Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Snuggly

Ten had a fabulous first day of Fifth Grade. Twelve was not so enthusiastic (to put it very mildly) when recounting her first day of Eighth Grade. One school day down...179 more school days for them to go.

Having survived six (6) hours of sheer boredom, I can safely say that I am not looking forward to two more days of it. One day down...2 more to go.

On a positive note... I got to chat and have lunch with collegues/friends from college that (with whom?) I only see at these boring, mind numbing, meetings. I guess I just have to take the bad with the good.

I've packed everyone's lunches for tomorrow. Made sure that Twelve put her P.E. clothes into her backpack. Filled out tons of forms for Ten's school (what's with that?) and had him put them in his backpack. Now I get to crawl into bed and snuggle down, so that I can wake up at 5:30 am in order to pick up my friend and have the pleasure of driving 1 1/2 hours in morning traffic, so that I can attend another six hour meeting. I sure hope that this one will be more interesting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Is It June 2008 Yet?

Alas, by tomorrow morning summer fun will be just a memory. Ten and Twelve go back to school tomorrow (boo hiss...have I mentioned that I hate that they will have homework?), and I start back at work (boo hiss...have I mentioned that I really, really enjoyed not working??)

I have to get up, for the next 3 morning, at 5:30am in order to be ready to leave the house at 6:30 am. For the next three days, I will be sitting in meetings from 8-2:30. (Yuck!). The information given during the next three days will be the same old, same old. sigh

I guess that I should be thankful that I have a job... a job that I love, when I am not being inundated with paperwork. That's a good thing. I feel greatful that I found a profession that I love to be involved in...I just wish that I could play and hang with Ten and Twelve and that none of us had to go to school or work.

I realize that I could homeschool my kids. I just don't think that I have the personality to do that. I would want to play hookey far to often, and then I would get in trouble for not providing the correct number of instructional minutes mandated. Oh, I know that I could turn anything into a learning lesson, but I know that Ten LOVES going to school and playing with his friends, so he wouldn't enjoy being homeschooled. Twelve, on the other hand would probably really enjoy being homeschooled, but for the wrong reasons.

Twelve already went to bed, after reminding me to please wake her at 6am tomorrow. Ten is still up, watching a baseball game with DH. I have to go to bed soon, so that I can wake up early. Is it June 2008 yet?

On another note, Michele at The Rocky Mountain Retreat had a link to this quiz on her blog. I decided that I better try and jump start (or kick start) my brain, and this is how I fared....

I got 24/25 correct. Not bad for a woman who has been off all summer! Go ahead...give this a try...but don't cheat! Let me know how you do;~)

Friday, August 24, 2007

What I Did On My Vacation

Well, we've been home one week, and I have finally gotten some time on our desktop to be able to download the pictures from our vacation.

After a five hour drive up to Monterey, we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This little guy on the right, is one of the otters that we saw there. They were absolutely adorable! If you ever get to the west coast and find yourself in Monterey...I would definitely recommend that you visit the aquarium.

Here are some jellyfish that we saw at the Aquarium. I couldn't believe how peaceful I felt watching them. However, Twelve knows from first hand experience, just how much their sting really hurts! (She was stung on her leg at the beach one summer).

After the Aquarium, we drove up to Santa Cruz, and visited a place called 'The Mystery Spot'. I've heard of this place for many years. Objects seemingly roll uphill. People look way taller than someone and just by switching places, they suddenly look only mildly taller than that same person. Lots of optical illusions. However, it definitely entertained us. After the Mystery Spot, we went over to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and walked around.

The next morning, we drove about 15 minutes and visited a place called 'Roaring Camp Railroads' where you can take a steam engine up to the redwoods. (see the picture on the right).It was another fun activity. Once were disembarked, we drove up to San Francisco.

While in San Francisco, we rode the cable cars, visited the Palace of the Fine Arts (pictured here), went to the Exploratorium, which is an interactive museum and great for kids and adults alike. We rode buses, ate dinner in Chinatown one night and North Beach (which is like Little Italy in New York) another night. We also visited Ghiradelli Square, and the Wax Museum. The kids wanted to also visit the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum but both DH and I thought it was too creepy.

