Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a baker's dozen

I’ll have my first teenager in… 24 days. He’s not there yet, but I see the changes in his friends. The babyish curves on the boys' faces are gone, replaced by angles. I hear voices of men in my house when they come over and I still startle. It scares me because it means the end of the tunnel exists. As tough as it is doing this parenting thing, I don’t want it to end either.

I’ve got to say, I adore the stage my about-to-be-a-teenager is in. I even like his brother at ten. Each stage is so fun to greet and get to know. Each might be better than the last. But also, each day for work I go to a childcare center which includes babies. And I can borrow a baby anytime I need! Right now I’m in a toddler infatuation stage and I’ve got a cluster of barely-twos who I adore. I can give them back when they stink or fuss but when they want to climb on me and ask for tickles? I’m there.

Last week was spring break for us and we went to Florida to see family and spend time at the beach. After a great visit to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, we went out to eat at a Spanish tapas restaurant for "Tapas Tuesday!" (If you ever find yourself there, it was called Ceviche.) While I had little doubt that an evening of cocktails and appetizers would disappoint my boys, I had a great time watching them. There was nothing on the tapas menu that they wouldn't try. (Never had mussels? Well, have a mussel.) We sat for two hours eating and talking. And the conversation was good. It was truly a relaxing and fun evening out.

Pook spent some time on his electronic, pocket-sized distraction with either games or texts to friends back home, but he put it away for family times. He cooperated on sand castles, tested the still-cold waters of the Gulf, screamed on roller coasters at Busch Gardens, and harassed Bug just enough to remind his brother that he was still around.

One night he woke me, sometime after midnight, to tell me that he couldn't sleep. Had he not been a good sleeper as an infant, I'd probably have thrown a shoe at him. But this insomnia just started this past fall and doesn't happen often, so I sat with him, rubbed his back, kissed his soft cheek goodnight once again, turned the thermostat down a notch, and went back to bed. (To lay awake for hours thinking it was a mistake to have not thrown the shoe.)  The next morning I gave him a hug and realized I couldn't get my chin on the top of his head any more.  He'd grown overnight.

So he's still sweet, he's still sane, he's getting taller by the minute, and I guess I'm as prepared for a teen as I can be.  Happy Not Yet Birthday Pook.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

storytime by Bug, fourth grade language arts

Sucked Back in Time
by Bug

     "Houston, We have a problem." They were aboard the Explorer, a spacecraft on it's way to Pluto. This was the year 3264. The engines had cut a long time ago, and they were hurtling through space at speeds of 986,734,976 miles per hour. In just a few days, Captain John Richards, and his crew, Nathan Brown, Jimmy Johnson, and Mike Samson would reach their destination. The radio cut in.

     "What is the problem? over."

     "We are exelorating too fast. The speedometer is rapidly climbing, and we have no way to induce drag!"

     "We can't do anything for you! We wouldn't be able to reach you!"

     Pluto began to come into view, but they were going too fast. The hurtled past pluto, and out of the solar system. Suddenly, the radio cut. They were on their own.

     The Explorer started to ignite from the sheer speed. The craft was burning up. Suddenly, the ship was sucked into a worm hole.

Part 2
     The crew of the Explorer woke up in a spaceship. A different spaceship, but still a spaceship. This spaceship was Apollo 11, and the year was 1969. The captain of this spacecraft was Neil Armstrong. If everything went right, then his crew would be the first people to ever set foot on the moon. Unfortunately, not everything went right. Four spacemen in very strange clothes apeared inside their craft. Unconscious. Two of them were badly burned, at it was all they could do to help them. The hopes of the whole world were begining to collapse.

     As the queerly dressed people woke up, the crew of Apollo 11 was terrified. They had no idea who these people were, though they had name tags. The person that appeared to be the captain said, "Where--"

     "You are aboard the Apollo 11, we were scheduled to land on the moon later today, but we may have to change plans, because you people came!"


     "I don't know where you're from, I Just know this is 1969."



     "Are you sure this isn't 3264?"



     "Well, it's awfully crowded here, so we'll have to get out on the moon pretty soon. We have some extra space suits in the cargo hold, they're only for emergencys, but this appears to be an emergency."

     "The Moon is in view!", said Buzz Aldrin. he had been quiet the whole time.

     "Eject the parachutes! Ready the landing gear!

     The crew landed on the moon with a thump. They landed on the dark side of the moon.

     What happened next went by in a blur. An alien empire took them in. Neil Armstrong and his crew were able to return home succesfully, thanks to that alien technology. John Richards and his crew were also able to return home, with a great story to tell, thanks to a portal that the Gronks made just for them.

     As they got home, they realized that Nathan was still clinging to some wreckage of their spaceship.

     "What an adventure," Jimmy said.

