Category: Miss Ma’am


That tone of sheer frustration in your partner’s voice as she tells you that the child has left wet laundry for four days in the new washing machine…yeah, that sucks. The child is already in mega-trouble anyway, and this is just icing on the “Kero not taking personal responsibility” cake. I get that some of that is her age, and we do make allowances for some of it, but that certainly does not give her blanket permission to do nothing.

The current plan of action is a new one for us that hopefully will have results soon. While yesterday she did not do EVERYTHING that she was supposed to do (and she still refuses to come clean about what she was doing Friday while Rin and I had appointments that ended up including an unexpected trip to the hospital for more ankle x-rays which is irritating as all hell, because we’re pretty sure the answer is “fooling around with toys and pretty much anything but homework” as opposed to something egregious that might be considered “worth” lying about) she actually did do things she knows she is supposed to do every day without us coming behind her to remind her. This tells me that she is perfectly capable of doing so which means that the allowances we were making for her were largely unnecessary and have resulted in her being lazy because she can.

Hopefully, she will decide to be honest today (and perhaps try to have the conversation before bedtime unlike last night). I’d really like things to get back to normal and for her to not be in major trouble because it certainly does not make me happy, but I’m not holding out too much hope given how yesterday went in that regard. *sighs* Some days, I want to box her tween ears. The end goal of the current plan of action is Kero realizing that she needs to take responsibility for herself and her actions, including doing a GOOD job with her chores and her schoolwork, but getting to that goal might drive me nuts. I know we’ve made the right choice in what we are doing, but I’m just not happy about it because I HATE her being in trouble with a fiery passion. I know it is a part of mommyhood and I know it is best for her because obviously letting her get away with slacker work, lying, and no personal responsibility is good for no one, especially her, but I still hate, hate, hate it. It makes ME cranky and I feel like a big, mean jerk even when it is my job to be a big, mean jerk.

We remind her every time she is in trouble that we love her dearly and that is why we make the choices we make to correct her behavior. One time she said she felt like we didn’t care about her and I had to try not to laugh hysterically at her; I pointed out that if we didn’t care about her, we certainly wouldn’t be taking the time and the personal headache and stress of creating punishments that seek to correct behavior as opposed to being strictly punitive, and we wouldn’t give a crap if she had personal responsibility or took care of herself and we DEFINITELY wouldn’t be homeschooling her so that she can learn in a fashion that is better for her than being stuck in the standard cookie cutter mold of public ed. I went on to point out just how much I hate when she is in trouble and how even when she doesn’t necessarily see me being upset about her being in trouble doesn’t mean I’m not; in fact, the opposite is usually true. Thankfully, she actually understood the points that we made to her that day and hasn’t tried to make THAT argument again, and like I said, it is important to me to regularly remind her that even when we are very angry and very disappointed, we still love her. But damn if all of this isn’t frustrating as hell.

*sighs* She is largely a great kid and I know that, but because I know that she can be better than she’s been recently, I expect more of her. I know that she can successfully wash dishes without someone having to come behind her despite her not doing so since we were in Georgia. (And actually, this trip, she embarrassed the hell out of me because while previously she at least did a better job when helping with kitchen chores at someone else’s house than she did here at home, this time, she put a very obviously filthy pot into the dishwasher at Megan and Chad’s. Even worse was the fact that it was a pot with ramen noodles, so the entire load had to be rewashed before I could use anything out of it because she basically gluten contaminated the entire load. And frankly, the fact that she normally would do better at other folks’ houses is one of the reasons I know she should be capable of doing so at home.) I know she is better than the work that she has been doing; I totally understand that chores are boring and no one likes to do them, but they are also a necessary part of life. I also know that journal writing isn’t her favorite thing to do, but being able to write about events and her thoughts and feelings is something that she needs to be able to do. Plus, it is part of the homeschooling record that Rin and I keep, so it is necessary work in that regard as well.

What makes a lot of this even more frustrating is that since we’ve been home, we have been making a lot of allowances for her with some of her work. We have put most of her schoolwork on hold so she can finish her trip journal by 1 June, and we have even been letting her out of some of that work time so she has had time to go play with her friends outside, several days for 3+ hours. We basically have been trying to make her life easier and we have been repaid with sloppy work and lies which has gotten her super-duper grounded from pretty much everything. And since she has proven that at present she is no longer responsible enough to stay by herself for a few hours, something that she has been doing in increasing increments for five years now, she is going to have to haul her work with us to the MRI center on Tuesday and do her work in the waiting room while I’m having that done which will likely be super uncomfy for her given that she usually likes to sprawl herself and her work out at home. However, that is what happens when you can’t be trusted to work on your own. Of course, it also makes things more irritating for Rin and I because we now have to haul her everywhere with us again until she can regain some trust, but that is just how it is going to have to be. Obviously, there is also concern about the quality of her work but given what she did with the time she was here by herself Friday, I don’t see how it could get much worse. (Logically, I know it can, but it is going to take some effort on her part and that will come with its own extra consequences.)

If she doesn’t get herself straightened out soon, she is going to miss out on a lot of things and frankly, she is making us both wonder if she actually IS ready for an almost two week long camp. Some of the behaviors she has shown in the past two weeks are all on the “not ready for camp” list that Camp G. sent including not properly taking care of her hygiene. (I’m going to leave out the details both to avoid embarrassing her and to avoid grossing anyone out because that isn’t cool, but it was pretty epically not good and actually unusual for her.) I want her to be able to go to camp, but I don’t want to spend the money and then have to go pick her up because she isn’t doing what she is supposed to. They certainly aren’t going to come behind her and make sure she does every step of every activity she is supposed to, and they will send her home if she isn’t doing what is required of her. I just don’t want to waste the money if she isn’t going to take responsibility for herself. At present, she is still registered, but her actions in the next few weeks before we have to pay the rest of her camp fee will be the determining factor.

I wasn’t going to post about any of this because…well, a lot of reasons, but the washing machine frustration was a bit too much and was one point too many for me to not try to process some of it. I decided to share it because I know folks who have kids in similar age brackets, and I know that sometimes, when people only post about the good things that kids do, it can feel like you’re on an island when your kid is being a jerk. (And face it, all kids can be giant jerks from time to time.) So, if your tween is being a total pain in your bum know that you’re most definitely not alone. If you need to vent, feel free to do so in the comments. Also, if you have any tips on getting kids to tell the truth that don’t involve smacking their heads into a wall (obviously not a good plan) or washing their mouth out with soap (really, really, really bad for you with soap these days and also not very effective beyond being rage inducing), feel free to leave a note in the comments.

I know that in the long run, taking these steps to show her natural consequences of her behavior will pay off, but right now, when we’re in the middle of the battle, I can’t help but wonder just how far away “the long run” is.

Twelve

In a little over an hour (though this post will appear magically one minute before you were born because technology), you’ll magically be twelve. I’m finding it a little sad tonight, as mommies are prone to do when we sit down and think of our babies and how fast they grow. This time twelve wyes ago, I was being prepped for the emergency c-section that would put you in my arms. I can still remember how cold the operating room was and how very weird it felt to be lain out, crucifixion style on a table, while doctors and nurses gathered around my swollen belly to set you free of the womb you didn’t want to leave.

I remember my first glimpse of you, even as drugged out as I was. Your eyes were my favorite shade of purple and your little ears were at their most elfin in that moment. You were amazing and I couldn’t wait to hold you even as my heart tripped with fear at the thought of someone handing me a little being to care for. I can still catch a hint of that brand new baby smell of you if close my eyes and think hard enough…and sometimes, I can still smell it on you when you’re very tired and need hugs. It could be there or it could be a trick of a Mama’s brain that says “you still need me, baby girl”; either way, it is one of the more magical smells I know.

You constantly amaze me now, even as you did then. I never quite know what to expect from you, and you learn things in such interesting ways sometimes that it certainly leaves me guessing. Sometimes I fret that I’ll never get you past some of your more frustrating tendencies, but most of the time I am able to stop and realize that most of those tendencies are normal and that coaxing and nudging and dragging you along whether you want it or not does eventually make changes. But I also see you put together some of the most mature thoughts in ways I know you’ve not heard either of your mothers say to you and it leaves me almost breathless at the magic of it all. Your brain – a brain that I helped give life to – makes some of the most beautiful connections, and it is a gift to watch you grow and learn, even when you’re being a pain in my tush.

I remember holding you against me when you were a baby and wondering what you would become, what your voice would sound like, what your laughs would sound like. I love to hear you laugh, especially when something strikes you as so genuinely funny you can’t help but to laugh. It is a magical sound and one of my favorites in the world.

I also love your facial expressions. I never imagined you would manage to become so much more expressive as a tween than you were as a toddler, because you made some pretty epic faces then, and yet, you manage to surpass those early facial expressions that could be both comedic and exasperating on an almost daily basis. Your face tells so many stories even without words to go with them and I love that about you.

