that long, lanky teen-like look about her, but pretty soon she's going to be a full-fledged adult. I'm not ready for that. Yes, I know, I've let her head off to boarding school in New England (where, despite more snow than we have here, there are no snow days), but she's still my precious baby angel. Sigh.

My neighbors feed the birds, and this provides ample entertainment for the average feline. Lili, the cat, sits on the back of the comfy chair, looking out the window at the all chickadee channel, swishing her tail on occasion. This also provides carryout for a pair of hawks who nest near my condo complex. To misquote Spike of BTVS: Happy Meals with wings. Once I walked home and there was a large bird on my entrance rail and I thought "Gosh, that's a large crow or pigeon." I got closer and that was when I became acquainted with the hawks of my neighborhood. It just sat there, looking down on the bird feeders, apparently annoyed that it's order for a cardinal, wren and squirrel sandwich had gotten lost. It only stirred when I was within a few yards of it.

Precious the dog had a hard time walking in the snow this morning. She's a short, fluffy bit of silliness and I'm going to be lifting her over snow banks for a while. Meanwhile, I'm home from work with the FoilFilles. Fortunately, the Valkyrie is sleeping the sleep of the teenager (she may be as tall as I am but she still has the slightly rounded cheeks and peach fuzz of true youth), and so I will be spared sibling battles for at least another hour or two.

Off to Open Library to read Ernie Pyle's Brave Men. I love Open Library so much. Even more that the Kindle, Kobo, and OverDrive Media apps on my laptop that allow book reading whenever. Now I don't have to pack four or five books to bring on any trips (because you don't want to run out -- that would be bad), I can just download all the free classics (Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Vindication of the Rights of Women, The Souls of Black Folk) and other books I want to read (anything by Octavia Butler, Shovel Ready by Adam Sternberg).  Okay, I'm sick of snow days, but I'm still going to enjoy this.

March 16, 2014

Remembering Why I Don't Write Here Much

The reason is exhaustion, pure and simple. During the Dark Times (pre-divorce, divorce, and immediate post-divorce), I was so nervous and afraid that adrenaline kept me up at all hours, and I would write to soothe myself. Now, I don't worry so much, largely because I don't need to do so. I still worry about money, PdeFF, my friends in trouble (Cookie in England, with job and health trouble; Innana here, with job-hunting and family trouble; Francesca, in Europe, with a dog who was badly injured and just too far away, darn it all, even though she sounds like she's doing fine), ageing family members health (FoilMormor's polycythimia vera is present, and she has aches and pains; Aunt Elsebet has had heart attacks and breast cancer and is slowing down; Jenseman is healthy for an 80-year old, but now looks and acts old; Big Bob is drinking too much after a period of sobriety, has a bad limp, and is slowing down; Big Grampa has glaucoma, shingles, colds that last a long, long time, and is driving increasingly erratically; DOL has Alzheimer's or some form of dementia -- she doesn't recognize her cats), my job (going well, but a new head of department, big shakeup, some people got organized into the unemployment line, so it was stressful, and Ms. Bossy doesn't like the new big boss, so that's stressful), and the fate of the Earth (yeah, nothing much happens except airlines going missing, but really, the U.S. has been at war for over a dozen years now -- that looks like war without end -- and the lack of threat to my existence or the well-being of my offspring, who spring around like springboks or Thompson's gazelles. So why am I exhausted? That would be the offspring. Since 6 p.m. on Friday I have: supervised two sleepovers (one for the Valkyrie and her good friend Gretl, and one for SWMBO and her good friend Nora), gotten Gretl and the Valkyrie off to a sailing club boat cleaning and lunch, taken SWMBO shopping for a birthday present for her friend Kaori, then took the dog, Precious, for a two mile hike, then picked up SWMBO from the party, and then took the SWMBO and Nora to a school carnival, then took SWMBO to a skating party, then entertained the Valkyrie, Gretl, and the Valkyrie's swain du momentu Owen (which is a mystery of its own, since the Valkyrie, in no surprise to me, has told me that she's 95% sure she's gay) while they watched Alien (hey, a new generation discovers the glory that is Sigourney Weaver -- that's a good thing), then up at six today to walk Precious, prepare for Sunday school (yup, and this class was All About Jesus), then shopping at Target for spring closes for the FoilFilles. Then making lunch and we'll be off to skating lessons, and then making dinner. At no point have I managed any housecleaning. The FoiFlat (actually, it's a condo, but don't I sound cosmopolitan *snort* when I describe my 3 BR condo as a flat?) is probably due to be condemned shortly -- vacuuming and sweeping are not high on my priority. Plus, at work I am arranging a departmental move, evaluating bids on a 5-6 year, several million dollar contract, as well as handling all the archival functions for my department (not my job, but the person whose job it was had a "career change opportunity"), as well as my own day to day job (lots of research and analysis). I'm trying to line up horseback-riding lessons, summer and spring break camp, tennis camp, golf camp, summer job for the Valkyrie, trips to pick the Valkyrie up from prep school, attend my 35th reunion, attend a big Scandinavian family reunion (gorgeous relatives named Bo, Marcus, Olaf, Sven, Kurt, Rolf, Birgitte, Maren, Gunvor, Birte, Bengt, Benne, Bertil, Sten, Hans, Ole, Signe, Helle, Lars, Lief, Jorgen, Berit, Bodil, Elsebet, Hanne, Lore etc.). How they are all blonde and I'm dark is a mystery. But last night, I sat and listened to another parent at the ice rink detail the horrors of an ongoing custody battle, and felt such an enormous wave of relief. My life is finally boring, and filled with the minutia, the quotidian details that will bore everyone to tears. I'll try to find more interesting things to write about, but oh, I am happily embracing boring exhaustion.