The End

spelling/grammar  -3
You wrote an adventurous story! 
I really enjoyed 
reading it. You have 
great "voice" in your 
writing. Super work!  


Monday, March 17, 2014

will you eat them here, or there?

Happy Saint Paddy's Day to all. We had Green Eggs and Ham for dinner tonight. I started with this recipe, but I'm a bit prone to making changes. I think I doubled the bread b/c I had some nice Challah that was already stale, and so I also used some milk to be sure the bread would soften. I know I added extra spinach, just 'cause. I probably put more cheese on it too, come to think of it. Oh, and I skipped the seasoning salt and put salt, pepper and nutmeg in instead. But I stuck to just eight eggs because CD is out tonight and it only needs to feed three of us. Other than that, (!) this is the recipe I used.  And it is very green.


  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
  • 6 ozs ham (chopped)
  • 1 cup bread (cubes)
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese (shredded)  

So, what I really cooked was probably closer to this:

Green Eggs and Ham breakfast casserole

  • 5 slices thick challah bread, torn into bits
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 eggs, beaten 
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 oz ham cubes (could have gone with more, had I had more)
  • 2 cups shredded swiss cheese
It sat for about an hour before cooking to let the bread get good and sogged. Then it baked for 30 minutes and was lovely and green and filling. We ate about half of it. We'll have it for breakfast another morning.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

under a rock

I shelter my children under a rock. But that rock is getting too small. They barely fit under it. Sometimes life splashes on them. Sometimes life rains on them.

It could be that the rock is the same size, but my children are bigger. But they're not that big!

I am happy to have been raised naive. I had plenty of time to learn about The Real World as I became an adult.  I want the same sheltered life for my own kids.

I received a text from Pook today, just as school was getting out:

Maybe I over-reacted.

First of all, I saw 'lockdown' and 'gun' and totally missed that it was the high school, not his school. Second, I heard quite soon that it was a suspended student with a 'cache' of guns who had hidden them under the bleachers with intent to sell them. (He had two loaded guns on his person.) Third, by the time I heard about it, the kid was already in custody.

Over-reacted. Under-reacted. Reacted.  I don't want that to be the issue. How I act when there is a gun near my child's school is not the point. The point is that I have to react at all.

At dinner I asked Pook how he felt about it. He barely understood why I'd ask. "It was just a lockdown. Nothing happened."

I grew up knowing fire drills and tornado drills. We did not have lockdown drills.

I hear about a school shooting and I turn away. I don't turn on news on those days. I don't want to know anything more than "It wasn't here." I know the issue, I have strong anti-gun feelings, and knowing the sordid details just upsets me.

We never watch TV news anyway, so that isn't a concern. But sometimes I listen to news on public radio while I cook.  We almost always listen in the morning. There are times that either CD or I have shut off the radio when something dreadful has happened and we don't want to get into a discussion with the kids about it.  I had no intention of telling them about the Newtown, CT incident until our church said that they would "help children process recent events" and I decided it was better that they not find out in a group setting.

His principal wrote, after a different gun event in Atlanta, "the real things that matter are you and your family. Are they safe? Are they happy? Are they healthy? If you can answer "yes" to those three questions, then all is right with your world, and all the other problems of life will work themselves out. Slow down. Count your blessings. Be thankful. Be in the moment and breathe. Make it a great day or not. The choice is always yours."

Yes, I get it. But I don't want to have to get it. I don't want to have to count my blessings when not every parent can easily do so. I want for it to just. not. happen.

Another blogger I follow said, ages ago, after yet another tragedy, "I wish I could send my kids to school wearing a button that says, 'No, I don't know. Please don't tell me.' Maybe it's pure wishful thinking that I can keep them naive even a few days longer. A single day. An hour."


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


This has been a really tough winter already. Right now, Atlanta is under a Severe Winter Storm Warning. But, if I look carefully, there are signs of life in my gardens. There may also be some significant deaths, but we'll have to wait and see.

One morning last week, I came downstairs and peeked out the window into the front yard. This is what I love most about living in Georgia. (above, last week; below, this week)

Our groundhog (Beauregard Lee) expects us to see spring within six weeks. We always do. We see glimmers every February and I begin to breathe again.

I set out to look for more signs of optimism in my garden.

There are always the winter bloomers to count on down here. The hellebores didn't miss a beat. I will continue to spread them around until I can see them from every window.

And, Daphne. Wonderful, temperamental, fragile, fabulous Winter Daphne. If she can get just a few more days of sunshine, the whole neighborhood will smell her sweet scent.

Flowering Quince is another of my cold weather saviors. It will pop out first of all the spring bloomers. I'll know we're safe from the threat of an eternal winter if the Quince blooms.

So, while my grand plan to have fresh swiss chard has not come to pass, I'll cut some branches of Quince to bring inside to cheer me up and I'll try again next year.

swiss chard: not dead, but not happy