I love that you still call me “Mommy” and I’ll be okay with it if you want to do that forever. I know that at some point, you’ll likely be too “grown up” for it and I will sigh wistfully and do as other mothers do, but for now? I cherish each “mommy” as special.

I love that you love to learn and I love to watch you and your other Mama go on educational forays on random subjects. You both become so engaged in what you’re doing and I sometimes just sit back and watch, not so much listening to what you’re talking about, but instead focusing on the way you interact with each other with excitement and curiosity. It is incredibly amusing when you both get so excited about a topic that you manage to sound like little kids, eager for more, without either of you realizing you’re doing it. Sometimes, I want to video tape those conversations for you both to see later, but I know that as soon as I pull out the camera, some of the spontaneity and magic will be lost, because you’ll both be adorably self-conscious, so for now, those moments will have to remain mine to cherish and remember without mechanical intervention, because I wouldn’t want to crush that magic for anything.

Eleven has been hard, I know. You had a lot of losses in the last year and it is something that we have all been working on together. Losing people or pets is never easy and losing several in one summer is even harder. I have been so proud of how you have started to embrace the idea of writing things down when you’re upset and how the memory of Lain and Grandpa Dave dying aren’t hitting you near so hard. I know that memories of those gone before us can sneak up on you at the most random times and it can be frustrating and painful. I’m so glad that you come to Rin and I when it happens so we can talk it out and give you hugs and let you know that the world will be okay again.

The light always returns.

I also know that things have been stressful the last few months with so many new health things cropping up for me and with trying to get so many things done at home (for the house and for school). I also know that the beginning of this trip started more stressfully than anyone anticipated and I’ve been so proud of how you’ve handled it, both by offering comfort to Rin in the face of losing her aunt and also in how you’ve shown maturity in the things you’ve written on the other subjects. You keep making me blink a bit owlishly as I wonder where this new level of empathy and understanding are coming from, and yet I marvel at it as well because I know I’ve seen bits and pieces of it before as I watched you work through other things. Those times were all bits and pieces though, so to see the whole picture come together is pretty amazing…and I know it will never stop being amazing to me.

I have no idea what Twelve will bring. I know that in homeschool, the subjects will become more tricky as we work past the basics into more difficult concepts. I know that your independent streak will likely grow and I know that there will be head-butting because of it, for this is the way of parent and child. I know that I can’t wait to find out even as I want to take things so very slowly sometimes.

Eleven had its ups and downs, but it was nice to see you change and grow (though you could slow down a little on the “growing” part, kiddo, cause pants are expensive, ya know) into a new version of you. I’m sure Twelve will be similar (complete with more pants if I have any guesses about how you’ve been eating this week), and I marvel at what new things you’ll do to amaze me this year.

No matter what, no matter how hard things become, no matter how frustrating you become, what I do know for sure is this: I love you a little more everyday and that will never change. You changed my life when you were born kiddo, and I naively thought that would be the only time. Twelve years of you have taught me that you change me on a regular basis. I strive to be a better person for you because I want you to be an awesome person. I strive to be a better person for you because I want to be the me I see in your eyes and I want to be the person you believe I am. You teach me things (sometimes annoying ones, like how creative I have to be to convince you to do your work) constantly and I’m okay with that because learning is good and it means we’re learning together.

Here’s to Twelve. Your Moms are both super proud of you and can’t wait to see what happens next. For now, though, I’m going to give myself a few more minutes to think of the wee baby you were on that oh-so-long night twelve years ago so that when I wake up tomorrow and meet Twelve, I’ll have hopefully gotten most of my stealthy sniffles out.

Hello, Twelve. I love you more than words can say.

Today has been a rough day in my head and outside of it. The child has been a bundle of frustration that has left me literally sending her out of the room before I said something I would regret. This is pretty rare for me and while I know it is a good parenting option, it is still upsetting. I’m usually a bit better at keeping my cool with her enough to deal with whatever the problem at hand is.

Today, I just kind of hit a point of not being able to deal with her anymore. We have had at least eight conversations today about her slacking on her work, be it homework or chores. Some of those happened before she did chores/work for the day and some happened after which kind of proves that she wasn’t listening the first time. I know that some of this is normal kid stuff, but I am seriously running out of patience with her on this particular topic. If it is something she wants to do, she is all over it, but if she isn’t in the mood? You might as well not bother and that just isn’t cool. She has to learn that you have to do the boring things AND the fun things, not just the fun things.

I understand. I truly do. No one really likes doing dishes or taking out the trash; however, it makes more sense to do it correctly the fist time instead of spending hours dragging one’s ass or being sent back to repeat the task over and over again. She doesn’t like being yelled at, so you’d think she would get tired of that after awhile, but it doesn’t seem like that today. (Mind you “yelling” isn’t the correct word. “Fussing at” is more appropriate as I only actually raised my voice once and that was after being utterly frustrated with her having somehow managing to lose a glass, 9″x13″ casserole dish somewhere in the house. She doesn’t remember what she did with it and even hunting in the kitchen didn’t unearth it, so I have no idea where the thing has disappeared to. Her only answer is, as usual, “I don’t know.”

Aaaaaaaahhhhhh!

I know it is just a day and it will pass, but at this point, I am kind of counting down the time to bedtime in a way I haven’t since she was really small. Hopefully tomorrow she’ll have her brain back together again and she’ll be more ready to do work.

A bright spot today came in the form of a package from our friend Greg. He had posted a link about the new Bionic Woman comic on FB recently asking about it for K since she fell in love with the show when we were out there. I started reading the sample issue for age appropriateness and quickly found myself hooked, so he said he’d send them our way since he had the trade edition. Today, K came in from checking the mail saying that I had a package from the Hatchers and I started bouncing in my seat. After making certain that I could read them before they completely warmed up (I was a little worried about condensation), I started tearing into them. I really enjoyed all ten issues and I think the writers and the artists involved should be commended. I’m not a huge comic fan. I try, but a lot of times they lack something for me. It takes a lot of work or a quirky subject matter to really get me involved in the story. While I enjoyed the old Bionic Woman episodes we watched with the Hatchers, I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the comics so much.

I like the way Jaime’s character is written. She can do some amazing things and there is the potential risk of her becoming a super god-like character involved with the bionic powers she has. Paul Tobin, the writer, has done a great job at making her fallible both in her mentality and even in her actions. She is a real character dealing with real problems even while battling people like the Russian mob. I like that type of character and I think that is what drew me into the story to begin with. The nice artwork (and it is quite nice) is just an added bonus.

Dinner is ready, so I’m going to stop babbling for the moment. Here’s to hoping tomorrow the kiddo has an attitude adjustment.

Today has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster type of day. I was already a bit teary-eyed this morning since it’s only been two weeks since Grandpa Dave’s funeral and…yeah. So, I was mostly keeping that under control except for almost bursting into tears at Starbucks. But I was mostly good, especially since we were on the way to Camp Logan to pick up Kero from camp.

On the way, in one of the few magical spots along the way where there is cell signal, Mom called. Rin answered since I was driving. I knew within about a minute that something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite figure out what. She got off of the phone as it started to break up again and had to tell me that Lydia had died this morning in Mom’s lap. Lydia was seventeen and as such, she was a fixture at the house for quite awhile. She somehow managed to outlive all of her babies (a feat that I chalk up to pure evil and stubbornness on her part). Her nickname was Demon Spawn because when she would fall into a playful mood, her ears would turn and there were little tufts of hair at the tips that made them look like horns. She was a feisty wench, for sure. It was quite an emotional blow and I seriously felt for Mom. I knew why she was already having a hard day of it and then her cat died in her lap this morning. Yeah. Hard. So, I had a good cry and managed to get myself back together by the time we got to Camp Logan.

When we got there we realized that a) they didn’t tell us that bringing chairs would be a good idea and b) we couldn’t find Kero in the midst of all the girls on the deck. We did finally overheard that a group of the girls wasn’t there yet. It turns out that the largest group (24 of them o_O) had been sent back to their campsite because they hadn’t done a great job of cleaning up and packing. Finally, they arrived and Kero looked super cute in her Shipwrecked at Camp Logan 2013 t-shirt and her orange bandana. Once everyone was there, each group did a skit. The Daisies told a lot of really adorable (and bad) pirate jokes. My favorite two were:

What’s a pirate’s favorite animal?
An Arrrrmadillo

What’s a pirate’s least favorite animal?
A sharrrrk

(I did tell you they were bad.)

The Brownies sang a song about sharks that you should totally ask Rin to re-enact for you at some point because it’s pretty hilarious when she does it. 😀 The third group was so quiet I’m still not entirely sure what they did. When it was Kero’s group’s turn, their counselor warned that we were in for a full length feature film. The S.S. Juliette team certainly were creative (and weird) in their skit but it was a lot of fun (though Kero did sustain some superficial damage to arm and leg while she was “drowning” in the dirt). I took video though I have no idea yet how it turned out, so we’ll have to see. The last group were the older girls and they used the letters in “Shipwreck” to talk about their weekend. There were a lot of creative bits and definitely a lot of really bad pirate jokes, but it was fun.

