Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Jacelyn's Daisy troop had a tea party last night. The girls were told they could wear whatever they wanted to wear, and to bring a teacup. Well. The fashion was amazing, as was the variety of teacups. There were a couple of girls in church-type clothes, one in a little plaid suit with boots on. There were a couple of party dresses, one American Girl Doll dress, and one girl had on pajamas. And Jacelyn---well. She had on a white Barbie wedding gown, with so much tulle that we could barely fit her into her car seat. With this bustled gown she wore glittery green fairy wings (worn upside down, so that they protuded a good two feet above her head), a headband of green and yellow flowers with pearls, and green ballet slippers (there was a moment of great indecision and agonizing as to whether she should wear the green ballet slippers, or the red, sequin encrusted Mary Janes). To this ensemble she added a pink feather boa and a glittery tiara dripping with huge fake gems. "I'm a fairy" she told me, as she checked herself out in the mirror. Indeed.
That's all for now. I have another post brewing somewhere in my mind, but I don't want to go there right now. Maybe later.
Monday, January 29, 2007
The weekend was fun. Saturday Jacelyn and I vegged out on the sofa and watched movies, and did some science experiments (cleaned some pennies with lemon juice, made our own plastic out of milk and vinegar). Sunday we made pizza from scratch. And when I say scratch, I mean scratch, dammit. Down to the crust - we made our own pizza crusts. I had never made any type of bread, like worked with yeast or anything, and I was fairly nervous, but it went well. I think I was just as excited and amazed as Jacelyn when we went back and saw the dough had indeed doubled in size like it was supposed to.
That's about it. Busy week this week - it's catholic schools week. Tuesday is Parent Luncheon Day. Thursday is bring a friend to school day, but Jacelyn doesn't really have any friends outside school so we won't be participating in that. Friday is a teacher luncheon, and I was asked to help watch the kids in the classroom while the teachers have lunch. Ha! I'm actually excited. Tomorrow night her Daisy troop is having a tea party, and the girls can dress up and bring their favorite teacup. That also seems promising. Brian will be in Thursday through Saturday (leaving just before my birthday, how convenient). Saturday night is the annual family gathering at Golden Corral. That's always enjoyable - seeing people you vaguely recognize whose names you can't remember but of course they remember you, and then trying to have a coherent conversation with those people while not letting on that you aren't even certain that you are related, much less what their name might be. I end up saying things like, "So how is...... everybody?" and then, once I have abandoned all pretense, I say things like, "What's your name again and how are we related?".
Oh, and once I get my birthday money, I'm totally buying a banjo. Sweet! Talk to y'all later!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
I passed up the audio books and went straight for the cookbooks. I picked up a diabetic cookbook while I was there, and then moved on to Hobbies, where I checked out some books on photography but didn't buy, and then to Arts, where I searched for a book on various painting styles and eras (for Jacelyn) but couldn't find one. I scoured the children's books and found a wonderfully illustrated book about how trees grow, which was a super-bonus because Jacelyn and I had been talking about that in the car just that morning. I checked out the Religious Section, which should be renamed the "Left Behind and Purpose Driven Life" section, since that was almost all that was in it, and then moved along to Classics. I was looking for a new John Irving, since I enjoyed 'Hotel New Hampshire' so much (thanks, Mary!), but they only had two of his books, one which was very cheap but also disgustingly filthy, and one that was pristine but overpriced. After some more browsing I ended up with a copy of 'The Great Gatsby' for a whopping $1.25. At this point I notice Michelle, who has been following me around for at least twenty minutes now, bored out of her skull. Oops. Avid readers and non-readers should never end up together in a bookstore, especially a poorly organized used bookstore, unless they came in separate cars. So we left.
We ended up at Wal-Mart, where I bought Jacelyn two more first reader books and some word recognition flash cards. I also picked up a copy of 'Hoot' (Carl Hiaasen) for myself. I have read Carl Hiaasen before, and he has the eccentricities of full-time Florida living down. I mean, really. His writing isn't the best, but he can be funny, and he gets being a Floridian: tourists, over development, environmental issues, hurricanes. I first heard about 'Hoot' at Brentwood Middle School, where the whole school was reading it. When I saw that I was alarmed - the last book of his I read was about a hurricane, and involved insurance fraud, prostitution, and some other things that middle schoolers really shouldn't be reading about. But thus far, 'Hoot' has turned out to be pretty good. It is a children's book, aimed at tweens, I think, but it is still not a bad read, and I love the concept and the fact that he's trying to tell these kids that they can make a difference, if they try.