(On the right is a picture of someone 'turning' the cable car once it got to the end of the line...Twelve took this picture...good for her)

On Wednesday, we visited Alcatraz. It's now part of the National Parks. We took a ferry over to the island, and then took the audio tour. If you ask Ten and Twelve their favorite part of our vacation, they will tell you that it was visiting Alcatraz. The weather during our trip was glorious. No San Francisco fog for us!

On Thursday, we met some friends and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a beautiful day, and we were comfortable walking the bridge in t-shirts and shorts...with our sweatshirts wrapped around our waists...just in case it became windy and cold.

After we walked the bridge (which sure beats walking the plank), we took a bus over to Golden Gate park and visited the Japanese Tea Garden. We drank tea and walked around. It can be a quiet, peaceful almost meditative place, unless you are walking around with a Ten year old male child. Then it's not so quiet. sigh

Finally, on Friday, we took a detour and stopped in San Jose (Do you know the way to San Jose?...I bet Dionne Warwick does) in order to see the Winchester Mystery House. (Funny how using the word 'Mystery' to describe a place suddenly makes it worth visiting). The story goes that Sarah Winchester (who inherited the Winchester fortune, when her husband died) visited a psychic and was told to build a house, and that as long as she kept building, she would appease the souls of people killed by the Winchester rifles...or something like that. The first 1/2 hour of the tour was interesting...after that Ten and Twelve became quite bored. Which was fine, because then we drove home.

As is a photo of Ten, Twelve and myself at the bar in the Rainforest Cafe restaurant. Seems that we each grew extra legs while we were busy walking around San Francisco.

So, here it is, one week later. The trip is just a memory...albeit a really good memory. Any suggestions as to where we should visit next year?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cell Phone Woes

To continue with my whining theme, my cell phone is on the fritz. I purchased it (o.k. it was free with my 2 year trade up and corporate discount) 4 months ago. In the past 3 days, it has decided (for clearly it has a mind of it's own) to only allow random calls to ring through. The rest, it is sending to voicemail.

I have been on the phone (land line) and spoken with level 1 techs 4 different times in the last 2 days. I spoke with a level 2 tech today, and I even went into their local store and had a technician update the phone software today. All to no avail.

The phone will allow me to make calls (kinda) but not receive calls. Now tell me...what is the good in that?

Tomorrow, after I take Twelve to register for her classes, Ten, Twelve and I will head over to the phone store and get me a new phone under a "warranty exchange". Fortunately, I have a micro SD card in the phone, so I was able to save all of my pictures and videos onto the SD card. Now I just have to remember to have them transfer my contact list to the new phone, and give me credit for my ringtones.

Am I forgetting anything?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've Got The Blahs

I haven't felt much like blogging these past few days. The little purple pill that I am now taking, doesn't seem to be working very well. Either that, or I am impatient for it to work better. The literature on it says that it can take 8 weeks for the "discomfort" that I feel to go away. (It's easy to call something 'discomfort' when you are not the one feeling it!) I need it to start working right now!

It amazes me how down I am feeling. I've tried visualizations, praying, bargaining, for the 'discomfort' to go away, watching what I am eating...but nothing is helping.

Hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine (of course it will and it will be 95 degrees outside), I will feel better, and I will be able to post some of my vacation pics. I even have one of Ten, Twelve and I at the Rainforest Cafe in San Francisco. In the meantime, I will continue to eat Tums, acidophilis, breathe in and breathe out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Much Togetherness?

As much as I am enjoying this vacation, I feel that maybe there is just too much togetherness happening.

Not so much with the kids and I (I'm used to spending alot of time with them) but with DH and I. I find that I am much more relaxed when we are not with each other all of the time. I can do what I want to do, and not have to consider, or even think about, what he is wanting to do at any given moment. I like that freedom and independence.

I know that I wouldn't want to be alone all the time (been there done that), but I also know that I don't want to be together all of the time.

I wonder how other people deal with so much togetherness.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Epiphany

The other day I told Patti, in my comment section, that I had had an epiphany, and that I would share it at a later time. Since I am currently away on vacation, I figured now would be the time to share it.