After the skits were finished, Rin darted up the hill to the clinic to pick up K’s meds while I went to pick up Kero. I had to wait a few minutes though because Rin had my DL in her purse from where I’d given it to her Friday since it kept falling out of my pocket and my purse wasn’t handy at the time. Oops. It wasn’t bad though because Kero was bouncing with a few of her friends and I was getting some snuggles. 🙂 I got her checked out and picked up her patch, evaluation, and camp picture. The patch is really cool and the picture is adorable. We made a brief trip into the small camp store and picked up a few odds and ends that they didn’t have at the Service Center the last time we were there. The line for check out was long though, so I left Rin in line with the things and K and I hiked back up the hill to fetch her things. Even with having to hike up and around we still finished before Rin. Apparently they were having issues with the card reader and a ton of people were trying to pay with cards.

Now, you have to understand that Kero was talking to both of us pretty much non-stop while we were shopping and then she was talking to me non-stop while we were walking and then once all three of us were back in the car, well, she stopped talking for about eight minutes total in the time from when we left Logan to when we got to George and Mary Chris’s for lunch and all of those minutes were enforced for things like sending her to the potty while we stopped for gas. To say that she “enjoyed” herself is a monumental understatement. She had a blast and thoroughly enjoyed telling us all about it. They went hiking and horseback riding, they shot archery and went canoeing, and had a treasure hunt and cooked over the fire. In short, I think it was everything and more than she imagined…and she wants to go back real soon. (Sadly that’s not going to be an option this year because once the early reg date passed, well, the rest of the camps this summer are expensive, but we’ll likely be sending her back next summer for sure.)

We had lunch with the family and sat and talked for awhile. By that point, it was becoming clear that the wee one’s battery was wearing down, though food certainly helped with that. She hung out with Adrian and they watched tv and played with Legos while all the grown-ups sat around talking. After we left there, we headed over to Janice’s house to pick up Kero’s bike. We bought it used (an entire story on its own), and Nate kindly fixed it up for her. Rin and I decided that since we were going to Janice’s where there are fuzzy things to love on and pet like kitties and bunnies that we would tell her about Lydia. It pretty much shatters my heart to do it because I remember how hard it was to lose cats at that age. It sucks now, but it seemed worse then. When we got to Janice’s, Brendan (Janice’s husband) sent Kero off on a test ride of her bike around the block (huzzah for neighborhoods with sidewalks) and by the time she got back, Sarah (Janice’s daughter) had a bunny (Marvin) waiting for her. She was muchly cheered by her bike ride and she’s thrilled to have a bike that fits her again. (I keep trying to tell her that the growing thing is annoying, but she just smiles and pats me on the head. :D) She spent some time hanging out with Sarah and petting the bunny (who was ridiculously soft, seriously) while the rest of us chatted about various things. We were getting ready to leave when Rin and I remembered that 4-H sewing classes are supposed to start tomorrow and we had to figure out what she needed. Of course, fabric is one of the obvious answers, so we left Kero there (at her request – she was torn between playing with animals or going to pick out fabric and we assured her we could pick out fabric this time) and headed to Wal-mart for a) closeness and b) less expensive fabric for a first project.

There was quite a bit of deliberation but we finally found a remnant piece that had flowers, birds, and stealth cats on it and then we found a solid piece to match that since there wasn’t enough for both pajama pieces for K’s project. The two are going to look pretty great together. We headed back to pick up the girl and chatted with Janice about odds and ends for the project for a bit before heading toward home since Brendan was following us with K’s bike because the bike rack was not cooperating today. While we were doing that, I gave Dad a call and talked to him for a few minutes for Father’s Day before handing the phone back to the vibrating child who wanted to share her adventures. She talked to Mom and Dad and regaled them with tales of her pirate glory.

By the time we got home, I think all three of us were pretty done for. I know I was. Rin had Kero go through her things and shake all her clothes off outside in the hopes of avoiding finding anymore ticks like the one Rin found when she and I had been at Camp Logan though the kiddo was not too thrilled with the chore. I took a few more pictures of her, though I was cursing a bit because I forgot to get a close-up shot of her earlier with her kitty face paint. She was a Kitty Pirate and instead of saying “Meow” or “Arr” it was “Meoarrr”. Yeah, she’s a dork. After picture time, it was Stinky Kid to the Shower time. She had a snack and then she was half-way crawling her way to bed without much prodding. Apparently last night one of the tents of girls would not shut up even after her tent asked them to. We told her if it happened again that next time they should go wake a counselor because that type of behavior isn’t being a good sister to every Girl Scout. I suspect she’s not going to be thrilled with when she has to get up in the morning, but she has a long day ahead of her. Sewing is from 10-2 every day this week, so she’s going to be busy for sure. She also has a few other classes this week AND has to finish up all of her projects. Fair is creeping up with a quickness, for sure.

And on that note, I’m going to stop rambling for the evening and go to bed myself I think.

Today will work much like yesterday’s post. I’ll keep a local draft all day on my phone and will add to it as I have the time or the inclination.

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8:50am: At the airport

Waking up was less than fun, but everyone managed it with minimal whinging. Upon arrival there was a bit of chaos. While we were checking K in, I realized I didn’t have the keys. Rin didn’t have the keys. Fuuuuck. We finished checking in and I half ran back to the car to find them on the dash. Thank you Universe for watching out for my stupid ass.

I hauled butt back inside, and we realized with a bit of woe that we had to go through the regular security line. We’re used to having a wheelchair (either hers or courtesy service). Regular line sucks for pain levels. We made it through pretty quickly given how busy they were, and then we hauled Yush to the gate. Since all three of us had to go to the ladies’ room, K ended up being last board instead of first board. It turned out to be a good thing because it gave us time to hang out with munchkin and take pictures. By the time she boarded, she was more than ready.

Now, Rin and I are sitting and waiting for the plane to be in the air so that we can escape the airport. With Unaccompanied Minors, the adult can’t leave until they are fully airborne. I’m not sure where we’re headed next, though I suspect food is in the plan.

I’d expect more chaos later…

image

My big girl getting ready for her plane ride!
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1:10pm – Post Lunch

We couldn’t leave the gate until 9:30. By that point, we were both famished, so we stopped at Atlanta Bread and had a snack. Getting out of the parking garage was an adventure as most people had ignored the machine by the walkway. It was a giant cluster and took a bit of jockeying to even get out of the parking lot. Once on the highway, Rin took a little nap. By that point, it was almost 11, which is when Mary Mac’s Tea Room opened.

I’ve been wanting to go there ever since we saw it on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but our timing has always been off. I am so glad we mad it today. Not only was the food fantastic, but the service was wonderful. The entire atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable. When our server brought our drinks, he also delivered a basket of fresh bread with cinnamon rolls, yeast rolls, and cornbread. I could smell the cinnamon rolls across the table and they smelled intoxicating. The taste did not disappoint.

Since it was our first time there, we also were given bowls of pot likker and cracklin bread (cornbread with bacon). I was skeptical. I hate the smell of turnip greens and I’ve never seen any I wanted to try. This, however, was new and I’m trying to be more brave, so I gave it a try. It was tasty. After a few hesitant bites, I crumbled up all my bread in the bowl and it was super tasty. I’m pretty sure my Granny smiled in heaven today. 🙂

About the time I finished that little treat, our lunch arrived. It took us both awhile to figure out what we wanted because there are so many choices. I picked the Fried Chicken (the three leg option which I quietly squeed about because you’d be amazed how many places don’t want to give you just chicken legs) and ordered cream corn and fried okra for the sides. The cream corn was fantastic. They make it fresh every day and you can tell. The okra was good, too, but not quite what I wanted. I traded Rin my okra for her green beans (which had been my other choice). Rin ordered a vegetable plate with cream corn, Brunswick stew, green beans, and the cheesy vegetable casserole. She didn’t care for the casserole side and while the Brunswick stew had overall nice flavors, it was too acidic for her. A manager had stopped by to see how things were and she asked to trade for vegetable soup instead. He could have just replaced the portion from her meal, which is what she asked for. Instead he got her the larger cup of soup and even asked if she wanted crackers.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience, and we were discussing a plan to get dressed all fancy and go. We also mused that it would be fun to take Alena and Lisa and invite Parish along to watch the entertainment. 🙂

At the end of our meal, a charming older lady came up to chat and check on us and give us a back rub. It was nice, gentle, and soothing and gave me a bit of nostalgia for both my Granny and my Grandmother.

We’ll definitely be going back again at some point, and I know Kerowyn will love it.

Now, we’re at REI because Rin needs a new cane and it just happens to be summer clearance time, so maybe our luck with deals will continue here!

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6:13pm – Moar Food

Rin was successful in finding new canes; however, the process took awhile. While she played with the umptydozen kinds, I sat and wrote in a paper journal which I’ll likely transpose into text here later. Watching her gave me brief gratitude for being short. I can use the kids’ trekking poles, the grip is almost perfect, and they are totally cheaper.