I recently finished off 'The Da Vince Code', and well....I don't know what I think of it. It was an OK movie, it was an OK book. I am interested to know (yet too lazy to find out) what of the information presented is fact and what is fiction. I have been interested in learning more about the Knights Templar, since first hearing about them years ago, so I might pursue that a little further.
On a side note, yesterday morning Michelle and I met up with our Mary Kay consultant and her 'Sales Director'. Our consultant is supposed to be practicing her interview technique, and we were the guinea pigs. We met up at a coffee shop, where the very perky sales director (like, crazily perky, like annoyingly perky, like on some sort of drug perky) conducted the whole thing. As soon as I could appropriately do so, I explained that, while I am certain Mary Kay is a wonderful opportunity and works wonders for some people, it is not for me and I have no interest in selling.
At a later point in the interview, Mrs. Perky looks at me and says, "If you were going to sell Mary Kay, and I know you aren't, but if you were going to, what would hold you back?". I answered: "I'm lazy." It was the best answer I could come up with on short notice and is partially true. Mrs. Perky just nodded and started talking about how "some people need other people to tell them what to do" and how "like you've just said about yourself, some people just can't self-motivate, not even for the sake of their child". What, bitch? I self-motivate for my child all the time. Different strokes for different folks. And all because of an answer to a hypothetical question about something I have no interest in doing. I have nothing against the Mary Kay people, if it works for them, great. I use Mary Kay products. But just because I choose not to sell it does not make me a bad mother. Them's fightin' words. Urg!
Friday, January 19, 2007
The last week or so, I have changed up our bedtime reading. I will read her one or two books, and then she will read me one of her first reader books. I told her teacher this, thanking her for what she does and whatnot, but not much was made of it. I think she might not have believed me, but that's ok. Every parent thinks their child is a genius, and some of us are prone to exaggeration.
Yesterday I was sitting in the carpool line, waiting for one of the aides to bring Jacelyn to the car. Instead of an aide, Jacelyn's teacher comes bounding out to the car, and you can tell that she's excited about something. She opens the door and starts putting Jacelyn in, and tells me that Jacelyn read out loud, by herself, to the class. She is apparently one of the first kids to do this. She got a certificate for being an early reader, and she got to get a toy out of the prize box (she chose a plastic lizard). Jacelyn was clutching a Dick and Jane collection in her hands, the book she read out of. "She read 21 pages of this book to the class by herself!" Mrs. Myers announced proudly. She let Jacelyn borrow the book to read to us. She is also going to read for the principal, Sister Patricia, today.
I was so proud. I sniffled a little bit, I admit it. I told Jacelyn I would buy her that book if she wanted me to. I think Sunday I am going to take her to the bookstore and let her pick out a few new things. I want to encourage her to be a reader. Like Stephen King says, anyone can talk about the weather, but as a general rule readers can go on from there.
We are going to keep doing what we're doing - one or two stories from me every night, and then one from her. We have been talking lately about buying the first Harry Potter in paperback and reading a chapter of that each night. She's all for the idea, even after I told her there were no pictures.
She's doing so well, and I am so proud of her. Her class has actually had homework lately, although it's not called homework. Generally it's a writing worksheet, and her teacher writes at the top "For Practice at Home. Please return". I'm cool with it, though. I think they are prepping them for kindergarten, because the kindergarten gets 15-30 minutes of homework daily (except for Friday - Sister doesn't let the teachers assign homework on Fridays). I'm excited for her.
That's it. I hope everyone enjoyed the deluge of pictures I put up yesterday. Since I was at work until almost 10:00pm, I had time. I hate meetings. I clocked in yesterday at 7:53am, took probably a two hour lunch to pick up Jacelyn and drop her at home, then did some stuff around the house, came back to work, and clocked out at 9:48pm. I'm tired!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Last night Jacelyn and I sat down with the prize booklet and she set a goal for herself, based on the prizes that she wants. Jacelyn's goal: 145 boxes of cookies. Yikes! And I'm going to have her do a lot of it. Instead of me just bringing the order form to work, I'm going to bring her up to work after school one day so SHE can ask people to buy cookies (besides, she's way cuter than me).