March 15, 2014

Long Ago and Far Away

I used to post a lot on this blog. It was very important to me. Now life is so busy that I barely have time to think, much less write. To anyone who might still be reading, life has been good. I am in the process of recovering from the disaster of my divorce. I own a home, I'm sticking money in my retirement account. TigerGrrl, now more appropriately called The Valkyrie (at 14, she's at least 5'10", and is still progressing nicely in her quest for global domination), has one a full scholarship to an exclusive prep school and is doing quite well there. DestructoGirl, now more appropriately called She Who Must Be Obeyed (or SWMBO for short) is the dominating personality in my life. She loves school, has lots of friends, is doing an almost-spiral in her figure skating classes, has a strong connection with many, many creatures of the equine, feline, canine and cavia porcelline varieties. All of which, except the equines, now reside quite happily in my increasingly messy home. PdeFF disappeared to another continent for a while, after having been jobless for two years plus. I just found out he's coming back in a few weeks, much later than he had promised his daughters. My feelings are mixed, having enjoyed the luxury of no contact with an almost insane and impecunious ex for more than a few months, but noticing that SWMBO was quite dejected about the temporary loss of her beloved papa. That's the thing. No matter how ineffective a parent is, kids still love that parent. I've been taking EdX classes (fun!), trying subjects like Statistics and other maths and sciences I have avoided like the plague since high school. I should have not focused so much on the liberal arts. I've joined a knitting group, a yoga class, a hiking group, and a book club. I've become addicted to Game of Thrones, The Americans, and The Walking Dead. Homeland, True Detective, and Black Sails don't quite cut it. Nothing, of course, reaches the heights of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but for that we have Netflix. For the last two years, I've had a fairly constant dinner companion, although that's fading a bit (I just don't have the energy). Work is going well. What's next? I think I should write a novel, but about what? I'm FoilMormor is well, but aging. My sisters are doing well, although one of them has annoyed the bejesus out of me and I'm rather avoiding her -- a story for another day. I still, when commuting, walk up to the guy on the Metro sitting on the outside of the seat and say "Excuse me." And sit down. Because even if I'm not at war with the world any more (it's treating me rather well at the moment, even if I am exhausted), I still have to exercise my powers every so often. I try to use my powers for good.

April 29, 2012

Sick and Tired (but Life's Still Good)

I've had a cold and cough for two weeks. I've been to the doctor twice. I can't stop coughing. On the Metro, people eschew me. But I'm not sick enough to stay home. Some of the cough is allergies. Up in Northern New Hampshire, up in the North Country, I never had spring-time allergies. Here in the DC area, the home of pollen and dander, not so much. In the middle of all that, I chaperoned a bunch of first-graders (six and seven-year olds) to the National Zoo, have been getting DG to her figure skating lessons (she wants to be a figure skater when she grows up), getting TG and DG to Sunday school, softball, craft classes, cello, drama, etc. etc. etc. Three birthday parties in the last two weeks. One overnight trip to the Aquarium in Baltimore. Added to all that, I've been dating someone since last August, nothing serious, but a regular commitment to get together and hang out (over a nice meal, preceded by a Manhattan). Unfortunately, I've been sleeping less that when I had terrible insomnia in the now-amusedly-referred to as the Dark Time surrounding the divorce. I've somehow got to get more rest. Yet there is nothing I want to give up. Also, my favorite co-worker just retired. Until a replacement is hired, guess who does that work? Not seeing too much rest on the horizon. But life is still good.