After that, we both tortured ourselves trying on shoes. I actually found a pair of sandals I liked quite a bit, but they were pricey, so we decided to wait for a bit. The process took awhile though. I’d had my eye on a few particular styles and struck out on every single one which was pretty disappointing.

I did find packets of chocolate almond butter at checkout which helped assuage my disappointment. It’s hard to find chocolate almond butter. I have a peanut intolerance, so no peanut butter for me, and hazelnut gives me a migraine, so Nutella is right out (though Kerowyn loves it).

As we were heading back toward Lilburn, it became clear we were both hungry. After discussing it, we settled on Pizza Cafe on 78. That decided, we gave Chris a call to see if they wanted to join us. They did, so now we’re waiting for them. If you’re in the Stone Mountain/Lilburn area you should give them a try. Their food is quite tasty.

******
10:30pm – Back at the house

Dinner was indeed fantastic. We took Mr. Monkey with us to let Chris and Troy have some grown up time. They’d asked if we minded if they went to a movie at 10, and we volunteered to take him with us on a quest for frozen yogurt. While I was waiting for Rin to finish in the restaurant, I gave Mom a call and discovered that she’d already found out about K’s adventure from one of her friends. I’d not expected her to find out until I told her. Ah well. I reminded her K isn’t THAT much younger than I was the first time I flew alone. It all worked out well. Cindy sent me a picture of the girls in Chicago playing in a fountain. They looked like they were having a blast.

Once I got off the phone, the three of us popped into a couple of stores before going to the yogurt shop. We went to Yogurt World by Kroger on Rockbridge Rd. It is a mistake we will not make again. The proprietor gave each of us one sample cup. They had about 14 flavors and we’d said we’d never been there before. We had to reuse them for different flavors. We sent Finn up for one more and the proprietor acted as though Finn was being rude and informed him that he would have to pay because samples were only if you paid. I understand that there might be people who would only eat samples; however, a more effective way of handing that would be to charge per sample cup if a person doesn’t buy yogurt. It is not to treat the polite ten year old like a criminal.

That was about the point that I started talking to Rin about leaving. I knew that several yogurt places closer to Decatur and Atlanta were open until 11. She started trying to explain to Finn that the man had treated him poorly and that she and I were going to seek our desserts elsewhere. She gave him the option, though I think if we’d taken a closer look at toppings I’m not sure we would have. We ended up not letting him have the fruit he wanted and gave him extra Oreos instead (and if you know us, you know what a huge deal this is). The dry goods looked fine, but the fruits and other bits did not. Rin sent him to get a spoon so she could stir his yogurt up while she added his toppings. While she finished up, I went back out to the car because I was cranky and having trouble being polite.

A few minutes passed and they came outside and Rin looked fit to be tied. Apparently, as she was checking out, she took the spoon out and handed it to Finn to hold so that it didn’t get weighed. She paid and was getting ready to walk out when the man walked around to Finn and said, “Next time you need to pay for it before you eat it. I know you already had some.” Rin loudly announced to the rest of the store that “just to be clear, no he wasn’t standing over there eating it. He got the spoon so we could stir it up and then I handed him the spoon so it wasn’t weighed with the bowl. Regardless, it won’t be a problem on the future because I’m not spending money here in the future.”

She and I went to Bruster’s just up the road where Benjamin proved to be cheerful, helpful, and patient. He listened to us kvetch about the other place and got us lots of samples. A few minutes into standing there figuring out what we wanted, Rin asked him how his yogurt was to which his answer was “not at all.” We had him pitch it and got him a single scoop at Bruster’s because there was no sense in possibly making him sick.

In better spirits, I got 2 scoops of Banana Cream Pie. Rin got a cookie dough blast half with vanilla ice cream and half with cake batter. Mr. Monkey had coffee ice cream. Now, I’m sitting on the sofa thinking about how tired I am and wondering what to do about that. I think that’s about all I have for tonight.

Until tomorrow…

I would love to say that something profound kept me busy today, but the reality is that Rin let me sleep until 7. I pretty much got up, had a snack to start taking meds, and then we all went to dinner at Huddle House. A huge storm blew up as we were leaving the restaurant, which pretty much created an insta-headache for Rin and I. We have a billion things to do because we need to head out early afternoon tomorrow, but she’s been working all day, so we’ve had some quiet time watching The Legend of Korra on OnDemand. We’re presently debating whether or not we’re going to watch the season finale. We’re both torn. We want to watch it, but we hate season finales. Dilemmas.

To make up for the utter lameness, I will leave you with a cute K story.

When we’re down here, we tend to frequent the Centerville Huddle House at least a couple of times because Chris and Troy like it a lot. It’s actually quite good. We went once last week, and the food was great. K came over and asked if we had paper. Amazingly, neither of us did. When asked why, she said she wanted to write the cook a letter because the food was Sooo good. We suggested she just go tell him thank you. She went and asked Jill, the server, if she could speak to the person who cooked her food. Jill looked a bit panicked, so Rin and I reassured her from across the room. She smiled and got the cook’s attention. He is an older gentleman, and e listened to K carefully and you could tell he was pleased.

Tonight, the same cook and server were on duty. K had a tiny action figure thing in her purse, and she decided to give it to the cook to say thanks. He was very sweet (despite the fact that he was trying to get ready to leave) and told her that he would put it in the spot he puts gifts from his grandkids. She was very pleased.

I love the fact that she makes efforts to tell people thanks and to appreciate their efforts. I certainly hope it is a trait that sticks with her.

For now, the two kids are trying to stay up playing as long as they can. It’s always hard for them when it’s time for us to leave. Chris calls them peas and carrots and frequently will tell us that Mr. Monkey is missing his carrots. We’ll see how long they last tonight and we’ll remind them that we’ll be back in August. And Rin and I will frantically try to get everything together so that we head out on time tomorrow.

I’ll try to update from the road, but I make no promises.

Brighter Things

I refuse to let all of that be the top entry right now*, so I’ll talk about a couple of MUCH happier things before I crawl into bed. I obviously am VERY behind so I’ll just share some of the highlights from today.

Rin frantically making little cookies to take to K’s class for her Holiday Party

The other parents, but more importantly the kids, all loved making their own ornaments. They even managed to share far better than I expected from that group.

K winning bingo, bouncing out of her seat with excitement and pride as she realized she’d won. She has HORRIBLE luck at playing bingo and so her winning was pretty big. Her prize was a chocolate santa. Huzzah for that.

The sounds of happy K working on cleaning up her room. She didn’t have homework today, so she had a bit of extra time. Sure, she had to be sent back several times, but you could still tell that in spite of cleaning up, she was happy and having fun.

Watching K’s bouncing excitement as she conspired with Rin across the room. I knew what they were planning, at least a little bit, but not exactly.  She took the time to write out a note and then typed it all in: the note?

From: Us ^_^

Message:
Rin had the idea for Mercedes Lackey, but I picked out the book. 🙂 I hope you like your Christmas present. I love you! Love, K

Rin had given her the idea a couple of weeks ago about making part of my holiday present a book for my Kindle. Rin obviously gave her the idea of Mercedes Lackey, and she let her see the titles that were available. When K found out that the newest was available, that was the one she had to pick. So, I was blessed with an early holiday present and a lot of love and smiles. They both felt it might help me feel better and it might make waiting at the doctor a bit easier.

Later, while Rin was at the grocery store and picking up dinner, listening to K play Petville on my computer. Really, hearing her narrate the different things going on is quite amusing, but mostly, she just makes happy noises and conversation and it’s fun. Some days, it can be overwhelming, but it was comfortable tonight.

There are painful things in my life but I am happy and I sometimes have to remind myself of that. Moreover, I have an AMAZING kid who fills my day with a lot of laughing and a lot of hugs. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* Nota bene: The post that came before this one is a private entry at this point. I decided to leave it that way for reasons. So, enjoy the brighter stuff.

I cannot quite seem to sort where to start which is probably not a huge surprise. I am supposed to be heading to bed (which seems to be a recurring theme on its own, no?), but I can’t manage to get my brain to match my body’s desire to sleep. Hah, and I totally just had to pause and go check out my last entry to see what the last things I posted were. Since I am oddly not in the mood for random, I’ll try the slightly more organized method again.

Fun Run
K was pretty excited about it because third grade got to wear purple shirts instead of their normal uniform shirts. They were running late morning but before lunch, and the day was pretty much perfect for it. It had rained the day before and we were a bit worried that they would get rained out. Rin and I headed over to watch and cheer them on. When we got there, we could see K before she could see us. She was bouncy, but what was really cute was that she got about five times more excited when she saw us.

The kids ran for about twenty minutes after their warm-up wiggling and dancing. Some of them actually managed to run most of it. Others…well, you could tell that a lot of the third and fourth graders weren’t used to having to run for long stretches. They were running to different songs and one of them was a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ which was both slightly surreal and also a bit disturbing. It wasn’t bad, mind, simply…different. What was perhaps more amusing was that all of the grown-ups were singing along and some of the kids were appraising them as though they were more cool than perhaps they had thought. If only they knew! (Of course, if they are as cool as K, they DO know considering that she knows the original!)