We are going to make a list of people she can ask to buy cookies. And once we start selling them, we are going to go over the number of boxes she has sold every couple of days or so: "Ok, you have sold 59 boxes so far, so that means you need to sell another 86 to reach your goal. How do you think we can do that?". That might sound goofy, but I really want her to learn something from all this. I explained to her last night that if she sells that many boxes that will be over $500 in cookies, and to think how much good that the girl scouts can do with that money. Some of it goes to the local council, for camp scholarships and the like, and the rest of it goes directly to the troop. We are going to Camp Kolomoki in May, the same camp Jen and I went to when we were girl scouts. The cookie money helps to pay for that. Think of it that way - when you buy cookies, you are putting Jacelyn and I one step closer to spending some quality time together.
So....if you are in the area, I know an adorable little girl who will be selling girl scout cookies as of 9:00am on Friday. All the standards are there, along with a newer "Thanks-a-Lot" cookie, and the brand new "Lemonades". There is also a low fat oatmeal type of cookie for those dieters out there. I'll be seeing you all (or most of you, anyway) very soon. With my Daisy and her cookie order form in tow. Be prepared!
By the way: If you sell 800 boxes of cookies, you get an Ipod. The really tiny nifty ones. And a gift card to some undisclosed place in some undisclosed amount. In the 750 cookie range you get a MP3 player and a camp scholarship. To one of the big, really nice camps. We didn't get anything but patches when I was a girl scout! Your patch said the approximate number of boxes you had sold, but that was it. None of this fancy t-shirt, fluffy pen, princess lamp, gym bag stuff. Hmmph.
- The company. Nikki is a dear, dear wonderful person whom I love.
- The meat loaf sandwich at Cracker Barrel.
- The Super Target with the parking garage. SWEET!
- J.Alexander's, a restaurant. The prime rib sandwich is what heaven must be like, I think.
- Seeing my high school band director.
- The good coffee at the hotel.
- The linens at the hotel. 500 thread count sheets and down pillows and comforters. Ahhh.
- The crew team banners painted on the walls along the bay. "Rowing Like We Stole Something" was my favorite, although "Rough, Tough and Quaker" was a close second.
- The exhibits - very educational.
- The cute valets who would throw themselves in front of traffic to open your door for you when you pulled up into the motorcourt.
- Downtown Tampa in general. Very pedestrian friendly, tons of cultural stuff, good restaurants. I enjoyed it, although I didn't get to see as much of it as I would have liked.
- Listening in on conversations. Not in a creepy, eavesdropping kind of way, but in a thoughtfully included kind of way. This was how I learned the most, was by lurking around the edges of conversations. With directors, elementary music teachers, parents. Very enlightening.
- The bag of 60 fund raising lollipops I bought to bring back to the Bernardos. SO GOOD. SO CHEAP. SO GOOD.
- The hand carved, hand painted, bird shaped whistle I bought for Jacelyn at one of the exhibits. Makes a myriad of different noises, depending on how hard or soft you blow and which hole you cover. And if you put water in it? Forget it. It actually warbles like a bird. Last night, in the tub, Jacelyn played with it, and there were a couple of moments that had us in tears we were laughing so hard. She actually shrieked with joy at one point. It was all fun and games until she over-filled it, and then when she attempted to blow it water shot straight up her nose. I was amused, she was not. Funny stuff.
- The five cheese rigatoni with grilled chicken at Olive Garden. Sensing a food theme?
- The Sonare TRC-800 trumpet with the Blackburn leadpipe. I fell in love with this horn. The thing is so heavy it could kill someone, and has the most beautiful sound. A pro model horn. From the Powell-Sonare people, who have the flute thing down, so why not a trumpet? I was dubious when I saw them, but as soon as I played them I was smitten. Smitten! And haven't really been able to stop talking about it. Even now.
- Listening to the double reed and low clarinet re-chairs for the middle school honor band. It doesn't sound like it would be a high point, but it was just funny. There a passage from one of the songs that they had to play, a rather simple rhythm in 6/8 time, and every single one of the fifteen or so kids we heard played it differently. That is obviously because 6/8 is not a real time signature (TX Jen, make Jen tell you about that - you will find it amusing).