March 8, 2012

Mundane

Nuclear Grammy would have been 100 years old last month. She died at Christmastime. My last grandparent, gone. Now I am noticing parental health issues (and friends' health issues, person with diabetes who doesn't exercise or do much health-wise). I have to check in with Foilmormor and find out if her platelet count has gone down on low-dose hydroxyurea and if the leg ulcer is continuing to heal now that she is taking hydroxyurea again.

Meanwhile, my life is swimming along. I own my own home and a fixed rate well below 4%, which is amazing considering how much financial trouble I was in back in 2005. Now I'm increasing retirement savings, and getting ready to do the same with college savings. The girls are doing well. TigerGrrl has completed a successful basketball season (Go Ocelots!) and is starting tennis shortly. Music lessons are going quite well, as is orchestra. DestructoGirl is loving school, art lessons, and can't wait for more figure skating lessons soon.

I have a companion guy-type person to go out to dinner with quite regularly who actually makes my life easier rather than harder (he gets the whole single parent schedule limitations thing) who puts absolutely no pressure on me to commit to more beyond having nice meals in his company. He has some health issues, and has some surgery pending, after which he might pick up the pace, but unlike, oh say, past beaux PiousMan and Nguyen, no rush to the altar is implied or threatened.

My only worries right now are other people: PdeFF is out of work, as is a very good friend. Foilmormore is actually having to act physically restrained as many other 75-year olds do.

My goals for myself: get another foster dog, do more hiking, do more biking, make some effort at achieving some realistic 50-year old lady level of physical fitness. Skate more. That's it for now. Have to call my mother.

February 29, 2012

Aging in America

I'm really pissed off. In general, that's not my natural state these days. I'm pleasantly mellow. Most people don't even recognize me. But what's with the whole "I'm a specialist, I won't talk to another specialist who treats your mother" schtick? Doctors of the universe: this ain't winning you friend among the foilfriendly. Call other doctors who treat your patient. Talk to them. Come up with a plan of attack on ailments that is coordinated. Don't make your elderly patient or her increasingly annoyed daughter run interference for you, communicate for you, and do your fucking job. If your treatment, for example, gives my mother other ailments own up, man up, and work on fixing those other ailments as well as the original ailment that treatment of which caused the secondary ailments.

Specifically: Hematologists, you know that Hydroxyurea is used to treat essential thrombocytosis and other ailments involving excessive platelet prodcutions. You also know (since it's all over the Internet as a side effect) that long-term Hydroxyurea use can cause unhealable skin ulcers, especially on the ankle (which hurt like a sonofabitch). Unhealable skin ulcers are not a good thing. So get on the fucking phone with the wound care specialists and come up with a workable plan of treatment for painful skin ulcers. Thank you.

February 25, 2012

The Year There Was No Winter

Okay, I know those of you in the antipodes are at the end of summer, but here, it's winter, and for the last few years we have had boatloads o' snow. This year, nothing. There's still a chance, of course, but it's increasingly unlikely that the capital area will have a significant snowfall with March just a few days away. And that's just fine.

But right now I'm up in Maine, checking up on an ailing Foilmormor, and there's no snow here either. That's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now, I wasn't going to get to ski anyway, because Foilmormor's ailment is as follows: for the last six years Foilmormor has had a blood disorder that causes her to produce too many platelets. It's either polycythimia vera or essential thrombocytosis (who makes up these names? The department of incomprehensible disease nomenclature?) for which she has been taking hydroxyurea and been doing fine until this fall. And by fine, I mean, swimming in the ocean in Maine, swimming 100 laps a day (okay, the pool is small, but still) in the condo pool, walking 2-5 miles a few times a week, biking 10-20 miles on bike trails twice a week or so, visiting children and grandchildren, and generally keeping busy. The only sign of her age (75) has been excessive writing letters to the editors of publications with which she disagrees. However, this fall, Foilmormor got a wound on her ankle which would not heal. It swelled up. It showed the ankle bone. It was painful. It was gross. It wouldn't heal.