We were quite proud of K because she actually managed to run a good portion of all of the activity time. It turns out that having her do sprints on a regular basis is a good thing! She had a lot of fun because she got to run around with Max, the Movin’ and Groovin’ Crew’s mascot, who just happens to be a cheetah. Rin managed to get some really cool pictures and even some video with her phone, so that was fun.

At the end, the kids all got popsicles and then each class had their picture taken with Max. That was its own amusing bit of chaos because at that point, the kids weren’t entirely paying attention anymore and most of the teachers looked a bit lost since the Get Movin’ and Groovin’ team hadn’t given the best instructions. The pictures all got taken though and then the kids were back to class and Rin and I headed for lunch and a few other errands.

Full Moon, Solstice, and Other Random Things
This month’s full moon was a bit odd. I suspect that part of it had to do with the fact that it fell on solstice which can change the energies in the air anyway. However, I don’t think I’ve had a full moon pass where I was so exhausted in quite awhile. Normally I have a fair bit of extra energy and even tend to go a day or so without really sleeping because of the charge in the air. This time I was a walking zombie and was more than a bit agitated because of it.

The general feel of the solstice was heavy and there seemed to be a lot of tension running around, not just here, but with other friends as well. I later posited to Rin that some of -our- general tension and sense of “something pending” was perhaps that this is the beginning of our first full season in our new situation and that can make things seem more intense. It also doesn’t help that right now both of us are trying to balance a lot of things and answer a lot of questions that don’t seem to want to have easy answers.

On the whole, the days around the full moon were relatively quiet. Rin and I did sneak out Thursday night after K had gone to bed to get coffee and finish plotting out what we wanted to send to the coronation that was going to be happening on Saturday. (More on that in a bit.) It was still warm enough that we could sit outside on the patio at Starbucks but it actually was a bit brisk which was nice given that the first day of fall was in the upper 80s temperature wise which felt a bit odd, too. It was nice to sit and talk and enjoy the evening and watch the clouds passing over the moon. They made some rather spectacular images and made me wish for about the millionth time for a camera. Sadly that is way down on the priority list at the moment.

Friday Rin ran around and covered a lot of ground on finishing our project while I slept since I felt like crap. That has been a theme of the past couple of weeks. After K got home, we went to get the things we needed to finish up the project even though we found out that odds were low that we were going to manage to run into the Baroness before they left. We also were briefly pondering attending said coronation because I had gotten the distance mixed up with something else. A three and a half hour drive is plausible for a day trip…a five hour drive is not, because really, ten hours in the car total, plus the event itself, and she and I both likely would have fallen on our faces or driven into a ditch. Reason won the day though since we knew we couldn’t really afford the expense of a hotel room right now. Of course, this meant that our gift for the new King and Queen will have to be delivered to them another time, but sometimes that is how things fall out.

It turns out that it was a good thing that we did not go though since I spent most of Saturday with a vicious headache stemming from an earache. It only got worse as the evening progressed and some drama that cropped up throughout the day didn’t really help that at all. I didn’t get a ton of sleep Saturday night and spent a lot of time with a heating pack across my face. It helped some but really, when something hurts so badly that it hurts too much to cry…well, that says something about how much it hurt I think.

Sunday, for me, was a very slow, lazy day. I was curled up on the sofa for most of it. Rin and K on the other hand were busy little beavers. They were doing helpful and useful things like cleaning out the ovens since it was cool enough to air out the house and other cleaning up the kitchen work. K was a super helpful which always makes me really proud of her. I felt like hell that I couldn’t really help, but every time I stood up on Sunday I was having to catch myself on something in an effort to not fall over. I was unamused by this state, though it is, in the grand scheme of things, nothing new.

I do know that they got a fair bit done on the kitchen and the bathroom and they also were working on laundry, too. I was pretty proud of both of them, really.

Life as a Hornet
Monday night was the first PTO meeting at K’s school. It was actually really interesting and I have to say that they really have their stuff together. I like the fact that they seem to be really organized; I also like the fact that the PTO at her school actually does make a really big difference with school activities and even community activities. It was also fantastic to learn that Hamilton is in the top 15% of elementary schools in Indiana and they are really close to being a four star school which requires the school’s test scores in math and language arts to be in the top 25% and also for them to have the top 25% in attendance. They are a bit short on the math and a little short on the attendance; however, their language arts scores are pretty phenomenal. It makes them stand not far behind the “banner” school in the Corporation which I think is pretty awesome.

The president was talking about several things they need volunteers for and Rin has talked me into helping with the Playground Grant Writing Committee. I think she’s nuts and that I am in way over my head; however, the president pointed out that no experience was necessary but that useful skills included being able to do Internet research and also being able to make things sound really smart. Given that I actually can be good at both, I might not be so lost as I fear. Of course, I think there is definitely going to be a learning curve here. o_O I poked into a bit of research after we got home and there is a LOT that I need to find out about and learn, that’s for sure.

On the whole, one thing I REALLY like is that the members of the PTO were -really- accepting and basically treated Rin and I like we were already a part of the team. In the past, I have had to earn my position as a team member and that was after putting in a lot of work in a lot of places at the school. I was pretty impressed on the whole that they were as friendly as they were. I like it a lot.

After the meeting we went to dinner. I called Mom while we were there since I had been incommunicado all weekend. Whoops. She has pretty much been at Grandmother’s non-stop. She was actually at home when I called and she joked that it was like her and Dad were dating again except that she was living at the wrong house. I thought that was pretty hilarious actually. I asked her if she got mauled by the cats and apparently she almost did and they had been playing lap roulette with her while she was there. I also got to share the news that my cousin and his wife had had their baby that day since I knew she and Grandmother both would want to know. She and K talked for a bit and then K talked to Dad but about that point, our food got there, so I told Mom I’d talk to her later and we finished dinner.

Girl Scouts
Today was registration for Girl Scouts which K was literally bouncing over. We officially have all of her paperwork turned in and Rin and I have started the process of being volunteers for her troop. Her meetings are going to be on Sundays which is better than the other option. It does mean that the group that is based out of her school is not the troop she’ll be in but Wednesdays from 4-6 doesn’t work for us since Rin doesn’t even get out of class until 5 on Wednesdays. Honestly, I like the troop leader of the Sunday Brownie troop and she is already excited for us to be working with her, so that is awesome. We just have to finish getting our paperwork filled out which includes having five references which they will call…and the references cannot be related to you, which I think is interesting. The Girl Scouts, they are not playing! They run background checks on their adult volunteers.

At any rate, the process is now underway and our first meeting is 10 October, and K is super excited which is good. I just hope she STAYS this excited.

I also had a chance to talk to one of the other troop leaders and got some tips about pediatricians and dentists and other information like how some of the state assistance works up here so that was handy. It turns out that unlike Georgia, Indiana will back pay on medical bills if you’ve already gotten the paperwork process started so that is something that I am going to be working on tomorrow. I am really not looking forward to that and I know that a lot of that is basically me arguing with my pride; however, I know that I HAVE been job hunting and I have been trying to find income and it hasn’t worked out so far…so now I need to get my head out of my ass and do what needs to be done. I just…had hoped to not have to do it all over again.

It’s 3am…
Well, almost. We’re about three minutes shy…and of course by the time I post this, we’ll likely be long past that point, by you never know…and it does make a nice heading.

I don’t much know what else to say. I am using a new laptop than I was which is making my life a lot easier. It’s nice to be able to do more than one thing at a time, that’s for sure.

Medically…well, it’s been about a month since I was on prednisone, so a lot of the typical post-steroid issues are cropping back up. The tightness in my chest wall, the inflammation between my ribs and across my chest area are making life unpleasant. The faint rash across my face and across my chest is quite present and it is most definitely not sunburn. Dry, itchy eyes are driving me up a wall. The lack of mobility is disconcerting some days. The list kind of goes on and on and it is upsetting and worrisome. Even more upsetting is trying to figure out how to balance the cost of medicines with everything else. Once things are a bit more sorted and I have the things K needs taken care of sorted, then I will get to begin the fun process of trying to find a new doctor for myself. I am very much not looking forward to that. Finding a new doctor is tricky when you are healthy. Finding one when you have a chronic illness is a thousand times trickier. First you have to find one that will handle a chronic illness with more than “it’s all in your head, here have some happy pills,” and then it will be finding one who will be willing to hear me out and maybe run some more of the tests that I need run. There are things that really should have been done that have not been and I don’t know where to even start. Obviously walking into a new office comes with a lot of things to consider anyway. I need to find a doctor who will work with me and talk to me. Oh, and finding one who will also write scripts for my meds would be handy. *sighs* I’m giving myself a headache just thinking about it…but it will have to happen and sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll just try not to think about it too much. I can’t sort that until I have insurance of some kind anyway.