Ten, Twelve and I went to the pool the other night. There were alot of people there. Around one of the tables sat 5 men smoking cigars, in the jacuzzi sat 3 adults and 5 kids, and in the pool there were 3 kids swimming and playing around.

Ten and Twelve went into the pool and started to play together. I proceeded to grab a chair and sit down away from any of the other people. I knew a couple of the men smoking cigars, and I also knew all three of the adults in the jacuzzi, yet I decided against approaching either of the groups.

After a while, Ten proceeded to start playing with the other kids. Twelve swam over to the deep end and pretty much kept to herself. (Both Ten and Twelve knew all of the kids at the pool.) As much as I wanted Twelve to join in with the games and conversation that the other kids were having, I realized that that just doesn't fit her personality.

I've worried about Twelve and her tendency to shy away from people. I've worried about her lack of comfort when in a group. I've wanted Twelve to be more comfortable speaking with people, and making friends. I've wanted Twelve to be more like me...willing to speak with anyone and everyone. (which I do when I am out and about). Yet I realized, that if there is a situation where I might have prolonged conversation with someone I'm not all that interested in, I prefer my own company. I guess that my epiphany was that really, Twelve is like me in many ways (poor thing), prefering her own company over engaging in conversation with people who don't interest her.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

We're Going North

DH, the kids and I will be leaving for Northern California tomorrow. We're driving up the coast. It will be nice to get away. Kind of like our last hurrah, before school starts.
I may bring my laptop with me...then again, I may not. We'll see. Now I have to go pack. (yuck)

Friday, August 10, 2007

That Burning Feeling

I am amazed how much I take the absence of pain for granted. Only remembering to be greatful for the absence of pain, when I am in the throes of experiencing pain.

Work starts for me in a few more weeks. I have woken up the last two mornings with a burning pain where my stomach and esophagus meet. I've experienced this before during a particularily stressful time at work, and my doctor said the problem was either acid reflux, or GERD. She said since both are treated the same way, it doesn't really matter which I have. Last year, after I started taking medication the pain went away, and after 4 months, I was able to stop the medication completely.

I've had this sensation for 2 days (did I mention 2 extremely long days and nights?) My sister and brother-in-law told me that I really needed to call the doctor, so I did. I went in this morning and she wrote a prescription for the stuff that worked last year. NowI get to take a 'little purple pill' everyday...I hope it starts working...and soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

School Supplies Cost How Much?

Just came back from shopping for school supplies for Ten. There are still some items that I need to purchase, and there were some items from the list of supplies, which I didn't have to purchase because I already had them in the house. The bill came to $92.92 . Yes, you read that right, almost $100 dollars in school supplies for just one child going into 5th grade.

What, you may ask could possible cost so much? I bought Ten a 'durable 1 and 1/2" 3 ring binder, 2 packages of college ruled lined paper, crayons, markers, erasers, 12- tab dividers (I don't think there are 12 subjects covered in 5th grade), book covers...well you get the idea.

One item that really has me perplexed was the request for 48 pencils. What could 1 fifth grade boy possibly do with 48 pencils, other than build a fort? Even if he lost things and needed to replace a pencil each week, he would not need 48 of them. Ten figures that he used about 15 pencils while in 4th grade. (and I had to buy 48 pencils last year). Unless they plan to have the students write a tome, I can't see them using 48 pencils in one school year.

So that leads me to these questions. Is it possible that I am being asked to provide extra supplies for those children who's family cannot affort to supply them? It's possible. Is it possible that I am being asked to provide extra supplies for those children who's families can afford to buy them, but choose not to? It's possible. Do I feel bad for those students who's families cannot afford to buy these supplies ? You bet I do. Do I feel resentful towards the parents who can well afford to buy these supplies for their children, but choose not to? You bet I do.

Do I think that the school district should tell me honestly what supplies my son needs for fifth grade? You bet I do. Would I still buy extra so that the teacher would have extra supplies? You bet I would. But I resent subsidizing those who would rather ski in Vail this winter, or go to Europe, or redecorate their houses instead of purchasing the basic school supplies for their children.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Another Afternoon At The Pool

Went to the pool yesterday. Ten, Twelve, one of Twelve's friends and I. Three thirteen-fourteen year old boys walked by the pool. Evidently one of the boys (who lives near us) is friends with Twelve's friend.