Finally, after several rounds with antibiotics, Foilmormor went to the wound care clinic at Mercy Hospital in Portland and the wound care doctor, upon hearing that my mom took hydroxyurea for her excess of platelets, told her that the wound was an ulcer caused by the hydroxyurea. After stopping that medicine, the ulcer started to heal, but this last month Foilmormor's hematologist told her that her platelet counts were just too darn high and she went on another medicine, but that medicine didn't work. Her platelet count is now about 1200 (400 is the top range of normal). She has started back on the hydroxyurea and says she can feel the prickling sensation which means that the ulcer is coming back.

Why not just remove the platelets via apheresis? I mean, living with open sores is no fun. The Red Cross takes my platelets every 2-4 weeks and gives them to people with myelofibrosis (what the Second Mate died of). Since Foilmormor has a blood disease, I'll understand if they toss her platelets, but since she has too many and you can remove them by apheresis, why not do that rather than give her a medicine that gives her open wounds, huh?

Does anyone have any experience with this? Anyway, Foilmormor can't wear shoes or boots now because they aggravate the ankle, so she just wears clogs. Fortunately, she lives in Maine where lots of people wear clogs (looks a bit hippy, but that's ok). Today, we went for a walk and Foilmormor apologizes for moving slowly, etc. My ailing 75-year old mother with a wound on her leg still managed a 1.5 to 2 mile walk over off-road trails in the woods. I was the one walking more carefully, since the last few times I've slipped and fallen I have dislocated my shoulder (left). Maybe it's the left side of our bodies' that's weak?

My ailing 75-year old mother could only walk 2 miles (actually, she could have gone farther, we just got to the end of the trail and were hungry and wanted lunch) and now she's napping. I do want that wound healed, but she's not at death's door yet.

January 28, 2012

Fortune's Wheel

It's been a while. I never meant to stop writing here, but life caught up with me, and I didn't need to vent as much.

At the start of the whole divorce from PdeFF (a/k/a the Insane Ex) my entire goal was to survive with the girls reasonably happy. No more, no less. My finances were in ruins, my career a shambles, and my ability to enjoy and appreciate life severely compromised.

Those days are over, and the original goal now seems so puny. The girls are thriving. Tigergrrl is a star in school, on her basketball team, skiing with friends, in community service (recycling, food prep for a shelter, otherwise working on improving the world at school and at church), and this year she has gone spelunking, white-water rafting, and hiking with a pre-teen group that suits her well. She's enjoying (something I never did) middle school. DestructoGirl is loving being a big first grader and is drawing up a storm and preparing to be the next Dorothy Hamill or Peggy Fleming, or whoever.

We own our own home with a bedroom for each girl and a dog whose biggest problem is that by picking where she'll curl up for the night, she'll be disappointing at least one child.

I honestly never thought this day would come, back in 2005-2008, a time that shall hereafter be referred to, in hushed tones, as The Dark Time.

I'm doing well in my job, I'm thinking about returning to a higher level position (in a few years -- I'll wait until DestructoGirl is several years into her schooling), and everything except for worries about some friends (unfortunately, luck and success run in cycles, and my up cycle is a down cycle for people I care about) and PdeFF (jobless again, darn the feckless fool) is pretty much on an upswing.

It's funny how the wheel turns. I have no doubt that I have many more catastrophic failures ahead of me before I die. I plan to die in my 90s. NuclearGrammy died recently, just missing her 100th birthday. I don't want to live that long, but at age 50, I'm feeling just slightly more than half-way through this whole deal.

I hope to be writing regularly again, but the sturm und drang and excitement of before (remember, The Dark Time) seems unlikely to return. Thus this might turn into a knitting blog. Or a dog-training blog. Or the blog of the lamb chop mother: I don't threaten to trash stuffed animals and my kids STILL do well (take that, Amy Chua*!).

Next post, maybe: of dogs and men.

*Please note, it may be possible that Ms. Chua wrote her dreadful child-rearing memoir as a joke or something, but even so, she's only slightly less idiotic that Lori Gottlieab and only slightly less hateful than Caitlin Flanagan. You read in on the Internet, so it must be true, right?

February 24, 2011

Irritable Boss Here

Those of you in Gen X, Y, Z and Zero or whatever you* call yourselves, consider this a little advice note from your boss. I recently, due to no fault or ambition of my own, doubled the number of subordinates who I supervise. It has not been a joy-filled experience. And as much as I hate to think of it in this challenging economy, a few young stars in their own firmament may be getting a career change opportunity in the next few months.