I feel like a whiner tonight. No, worse, I feel more than a bit useless. Rin has been doing most of the things that need doing lately. I have helped with some small things, but it is not taking much to send me back to bed. For the tons of stuff that she did this morning and afternoon…I gathered up one bag of trash and sorted a few other things. It…is frustrating and upsetting and…some of it is kind of scary. I am used to having mobility issues…I am not quite so used to having such broad-spectrum mobility issues. My coordination has been incredibly off the past couple of weeks and I do not think that my inner ear is to blame for all of that. Sometimes, it feels like muscles and joints just do not want to move the way I want them to move. It takes almost nothing to send me almost careening to the floor and on more than one occasion I’ve had to put myself in the floor before I ended up there in an uncontrolled fashion. I don’t entirely know what to do with all of that. I stay exhausted, no matter how much sleep I get…and believe me, I’m doing a lot more sleeping than I tend to make it sound. My ability to even do the bits of walking about that I was doing have been severely limited again and that is kind of frustrating since I had sort of begun to get into a routine. It is tricky to do exercise when you’re almost falling on your face though. *sighs* I don’t know…I do know that talking about it is just kind of making me more frustrated right now and I need to actually go to bed because I have a lot I need to do tomorrow and I really, really do not want to sound like a whiner.

One step at a time…that’s the best that I can do I suppose. Aside from attempting to handle bureaucracy tomorrow, I also need to make a couple of phone calls and try to get a couple of things done around the house. I suspect that the latter will be the most limited activity. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up with a stored energy pool or something? *hopeful*

Until later…be excellent to each other.

It’s been a busy week, what with school and feeling like crap and SCA Friday night, and the Trail of Courage on Sunday. Wednesday night we had Curriculum Night at K’s school where basically we got to listen to her teacher talk about some of the things they are doing in class and some of the things that are coming up. She answered questions that people had and for the most part, it was pretty mundane. I wanted to thwap K for having a messy desk, yet again, though I know that K and a messy desk kind of go hand-in-hand. It was a battle I spent all of first grade and part of second combating and I really would like to not do it anymore. Thankfully it was a lot less messy upon actual situation versus initial observation. Not so thankfully was the realization that she was stuffing things into it that she wasn’t supposed to do at all and that she had a sheet that hadn’t been graded. Rawr. Her teacher did let her bring it home and let her finish it for homework which is what she was supposed to have done in the first place.

Life as a Hornet (aka goings-on with K and school)
As far as other things at Curriculum Night went, it was nice to find out that Rin and I were not the only people slightly perplexed by some of their math homework. It’s nice not to be the only dumbass in the room. 😀

Friday was picture day and I was a mean Momma and made K wear her uniform despite the fact that students did not have to do so. It is her first year in them and it was her first picture day of the year; the kid was wearing her dang uniform! While I expected a bit of a fuss that afternoon I actually didn’t get it. She was amused that people had kept asking her why she was wearing it. K LIKES her uniforms, and Rinda had fixed one of her awesome skirts (you know, the ones she outgrew before the first day of school) so that it fit comfortably, and she got to wear a pair of her knee socks, so that made her happy.

SCA Ramblings
Friday night we went to SCA fighter practice, albeit late. Rin had been at IU working on some school things and got home later than she had expected. We were contemplating going to dinner with George and Mary Chris for George’s birthday, but it was a bit of a last minute thing and we both felt more inclined to go hang out with a low-key crowd instead, particularly since we’d already made plans to do so and we hadn’t actually been able to in a few weeks. It turned out to be a wise choice as we hung out at the Grill at IUSB for a bit before heading to Tradewinds for dinner. It is always quite interesting to hang out with that group, but I think what made the night was the fact that we spent hours talking to Sarah, our Baroness. Her son, A, and K, spent a fair bit of time playing together until they both ended up passing out in the booth by the table where we were sitting. It was almost four before we finally left. What can I say, she’s a fascinating person and she is a helluva lot of fun to talk to. We learned some very interesting things and I started mulling over a few ideas for craft type things since she needs things for the baronial basket for the coronation coming up this weekend. I am still mulling over that one.

Saturday was fairly low-key given that I slept all day. We hung out at home and basically just enjoyed a quiet night.

Trail of Courage Festival
Sunday was kind of hectic. We had gotten up early to go to the Trail of Courage in Rochester which is about an hour away, but getting ready kind of spiraled out of control as we scrambled for the things we needed to find and got things ready. I wasn’t moving well at all and Rin is still a bit sick, so that made things even trickier. We were both a bit disheartened when we didn’t leave the house until 1 since the festival ended at 4; however, we still went and I am very glad that we did.

For one thing, it is living history. The festival is set in the French Fur Trade era and displays artisans, native dancers, and several other elements from when the Potawatami were trading with settlers. It is fun to take K to things like this both because it provides learning experiences and because watching her is exciting. She thoroughly enjoys herself and she bounces with glee when she sees things that are new to her. No one enjoyed the marching fife, drum, and bagpipe players more than she did! We all were costuming a bit and she got tons of compliments on her outfit and we even had one food vendor who mistook us for people who were working the event which was a nice compliment in and of itself.

For my part, I enjoy looking at the different craft pieces and the different styles from that period. Some of the native beadwork was absolutely gorgeous and the leather work kind of made me wish I had a few hundred dollars to spare. We did have one splurge. >_> I sort of fell in love with a hand-crafted blade. I have been trying to be good and not buy new blades of late; however, I believe I can incorporate this one into SCA persona attire and the gentleman who made it was very kind and knocked the price down to $35. I think he was bemused by how over-the-moon I was with his work, to be honest. What surprised me the most was that for a piece of work that is about the length of my forearm, it was lighter than most butter knives. The blade is a bowie and the handle is an incredible dark brown with a silver hilt…and at both ends of the hilt are stealthy little pentagram shaped stars. I sort of did a double take and that since I had already been impressed with the sheath and the handle and when he put it into my hand I was kind of o_O with childish glee. My need to be good as far as money is concerned was heavily at war with my desire to own that blade. His wife was definitely amused by how I kept looking at it even after I had put it back on the table. Rin and I talked about it and when he said he would reduce the price and that he would take checks (we had missed the ATM on the way in), well, the naughty won.

In fairness, the blade is most definitely worth the money spent and even if I cannot successfully tie it into SCA attire, it is certainly going to become an anchor blade for a few things. I already have one working athame that is very strongly keyed with the moon and a couple of other bits and pieces and that tends to act as an extra shield point at places like Dragon*Con, but this one is certainly going to factor into a few things and whether or not I carry it at Con or faire is somewhat irrelevant to the fact that the blade resonated in my hand from the moment he handed it to me. If you know me, you know that I enjoy sharp, pointy objects, but not all of the ones I carry resonate quite like that. Sure, some of them have rather strong significance, but a lot of times that significance comes after purchase, not before. This particular blade was singing my song and I am glad that I resisted its siren’s call despite feeling slightly guilty for the expense.

Other than that, we were actually pretty good. We bought a nice blue bottle that was subsequently filled with homemade root beer that K loved. I was a bit less enamored of the flavor but the bottle is pretty awesome. We also bought caramel corn that they were making on-site which is pretty yummy, too. It was utterly HILARIOUS to see K’s face the first time she was standing near the popcorn booth when they were making it…I suspect mine was pretty good, too. Rin was talking to someone and I was half-paying attention to her and half-keeping an eye on where K was watching. I caught the look on Miss Ma’am’s face about the same time the popcorn started to pop all over the place. They make it in a huge cast iron kettle and it is hand-stirred with a long wooden paddle. The pot throws off a lot of smoke just before the corn starts to pop like crazy. Most of it stays in the kettle, but some escapes which makes for a pretty impressive tableau for a few seconds. K bounced about that and had fun watching for it every time we were nearby.

She was also impressed with the blacksmith who was working on site though she did not entirely understand everything that he was doing. She found several jewelry pieces that she liked as well as a few small blades that she thought looked neat. She also proved to be an example for several kids and impressed on of the Native American gentlemen running a tent. He had a lot of children’s items like cup and ball games, pop guns, spinning tops, and the like, and lots of kids were playing with them, some more carefully than others. We have a general rule that K cannot touch things without first asking one of us and second asking the vendor. She wanted to play with one of the cup and ball toys while we were looking at the other pieces in the tent and Rin told her that she could if she asked first. (I was impressed she remembered given how many other kids were just playing with things.) She walked up to the gentleman who was running the tent and from across the center table I hear this:

K: Can I pick up one of your toys?
Him: I don’t know, can you? (You could hear a bit of teasing in his voice. I was -very- amused. I glanced over and K was looking a bit puzzled. I can’t remember exactly what Rin said but it was to the effect of you know that you have the ability to pick up something, so how are you supposed to ask?)
K: *dawning realization* May I pick up one of your toys?
Him: You certainly can. You’re the first person to ask me that all weekend.

