Tuesday, April 24, 2012

somewhere in the middle

Oh, dear Pook. Sometimes I just want a reaction from you. I want you to care about something more than Lego or what your brother doesn't want you to want. Have an opinion. Have a strong opinion.

Worry a little bit (not too much) about an upcoming test. Be excited and proud of the awards and honors given to you. Care a little bit (not too much) about the kids around you in the fifth grade as you all come to an end of elementary school. Be interested in the lives of your friends. Tell me about your school day, not just the events during the day but also how they make you feel. Find what makes each day special.

Move ahead in life faster (when I'm behind you on the stairs). Eat up! You are often just starting as the rest of the family finishes, and your food gets cold. (Metaphorically) eat your cake first; sometimes the party starts before you notice. Remember what it feels like to ride your bike down a hill fast, with the wind in your face.
Oh, dear Bug. Sometimes I just want for you to relax. I want you to let things just go and not get all caught up in each injustice and each infraction on the part of your brother. Not everything matters.

The homework isn't really that important. Don't worry about making an error or not having time to finish it. Knowing the concepts is what matters to me. Try your best and don't fret if it isn't perfect. Burying your head and saying that everything is too hard won't have you prepared for the recital. You're going to do great. (But if you do mess up, it will still be ok.)

Your friends like you and respect you. Be appreciative of them and don't worry if today one of them plays with someone else. They'll be back tomorrow. Slow down, dude! Take the volume down a notch-- pianissimo! Chew your food so you can enjoy the flavors which you love so much. Take time to smell the flowers and feel the sun on your face.


Your brother can be your friend. He doesn't tick the same way that you tick. While he never seems to  understand you, it doesn't mean that you're that different. You really have lots in common. He loves you in his own way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

can't stop

I'm hopeless this time of year.  I buy one new plant, then seven.  I walk up the driveway and find myself pulling weeds. I didn't remember that I'd put Soloman's Seal over there... so I grab the shovel to move it.  I notice that should put some mulch around that strawberry plant...so I head for a bucket.  I reach to pull out an oak tree seedling (oh, there are lots!) and then a redbud, and then a tulip poplar.  I yank out a few dozen pine seedlings. My yard would revert to a forest if I allowed.  I can't leave it alone.

The weather is perfect, the soil is slightly moist from recent rain and everything is growing. Most blooms are finished with their first spring shout out, but blooming columbine is everywhere this year. I'd gone to the mailbox last spring and seen that the plants had ripe seeds.  I pushed away mulch to sprinkle them around.

See? It pays off, all this tinkering.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I'd thought the "Spring Fling" was optional, in the don't-bother-with-it category, but then realized I was expected to attend if I was able. After all, the charity it was benefiting was my employer.  So I asked around a bit about dress code expectations- party dress, not too formal. I spent one morning trying on all the dresses in my closet that I never wear. I shopped around Atlanta for a new dress and found nada. The styles weren't working on me.  I found a casual skirt I could wear on Easter, for something new, but settled on my old little black dress for the gala.  It was simple- my black slingbacks are about the most comfortable shoes I own, so not buying a dress also saved me from having to buy new shoes that I'd seldom wear and probably not find comfortable.

Then Wednesday evening I got sick to my stomach. Although Thursday I went to work, I began to feel lousy by the end of the day.  Friday I couldn't decide if I felt well enough to attend the gala or if I even wanted to feel well enough.  I'd mentioned feeling poorly to a few people at work, partially to explain myself on Thursday, but also realizing that I was setting up an alibi in case I wimped out and decided to skip it. 

I ate a bit of food Friday which went down fine but didn't revive me.  When I stopped working on reports at one I warmed up some leftover lentils to eat.  They were good and left me feeling a little more energetic. The final deciding factor would then be the shower. If I finished it feeling drained and tired, I'd have the excuse to skip the gala- clearly sick. If I felt well, I'd call around and try to find someone to drive with.

I showered, shaved, lotioned... and felt well.  Patty, who lived near me was happy to share the ride, but wanted to leave early. Perfect. Just a matter of psyching myself into being excited about the party.  And part of me was. There are some very fun women who fit the "Party Girl" label who I knew would drag me onto the dance floor if I so much as said "hi.'  Having a good time would be a decision, not a reaction.

The other part of me dreaded looking old, dumpy, under/over-dressed, and most of all, having to stand around while other people socialized, but not knowing many people myself. The problem with teachers socializing outside of school is that we seldom get a chance to socialize during the day,  since we're always with kids. There are a handful I enjoy chatting with for the few minutes we have each day and I've helped in many of the classrooms, but I don't know anyone I work with very well.

I read through the auction book and pointed out a few items to CD. No, I wouldn't bid on the trip to Tuscany (starting bid $5000) but what about the week in Myrtle Beach (starting bid $450)?  What was a Braves baseball package worth, with either club seats or front row seats? He wanted the reverse of a charity auction, where instead of bidding up the price, we'd bargain the price down.   I told CD that he was cheap and that I loved him and that I might bid on things... but conservatively.

I put on my little black dress. Bug suggested that maybe I needed something under it. (Maybe a turtleneck? I'm not sure what he was intending.) Pook brought up the possibility that everyone else might be in jeans and sweatshirts. (Thanks, kids.)

We arrived to a cheerful crowd near an open bar.  They were serving pink "Springtinis."  "Um, ginger ale please." The first people I saw were the Pope's parents. Since I email his mom every school day, I know her as well as any co-workers. I enjoyed talking with his parents, but it kept veering into shop talk and the Pope's school progress so I took an opportunity to move on.

This was a move which didn't fare well as I then spent the next ten minutes floating without finding a soul I recognized.  Finally familiar faces walked in and I latched on. I spent most of the evening near them. It didn't matter if we had anything to talk about anyway; the music was much too loud for talking. We went for food, ate some (awesome) shrimp and grits, and more ginger ale since diligent wait-staff had cleared mine away.

We were reminded to look at the silent auction items around the room, so I did.  My search for the Myrtle Beach paper revealed a still-empty auction form. I put down the starting bid of $450 and decided that our family would have our summer plans set by the end of the evening. (I also bid $65 for a $150 gift certificate to the World of Beer, but since I don't know if I won or not, don't tell CD.)

I picked up a Springtini, discovered they were being very liberal with the booze, and never had more than a few sips. The shrimp had not been a great idea for my stomach and grapefruit juice and vodka were not going to help. The "Party Girls" were dancing, as I expected, so I put in one dance before the band stopped for some auction action.

Patty came to see if I was ready to leave at that point and I decided I might as well. My stomach was not misbehaving, but not well either. We slipped out, mostly unnoticed. I was a bit disappointed- an open bar on a lovely night and I wasn't drinking or dancing. But there's always next year. And there might be Myrtle Beach.