- Missing our exit off 275 and getting briefly lost in a less than nice area of downtown Tampa. Ack!
- The elevators in the hotel. This is a five star hotel, with probably four hundred rooms, and a ton of people checking in with luggage, and children with enormous cases, and they only had one teeny elevator that was actually operational. The other teeny elevator was broken. And later, both were out of service for an hour or so. And did I mention small? These elevators would be uncomfortably crowded with four people in them, and that's just people, that's not a bell cart, or luggage, or cello cases. Ridiculous, really.
- The orchestra kids in the room next door practicing until eleven o'clock at night. I don't think I have to add anything to that. Middle school orchestra students (granted, all-state caliber middle school, but middle school nonetheless).
- The chucks of plastic from the lid of a strawberry container that ended up in the bottom of my margarita. I was poking at the last couple of sips with a straw and talking, getting ready to bottom's up the whole thing, when I noticed these big chunks of plastic floating around. Choking hazard, anyone? The manager tried to pass it off as straw paper, until I handed him one. "Oh" he said. Oh, indeed.
- The choral students that were sitting near us at Chili's one night. There was a table of about 25 people, about 8 of which were choral students and their teacher. They sang everything. I felt like I had wandered into some bizarre staging of 'Evita'. They sang their order to the server, they sang while they were waiting for their food, they sang conversation to each other. We decided that people like them give music students a bad name.
- The sleeper sofa in the second room we were in. UNCOMFORTABLE.
- Having to leave.
It was fun, I enjoyed myself. I learned a lot and am glad I went. I had never pictured Tampa as a tourist destination (except as someplace to stay to get to Busch Gardens) but it is definitely someplace I would go again.
On a side note, it's funny that as a native Floridian, even when you are not in your home city, even though you are, basically, a tourist, you still can summon up that disdain for tourists. On our second day, the weather was rather brisk. The high for the day was in the low 60's. There was a pretty good breeze, and I had on long pants and a sweater. There were some idiots lounging by the pool in bathing suits. I stood out on the balcony and noticed them and scoffed. And then they actually went swimming! In the pool! In January! I was horrified. For them, by them.
That was my trip in a nutshell. I'm glad(ish) to be back, and am trying to get back into the swing of things. Duty calls. And has left multiple messages and wants me to call back, so I'm going to go do that. Talk to y'all later!
Monday, January 15, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
but mommy,"....and then she paused, dramatically gasping for air and choking back sobs...."I don't like these socks". What? And that was the first thing she said when I woke her up. All morning, she was like that. And slow, slow, slow. Just in the time it took her to eat one small waffle (less the two or three bites that I took - that's the mommy tax - known more commonly as the french fry tax - and applies to anything I am preparing for her or have purchased for her), I: ate a bagel, drank a cup of coffee, made her bed and picked up her room, made my bed and picked up my room, took a shower and got dressed, started the car and got the ice off the windshield, put an ice pack in her lunchbox and put it into her backpack, and then put her backpack and my purse in the car. If I said it once, I said it one hundred gazillion times this morning: "Jacelyn, if you don't hurry, we are going to be late".
I had laid her clothes out, and asked her if she would get dressed while I did the dishes. She begrudgingly agreed and then proceeded to stand in front of the television. "Get dressed " I commanded, from my vantage point at the sink. "If you don't hurry we are going to be late". I am always amazed by the ability of dishes to seemingly reproduce in great number while sitting idly in the sink. I had a bagel for breakfast, plain, and didn't even use a plate. She had a waffle, but that doesn't require much preparation. There were four spoons, two knives, two cups, her plate, and two coffee mugs. WTF? I washed dishes and barked orders into the living room, where it seemed Jacelyn had been stricken deaf, or at least could only hear at the frequency of 'Ed, Edd, & Eddie'. I paused while washing the coffee pot and stomped into the living room, turning off the TV and leaving the remote slightly soapy. She protested and lunged for the remote, I put the remote on top of the TV (and then forgot to move it back down again, which will prompt a panicky phone call from my MIL later: "Val, I can't find the remote. You might have to come home"). I said again, "If you don't hurry, we are going to be late".