The look on K’s face was pretty epic. The looks on mine and Rin’s faces was a mix of “HAHAH THAT’S OUR KID” and “Holy shit some people have no fucking manners.” Seriously, I know that they look neat and you want to play with them, but you’d think at least -some- people would ask. Apparently not. *headshake* He was quite impressed with her manners and he helped teach her how to use the cup and ball toy. She managed to not hit herself in the head with it like I did the first time I played with one of those and she actually started to get the hang of it, at least a little bit. I have been a proud Mama and have been bragging on her behavior to lots of people because a) I think it is important to reinforce the behaviors that I want to see and b) my kid freaking rocks!

We didn’t buy anything from him right then since he was one of the first places we looked; however, we did stop back by on our way out. He was still impressed with K and answered the questions that she had about a couple of things and he chatted with Rin and I while we browsed through his tent again. He had some wicked awesome little telescopes and compasses but we couldn’t afford them right now (though they were very reasonably priced). We did end up buying K a cup and ball toy, though not the multi-colored one she had been playing with. He was selling a darkly stained one that will actually be SCA event appropriate because it is period accurate, so we picked that one up for her. We also got a couple of other little bits and then headed to buy my popcorn. 🙂

(Yes, I know I’m going in a crazy order, but I’m basically stream-of-conscious writing this one at the moment.)

In our meandering path, we passed a booth that was selling little bird whistles that needed water in them to make them work. I wanted to maul those people with my wooden staff, so much. They were very high pitched and all of the children buying them were annoying. They basically were blowing them as many times as they could, as loudly as they could. There were adults encouraging this behavior…I wanted to smite them. I know that whistles are fun toys for kids, but I also know that they are some of the most annoying things on the planet. I was very glad when we finally got past that section. Amusingly, while a lot of vendors were selling small flutes or whistles, they all had “you blow it, you buy it” policies which is a) smart because of health concerns and b) awesome because it means that you don’t have a ton of extra blowing going on.

We ran into one of the Aztec dancers that recognized Rin from when she had gone last year. He was a bit overly-friendly and made my metaphysical whiskers twitch about sixteen different ways. I think the nicest summation I have is “he walks many paths” and we’ll leave it at that. We managed to extricate ourselves from his presence that time because he had to go somewhere else. When he found us again later, K saved us by having walked a bit further away from us (close enough for her usual acceptable radius but creepy dude didn’t know that) and we of course had to follow her. Thankfully, he didn’t follow us. I really try not to be overly judgmental of people and the paths they choose to walk, I just tend to get a bit tetchy when shaking someone’s hand vaguely feels like an oily substance trying to slide through my personal shields.

My blade purchase was our last vendor stop before heading for the food booths which were amusingly located in the woods. Their location was smart, particularly since it had rained on Saturday (and had also done so the year before), but it also was out of the way of the open areas for the dancers and the other vendor tents. It was wicked fun for K though. The number of times she said something like, “I’ve never eaten in the woods before!!” was certainly amusing. We got ears of corn and incredibly tart lemonade. K and I also got pickles and Rin got to amuse the hell out of a vendor. She had pulled out the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans bag that she uses to hold change and the pickle guy asked her if she had gold nuggets hiding in there. She laughed and fished out two of the gold $1 coins she had and used those to pay him for our pickles. He was flabbergasted and then he was laughing. She was pretty happy, too, since she’s been holding onto those to use in a situation where it would be amusing to do so. It’s always fun to bring laughter to people, particularly with unexpected situations.

There were a lot of other food options that I might have wanted to try had it not been hot. When we had looked at the weather Saturday evening, it was supposed to be cooler and perhaps raining. We put together outfits based on that forecast…and when we got there, it was about ten degrees hotter than predicted and very sunny. I had to tuck a scarf around my shoulders and into my bodice to cover up the skin that was showing and I spent the first part of the afternoon walking around with my Hello Kitty parasol. I gave up on it when I got tired of people taller than me walking into it. However, it had gotten a bit more cloudy by then so I only got a little bit sunburnt as opposed to completely roasted which is what we had worried about. I did think I was going to melt though because I had on some of our heavier weight costume pieces. I also was dumb and wore a pair of boots that don’t fit properly and was paying for that by the end of the day, but that’s another story entirely. I certainly got a few odd looks given that my outfit was shades of dark blue, burgundy, and black and my HK parasol is bright pink, but I didn’t much care. I’d rather have funny looks than three days of sunsick.

Our meandering through the woods did give us time to hear several of the bagpiper’s songs and a few other instruments that you couldn’t hear in the main field area which was nice. K got to taste some local honey in wildflower and blueberry which she enjoyed. Oh! And toward the front edge of the food vendors there was a woman who uses a pedal loom to weave blankets. She had been on a break when we were near her booth, but she heard us telling K what the loom was and what it was for and she got up and came over and showed her. K was a bit wide-eyed at how it worked because it certainly is not something that she has seen before. She was fascinated by how the loom worked to bring all of the fibers together to make a finished product. She was both excited and gracious that the lady showed her how it worked which I thought was awesome. 🙂 It’s always nice to see lessons paying off.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but as you might tell, we had an awesome time even with it being a shorter day than originally planned!

Way Down in Kokomo
(Because if I have to suffer the song, you do, too. :P)

After we left, we headed south toward Kokomo, in part because we thought it was a lot closer than it actually was. Turns out Kokomo is an hour south of Richmond…which makes it two hours south of South Bend. *headdesk* We didn’t realize our error until we were halfway there at which point turning around would have been dumb, particularly in light of the fact that neither Rin nor myself wanted fast food. We headed to Cracker Barrel which is a rare treat since the closest ones are either in Kokomo or Fort Wayne, both of which are about two hours away.

Rin tried the Applefest chicken and we both decided that while it was a neat idea in concept, it was disgusting in actual practice. She took about two bites and was rather upset by how it was making her feel. Our server…who was annoying and I’ll leave it at that for the moment…took it back and got Rin soup, but that was also not sitting well last night. She ended up getting a kid’s veggie plate to-go and had biscuits. I had the Homestyle Chicken which is a Sunday only special and it was yummy. I only ate one piece and saved the second so that Tadhg could have it because that is one he really likes. K had grilled chicken tenders and fried okra and she was certainly pleased with her dinner. All in all it was a good decision. I was pleased that the manager actually did his job: this is the second manager at the Kokomo store that I have seen do this, so that says something about the store itself.* We poked around the store a little bit and Rin and I each got a lightweight cardigan that actually felt tolerable on my skin and looked cute to boot. It is versatile in how you can handle the bottom of it which is kind of neat. It was on clearance which is even more neat. 🙂

After we left, I took over driving because Rin was pretty tired. I wanted coffee and had some money left on my Starbucks card, so we stopped at the first one (Kokomo has 2), but their espresso machine was locked up. For the trouble, they gave Rin and K 3 vanilla bean scones for free. While they were inside, I called Mom who had called the day before. She has been staying at my Grandmother’s house helping her recover from shoulder surgery. They had called to talk to K because they had gotten the letters she had mailed them. I talked to her for a few minutes and then called them back on Grandmother’s phone since Mom is getting low on cell minutes. I got to talk to Grandmother for a little bit which was nice. She is doing all right, but is in a lot of pain when the medicines wear off and apparently she is being stubborn about holding off until the last minute before taking them. *sigh* She is too stubborn for her own good sometimes. She had fun hearing stories about where we took Miss Ma’am and she thought it was a very good experience for her. She was also pleased by hearing about K’s big girl manners and she laughed and said that she suspected that K would be teaching those Yankees a thing or two by the end of the year.

K was vibrating in her seat by that point, so I handed the phone back and let her chat with Grandmother and Mom for a little bit while I headed to Starbucks number two. She finished talking about the time we got there because both of those ladies are tired. She and Rin went inside to get my coffee because they are cool like that and I took the opportunity to call Dad who has been staying at the house by himself. We chatted for a little bit and I told him about my new shiny because I knew he would appreciate it. I wanted to talk to him for a few minutes before I let K because I knew that once she knew who I was talking to she’d want the phone! 😀 He and K talked for a bit which made him pleased as punch, though I’ll admit that it makes me happy that he sounds just as thrilled to talk to me, too. 🙂

The drive home was pretty uneventful. We were trying to get K to sleep since it was kind of late, but she couldn’t fall asleep. Rin started to brainstorm with her about the day which turned into an impromptu history lesson. I was a bit startled by some of the things she didn’t know about early American history. I know that she is only in third grade, but it seems like some of the things, like information about the original colonies are things she should have at least heard of before, ya know? We talked a bit about early Indian relations (she actually knows a bit more about Native American culture than early American) and explained a few things, including why the name of the festival was important. When Rin asked her if she would like her to find books on the Potawatami at the library, K was quite excited in her reply which makes me squee just a bit. She loves to learn new things and I think that is totally freaking awesome.

We made a quick grocery store run on the way home because K has been having leg cramps and we suspected that some of that was because she hasn’t been eating bananas regularly, so she and Rin ran in and got some of those and a few other things and then we headed home. We got her put to bed and then Rin started on her homework and some laundry. I was playing around on the computer and reading a book. Poor Rin had to stay up…I’m not sure what my excuse was. I did crash out on her around 6 and she was kind enough to get K ready and on the bus this morning.