So the boys walked past the pool, not once, not twice, not even three times. No siree. In the course of an hour, they walked by at least five (5) times. Oh wait. Did I say walked by the pool? I meant slowly meandered by the pool.

I think I put a crimp in their style.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

It's Starting Early

Ten, one of his friends (not Slugger), Twelve and I went to our community pool this afternoon. (The community pool certainly seems to be providing fodder for my blog.) As we approached the pool we heard many voices and correctly figured out that there were other kids at the pool (yeah).

Turned out, the other kids were girls from his class last year. One of them was having a birthday party. All the girls were saying ‘Hi Ten’ (in that sing song way ten year old girls will talk), and smiling at him. Ten started blushing and looked quite embarrassed.

I’m thinking this is just the beginning.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Is There Something Rotten in Denmark?

Ten plays an online game. He and his friends all seem to share their passwords with each other. (I know, I know...we've told him not to share his password with anyone, other than us, but he's Ten, and up until now, didn't realize how important it was to keep it a secret). Ten worked hard and earned a 'valuable item' we'll call it a 'ring'. Earlier in the week, Ten started crying from the depth of his soul. He told me that someone had hacked into his account and stolen his 'ring'.

Two days later, Ten noticed that Slugger had a 'ring'. Slugger didn't have this 'ring' before Ten's account was 'hacked'. Slugger told Ten that he bought it at a 'party online'. Slugger knew Ten's password. Slugger was willing to sell the 'ring' to Ten at a bargain rate.

Does something sound fishy to you?

Friday, August 3, 2007

I'm An Eavesdropper

Last night, I took Ten and Twelve to our community pool. When we arrived there, we noticed about five 16 year old girls sitting in the jacuzzi. Ten and Twelve proceeded to enter the pool, and I proceeded to 'eavesdrop' on the conversations eminating from the jacuzzi. (These 16 year old girls were certainly not whispering!).

Did you know that these girls:
1) Often lie about where they are going, and think it's o.k.?
2) Push their curfew to the limit, because they know their parents don't really mean it?
3) Are planning to go to the local mountains in the winter overnight, and want to invite boys, but only cute ones, and somehow not tell their parents?

Well now you know.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I Should Have Listened to DH in the First Place.

I'm physically exhausted this morning. Yesterday, in an effort to remove the closet doors from Twelve's room and Ten's room (a story for a different day), I wiped myself out. Now you might say, removing closet doors is no big deal, just unscrew a couple of screws, and they're off. You would be correct, that's all that's involved in removing them however, I wasn't sure exactly where I would store them.

My DH had suggested that I could store them in the garage. I liked that suggestion, but was concerned that the doors might get banged up, and then 400 years from now, when we sell this house, we would have to have custom closet doors made. So I stupidly nixed that idea and figured that I would just store them in a shed, which is located at the side of our house.

Emptied the shed (which was no small chore, as this is a large shed filled with lots and lots of 'stuff'). Looked at all of the stuff and decided to get rid of some of it. (I emptied two 66 quart plastic containers, and two even bigger containers) Many of the things that I got rid of were old baby toys that Ten and Twelve outgrew long ago. Why did I hold onto them for so long? That's the $64,000 question. I guess that I just wasn't ready to let them go before now.

Twelve and I carried one of the closet doors downstairs and tried to put it in the shed. Noticed that I used the word 'tried'. Although I had measured the shed, and thought the door would probably fit inside, I didn't take into account the opening of the door to the shed. (not a bright move on my part). So, then I had to refill the shed and move onto Plan B, which was DH's original suggestion...The Garage.

I needed to clean out, and reorganize one side of the garage in order to be able to store the 4 closet doors along the side of the garage, where they hopefully won't get damaged. Did I mention that it was hot yesterday? Then Ten, Twelve and I had to clean out their messy, and now highly visible closets. More trash bags filled and dragged downstairs to the trash cans. (when did we all accumulate so much stuff?)

So, after much sweating and carrying, the closet doors are in the garage, 1/2 of the garage is organized, the shed has been somewhat emptied and reorganized, and I am exhausted.

Damn closet doors.