I don't like thinking that way. I like to let people do their jobs out of my way (and I like to keep out of theirs). My primary responsibilities and yours are not the same and I'd like to trust you to just DO yours without my intervention.

Do you know the primary cause of employees not rising to their responsibilities? No, not incompetence (although that plays a role). Absenteeism.

Yes, you may get 26 days of leave a year**, half vacation, half sick, but that doesn't mean at the end of the year your balances should be 0. With vacation, maybe, but you really should have some brains and try to husband your sick leave. Also, bosses get very suspicious of leave taken on Mondays and Fridays. So here's the advice:

  1. Regarding vacation leave: request it, don't demand it. If all your peers will be on vacation, don't assume you'll get that week off as well. Unless you want your employer to think: "Hmmm. We really can manage without all of them. Why don't we try that, since budgets are getting slashed."
  2. Regarding sick leave: it gets annoying when you always get sick on a day that makes a weekend a long weekend. Soon you'll be asked for a doctor's note, even when you just need to stay home a day or two to recover from a cold that doesn't require a prescipriton.
  3. If you do have leave, don't let assignments be late and completed after you return. Finish them before the two weeks in the Bahamas.
  4. If you have children or pets or a chronically ill spouse, while it's reasonable to request leave to care for ill children, pets, or spouse, it also behooves you to befriend a few neighbors. Really. Suck up a bit. Do you want to be beholden to your cranky neighbor lady or your not-cranky-but-really-really-tired boss who just wishes someone wouldn't always leave her with finishing up subordinates' jobs.

I have no expecttation that anyone will take this advice. But really, if you have a new boss, and need to keep your job, these might be suggestions to follow.


*Assume you are a GS-5 to GS-11 and you report to me. Yes, I know you don't, really. But trust me when I tell you, what I'm about to say might actually benefit you. Might keep you employed. Might keep you from eviction or foreclosure or just being that totally annoying crying drunk at the bar who is so totally not getting laid except by a serial killer.

**Assuming a first, second, or third year employee. After that, you get more leave than that if you work for the feds. If you've made it until your fourth year, you haven't annoyed the living shit out of me with leave abuse, so you clearly figured it out. But even so, think about what I'm writing here.

February 23, 2011

I Don't Know How I Did It

My plans do not include stopping blogging, except I seem to have stopped blogging. I plead parenthood, being fully employed, being mildly ill, and being fucking exhausted.* I also, with a smidgeon of pride, plead successful working parenthood. TG is in orchestra, honors orchestra, a sports team, taking instrumental music lessons, taking four honors classes (excepting phys ed, social studies, and science, which at this grade are the same for everyone) and also running a cute 11-year old business plus doing a variety of workout, activities, and other tween-type stuff with her friends.

I have to schlep TG to sports practice, honors orchestra rehearsal, instrumental music lessons, sports games, and things like the library, the YMCA, birthday parties, school events, parties, etc.

DG is taking a foreign language, art classes, and will be starting skating classes (which she has been begging for for several months). She also has been doing ballet, but we will be dropping that since the milieu doesn't suit the inventor of Rhino Head.

In addition to the kid-related activities (KRAs), I've been working double-time: I've been taking over about 1/3 or the responsibilities of a temporarily disabled colleague, including doubling the number of employees I supervise (Oh, joy!) and taking on a bunch of computer stuff. I'm not a power monger. People who want office power creep me out: it's really easier if you just let people do their jobs. Ok, people who don't do their jobs, well, they suck. And yes, if you frequently call in sick on Mondays and Fridays, yes, you aren't carrying your weight.

But actually, the people reporting to me, mostly do their jobs without interference. Nonetheless, a 100% increase in staff I supervise has made me a bit overworked. Not overwhelmed, but veering in that direction.

Add to that some annoying and non-midlife related symptoms that have me meeting with a specialist tomorrow leave me not-exactly keeping up with anything other than kids and work and teaching Sunday school. Knitting group? Living without me, without any hitches. Reading group? Abandoned. Clean house? A distant, fond memory that has no real bearing on the present day.

I'll clearly have to do some cleaning before Foilmormor, NSLOS, and LOS come down for my upcoming 50th. I'm also saving desperately to buy a home within the next year and for a trip to Europe to be there for Francesca's 50th.