Goings on at IUSB
I ended up driving her to class this evening which was kind of fun. K and I went to get a snack while we waited. It started raining shortly before we picked her up which was kind of annoying since she got soaked getting into the car. She had her Illuminations class tonight and she is having some trouble with the professor. I am not amused by said professor’s behavior and I think that she needs a swift kick in the bum. She has no real awareness of what life with a chronic illness is like and her attitude is showing it. She also is not very good at explaining things and despite the fact that 4 other people who were in class misunderstood an assignment, she chalked Rin’s misunderstanding (a misunderstanding that cost her about 20 extra hours of work) up to “you weren’t in class.” Um, no. *headshake* So now, Rin is planning another meeting with Disabled Services to see what, if anything, can be done. *sighs* I -really- hate professors like this and I get very angry by their attitudes. It is very frustrating to watch someone you love crying over the class that she was most looking forward to this semester. Thankfully, her other professor is being much more reasonable and that is helping some, but, yeah, the Illuminations class is proving to be very frustrating which makes me feel for her rather a lot.

Monday Evening Wrap-Up
After Tadhg got home, he made everyone dinner which was neat. He had told Rin about his plan last night because while we were in Rochester, he had gone shopping and bought the chicken to make a Thai dish he had made before that K had really liked. It was a bit too spicy for me the first time around, but this time he made it a little bit differently. It was still pretty spicy and I ate more rice and than chicken and veggies, well that and the bowl of sugar snap peas I had had him set aside for me, but it was still good. Miss Ma’am certainly enjoyed it which is kind of surprising given that she doesn’t always like spicy food. Apparently this combo works for her though.

While we ate, we were watching episodes of The Office. One, I never thought I would like that show, but it definitely has its funny moments. Two, the fact that K is hooked on it is utterly hilarious. Tadhg has seen all of the episodes, so he picks and chooses which ones are K appropriate and which ones he either knows for sure aren’t or the ones he is suspect of, so it’s not like she is watching EVERY episode. It is funny when she picks out behaviors of Michael’s that are either a) ridiculous or b) not okay because it means that she is actually engaging with the show and not just mindlessly laughing when she thinks she should and it also means that she is able to take the lessons she has learned about the world and about behavior and apply them to a setting outside of herself and that is fascinating to watch. Does she understand all of it? Heck no. A lot of the jokes are over her head; however, there are other things that she does get and that makes them even more amusing. After she went to bed, the three grown-ups watched one of the Justice League movies which I hadn’t seen before. It was pretty good…but now I can’t remember the title. Tadhg had to go to bed and Rin and I were up a bit longer. We watched a couple of episodes of Eureka…well, I watched them and she took a nap in the recliner. 🙂 I finally sent her to bed and she is likely going to be a bit rawr at me when she finds out how late I was up. Woops. Between the headache I had and the agitated, not being able to settle sensations, well, it was going to be a bad idea to just lay down…so here I am writing a mini-novel in my blog again, go figure. 😛

Coming Soon
Other than that, the job hunt is still on-going. We finally have information on local Girl Scouts and there are intro meetings next week, so that is exciting. This week K has the Fun Run at school which she already has some sponsors for which is good. I like the Fun Run fundraiser because it lets kids earn money for the school AND do something active instead of having them accomplish the earning money goal by selling crap that nobody wants to buy. This weekend we -might- try to go to the coronation of the new King and Queen, but a lot of that is going to depend on how people are feeling and how much work Rin can catch up on. We shall see what happens.

In the meantime, I think I have written myself out of words again, so I am going to get a little bit of sleep before the alarm goes off.

*Nota Bene: I worked at Cracker Barrel when I was in high school, so I have a fair idea of how things are supposed to work. I always compliment managers who have their shit together because several of the ones I worked under didn’t always. It is nice to see the system working correctly. However, the fact that I used to work at Cracker Barrel can occasionally make me annoying to go to CB with because I do know how things are supposed to work and I tend to get tetchy when they don’t.

11 September 2010

There are a lot of things I remember about 9-11. I remember the images of smoke billowing from the towers. I remember wrapping my arms around my pregnant stomach and wondering why anyone would want to bring a child into this world. I remember watching far more news stories than I should have until I finally had to turn them off before I set myself so far past the point of agitation that I got sick. I remember the other personal drama that was unfolding that day (because some people have no class). I remember the overwhelming sense of “this makes no sense” and I remember wondering how people could do something so heinous to their fellowman.

Some of those questions and wonderings are easily answered: people have been committing heinous acts against each other since time began and will continue to do so, the news media will replay something until it not only is imprinted in your brain but until you are near to being sick of it, and 9-11 is no exception…and as for why anyone would want to bring a child into this world? Well, that one is both simple and not.

My daughter is eight now and she is quietly sleeping in her bed. She is a vibrant, intelligent child and she brings joy wherever she goes. It is rare that she meets someone she does not like and more rare that she does not manage to bring at least a smile to the faces of people she encounters. She carries with her a joie de vivre that I frequently wish I could bottle and sell and she reminds me more often than not that no matter how hard life is, no matter how crazy life is, and no matter how lost I feel, I have a reason to keep swimming. For every time she exasperates me, there are a dozen others where she inspires me, amazes me, astounds me, confuses me, and makes me laugh until I can’t breathe anymore.

-That- is why we continue to bring children into the world, because where such joy lives, terror cannot completely win.

September 11, 2001, was a frightening day, an emotional day, an overwhelming day, an unforgettable day. Too many people lost their lives and in the aftermath, too many more have continued to lose their lives in the fight against terror. There were heroes on that day: men and women who left concern for themselves behind and ran into the falling rubble of the World Trade Center, men and women who helped each other out of the buildings and to safety, men and women who staged a coup on an airplane to stop the same fate from meeting another building. In the aftermath of tragedy, the people of America started to pay attention to one another again. I remember reading stories of how the people in New York started to look up at each other again instead of bustling through their days. I remember how people clung tightly to the ones they loved, thankful that they were within arms reach. I remember a country united, less with a desire to seek retribution and more to stand up and say, “As a country we grieve.” Sure, the retribution and calls for blood came later. The name-calling and blame game came later. But in those first days, as people waited for news, we were a country united.

I think about where we are now and I wonder what we have learned. I think about the inane stage show that is playing out over the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque,” and I wonder if we learned anything on that day 9 years ago. I suspect that we did; I also suspect that some of what we learned has long since been buried with the rubble that has been cleared away. Instead, we now cling to tales of buzzwords and finger-pointing, and we have lost sight of some of the things that people started to remember as the towers came down.

In that then, I choose to step away from the chaos and the noise-makers that call themselves journalists and politicians and I think back to the memory of a country united in our grief and our loss and our anger and our confusion and moreover, our care for our fellow man. I choose to think back to the scared pregnant girl who wrapped her arms so tightly ’round her stomach and asked why she could bring a child into this world and I remember the joy that my daughter exudes with such ease and I remind myself that the idiots on television who seek to inflame and infuriate are doing their jobs and that the real things that I want to keep with me are perhaps a bit cliche but are true nonetheless: it is in the people that we find our strength and it is in the people that we find love, hope, and faith.

Nine years have passed and while on the public stage there are arguments about what is or is not appropriate, one thing is certain: people gave their lives that day to help save those who needed help. People died in those towers because someone else’s agenda set acts of terror and chaos into motion. People live today with the scars from their efforts. At the end of the day, it does not matter what stands at or around Ground Zero because it will always be in the hearts of the people (which makes it a tiny bit eerie that my word count at the word “people” was 911); the memory of those who are no longer with us and the love for those who are still alive are carried not in the soil at Ground Zero but in the hearts of Americans (and perhaps the rest of the world, too), and perhaps today, on the anniversary, what we really need to ask ourselves is what really matters. Is it the buildings or is it the people?

If you ask me, it is the people, so today, I will keep a quiet space in my heart and my prayers for those that we lost, and I will keep faith with the people around me and perhaps most importantly, I will wrap my arms around the little girl who was nestled safely in my womb nine years ago and I will hold onto the joy for life and love that she holds and I will tell her how much I love her and how terrible a place my world would be without her. I will tell the people I love how much I love them and I will live because in the end it is living that flips off the terrorists anyway. But mostly? I’ll cling to the laughter of my daughter and remind myself that we bring children into this world to make it a better place and help them make it a better place by teaching them that hatred, bitterness, and anger don’t get you very far, but love, tolerance, and an attempt at understanding just might.

May the gods that we pray to look kindly upon us today and may they give us a breath of peace and a moment of joy as we remember what this day heralds. May those that we honor be remembered and those that remain be cherished in our hearts. May we, at least for a little while, put aside petty differences and unruly chaos and instead return to remembering that everyone around us is fighting their own battle and sometimes, we all need a helping hand. May we smile at strangers and may we laugh with our loved ones and may joy find us before the darkness closes in.