I returned to the dishes, leaving my cranky daughter to dress. She pulled her nightgown up over her head but not off it and then proceeded to bumble around and yell, "I'm stuck! My head is too big and I'm stuck and I can't see HHHEEEELLLLPPPP!", all the while staggering around with her arms out in front of her like some zombie, and then walked straight into a wall. I did what any caring, loving mother would do: laughed out loud. She staggered into the kitchen and I yanked the nightgown off of her head. She sniveled and returned to living room, where she did the same thing while putting on her shirt: "I'm stuck and I can't see HHHEEEE...." was as far as she got before I pulled the shirt down the rest of the way and sent her in to finish dressing. I threw the last clean dish into the drainer at 7:28 (we have to leave the house by 7:30 to be at school on time). Jacelyn was standing by the sofa, picking her nose.
I marched into the living room and stuffed Jacelyn into her clothes. She considered protesting the way I rolled her sweatshirt sleeves up but thought better of it. I got her into her shoes and threw her hair into a hasty ponytail, which I will hear about later: "Her hair looked horrible, what did you do?". I sent her off to wait by the door, threw her robe and blanket into her room and laid out her karate uniform for later, and then found her standing in the kitchen in front of the open fridge. "OUT!" I ordered. We were in the car by 7:36. Damn it.
I sped as much as I dared. Jacelyn, suddenly contrite and very sanctimonious, was on my side: "That guy is going to make us late if he doesn't go faster, huh mommy" she would say. We pulled into the parking lot just as the bell rang, meaning I had to park and walk her up. I did so in a very hasty manner, and gently nudged her into the hands of her room assistant. And what did I hear her say as I walked back to the car? "I'm sorry, Mrs. May, my mommy made me late".
Yo, I am so out. Y'all have fun and be careful and I'll blog when I get back about the fantastic, interesting, educational, refreshing time I had.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I am leaving Wednesday morning, bound for Tampa and the FMEA conference. How did I, as an employee of music retail, end up going to a music educator's conference? Simple: Good friend Nikki is a local band director. Nikki is going to Tampa, and wanted someone to go with. Nikki surreptiously calls and speaks with my boss, who agrees to let me attend. Nikki purchases entrance for me as a Christmas gift. And now, here I am, two days away from a four day trip to Tampa. Gasp! I will spend Wednesday through Saturday night away from my daughter (boo) and my husband and in-laws (yay!). I will miss Jacelyn. Yeah, that's about it.
I have been on an emotional roller coaster about this trip. At first I was curious and somewhat excited, then I was filled with dread and woe. Then I realized everything I needed to get accomplished, both at home and at work, to accomodate a four-day absence and became very grumbly. Then, as I was getting things done I was very, very grumbly, but the more I get done the better I feel. I realized yesterday that going out of town has forced me to take care of things that have been needing my attention for quite some time (mostly cleaning and organization, both at home and at work). And not only am I getting things accomplished, but they will be in order when I get back. And serving a duel function, in that the more that I do (and I've done a lot) the more ready I am to get the hell out of town.
Brian actually took the four days off from work (because I asked him to), and will be responsible for Jacelyn while I'm away. I would say it's a good opportunity for him to walk in my shoes for a few days, but it won't be. His sister is going to come over every morning (she will be using my car while I'm away) and do Jacelyn's hair. His mother will make sure that both he and Jacelyn are up, and that she eats breakfast. He won't have to added stress of trying to get himself ready for work while simultaneously prodding a four-year old into eating and dressing in a timely manner. I'm willing to bet his mother will get Jacelyn up and ready and let him sleep until the last possible minute. I'm frustrated that he won't have to actually see what I go through on a day-to-day basis, but gratified by the fact that it will take three people (him, his mother, his sister) to do what I do alone on a daily basis. I'm a freaking superhero! Yeah!
On a side note, I got a digital camera and have been a little shutterbug with it lately. Once I buy batteries, I will put up some pictures. You will all rue the day I received that camera, as you will now be privy to...well, whatever I feel like showing you. Ha!
So, like the title says, yo, I'm out. I will be careful, and hopefully I will have fun, and hopefully it will be refreshing and educational and whatnot. Later!