I live in hope that I'll have time to write again. When? Who the heck knows.
*Being fucking exhausted ("BFE") is basically a synonym for being employed + being a parent of one or more under eighteen-year olds. Having two under eighteen-year olds means I am not just being fucking exhausted, I'm ABSOLUTELY fucking exhausted.

November 20, 2010

The Happy Elf

Last weekend I got reviewer tickets to see The Happy Elf, an Adventure Theatre play, but at Montgomery College in Rockville rather than the usual Glen Echo home of Adventure Theatre. I took DestructoGirl, who loved the play/musical. I prefer the traditional Adventure Theatre venue to Montgomery College's performing arts center, because Adventure Theatre's intimate stage is much friendlier to small theater-goers, but the play was very enjoyable.

Unfortunately, the show was at 7 p.m. and lasted 90 minutes, which made it rather late in the day for a six-year old. But despite the late hour and the more impersonal venue, the play was an enormous hit with DestructoGirl.

First off, to parents of the younger set: this play features Santa and Mrs. Claus (Santa loves cookies, Mrs. Claus tries to keep him from eating too many so the sleigh can still lift off), which, for the Santa-believing set is quite a draw. Everytime Santa appeared on stage, DG just beamed with delight. It didn't hurt that Elliot Dash, who played Santa (as well as the Mayor and a policeman) had some lovely musical numbers and dancing, at both of which he was quite adept.

Clint Johnson, the actor playing the Eubie, the Happy Elf was quite charming and elfin. I wasn't humming any of the songs as I left the theatre, but DG was totally smitten with her first live musical theater experience. My favorite character was Molly, "the baddest kid in Bluesville", played by Valerie Issembert.

Our theater evening wasn't great, since the girls were getting sick, and DG had had a long, long day (cooking with my Sunday School class, visit with Innana, ice skating birthday party, and then the play) and DG was tired and cranky. But despite exhaustion and under the weather offsping, the play was a big hit. Unfortunately for me, DG was so tired we had to head homeward immediately after the end of the play. Harry Connick, Jr. was going to answer audience questions, but we had to head straight home and put one exhausted six-year old to bed.

After that, TigerGrrl got sick, and we've had some other mishaps this week, hence the delay in posting. The Happy Elf is a great play for the 7-10 age range, and great for the younger set, although I would recommend a matinee for those 6 and under, or, if 7 o'clock is the time of the tickets, an afternoon rest before heading to the theater.

October 28, 2010

Out of Synch

DG has turned six. TG is eleven. I'm almost fifty. Despite the alleged horde of women giving birth in their late thirties and early forties, I'm the oldest mother of a kindergartner I know. I go to the PTA meetings, look at the young men and women with peach fuzz on their faces, and think: they're too darn young.

I have one couple my age who I hang out with on occasion, and their children are all through college. The mother of DG's best friend, who considers herself to be too old for leggings (I didn't know they came with an age limit, and this woman hasn't hit it yet) without a mid-thigh tunic over them, was born the year I graduated from high school (1979). We're friends, but our lives diverge.

The guys I've dated (no-one since Sicko, this last spring, but I'm drawing on five years of experience) are generally my age or older, although some have not been. They all seem to have kids who are grown or no kids at all. Most men in their late forties and early fifties are not parents of elementary school age children.

My two best friends here (and my best friend in Europe, Francesca), Innana and SNV have no children. At my knitting group (yeah, yeah), there are grandmothers and hip young singles. There's one other mother with kids: a home schooler of about my age with FIVE children.

People are drawn to one another by shared experiences, and I do have plenty of people in my life -- wonderful neighbors, great friends, a good life, but I really feel out of pace with everyone. Most of my high school classmates are seeing their children into and through college. The other parents I know are children to me. Not really, I see them as adults, but the seem so darn young.

This isn't complaining -- nothing wrong, just not quite in synch with the rest of the world.

October 9, 2010

Firewood

I love the crispness in the air when I get up in the morning in fall. Especially after the soggy, sticky, moist, limp dishragness of summer. And in my current place, I have a fireplace that works, and this morning, before work (yeah, I'm working today) I'm bopping over to friends to assist them in clearing away the wood from a tree that they had to take down last year. Firewood. Yes, I'm incredibly helpful. What a giving person. Amazing how this works in my favor. And their backyard gets cleaned out.

Also, the girls love fires in the fireplace and toasting marshmallows. All good.