Thursday, March 31, 2011

Slightly bothered by guilt

I own a tree. A little Pine tree that is housed in a very nice travel coffee mug. (Oh, how I love travel mugs!) A little Pine tree that was a gift from the local car dealership that fixed the results of our recent icy-road encounter with another car. My sweet husband loves this body shop and says he has never worked with such superior customer service. And better still: they're GREEN! They heat their building with reclaimed motor oil and the energy that comes out of their machines! They use only water-based paints!! And they're soon installing wind turbines and solar panels!!!

Lovelylovelylovely in every way.

So now I have this little thank-you token.

Just between us? I despise Pine trees. There are three in the corner of my yard and I've been threatening to cut them down for eleven years. They just look so unkempt.

I really have thought about planting this new little life - on someone else's property. It's a cute baby, so I can't just throw it away, you know.

Maybe I'll sneak over to a patch of woods near my work tomorrow and if no one reports me for suspicious activity, I'll plant it there.

I DO love nature.

I DO love companies who work green.

I DO love most trees.

And I do really, really want to be able to use that travel mug.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What do I know?

After all these years of parenting and teaching, I'm pretty adept at predicting the behavior of adolescents. The basic rule is this: if one deviates from the pack in appearance or behavior, he or she will be teased. Sometimes mildly and in fun and sometimes more determinedly and with true malice. I've seen it happen at work. I've seen it happen at home.

Yesterday the music teacher at our local elementary school suggested that her students dress nicely for their trip to the symphony today. I laid out khaki pants and a polo shirt for my boy, but he came walking down the stairs looking like this.

I worried about the reactions of the boys in his class who have bullied him a bit this year. Apparently he was a little worried, too, and he decided if the teasing got too bad he would just leave the jacket, tie, and vest in his backpack.

At the carpool stop, our passenger walked up to the car, looked at my son through the window and smirked. My boy put his head down and reiterated that he would probably take the jacket off right away. Then the other student got in the car and said,
"Dude, why didn't you tell me you were wearing a suit?! I wanted to wear mine but was scared to."

My boy walked into school afterward looking a lot taller and smiling like the self-actualized young man he already is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How quickly can I get another appointment?

My herniated disk and I have lived together for many years now in relative peace. Occasionally, it gets upset and says a cruel word or two to me, but other times it has a full-blown temper tantrum and screams and threatens to take hostages. A variety of doctors have given me their best advice, but truthfully? Nothing much helps. It's just a waiting game for the disk to get its temper back under control so we can go about our lives.

Then yesterday happened. An impulsive call to a chiropractor near our local 7-11. I figured if the treatment didn't work, I could at least console myself with a Slurpee. I sat in the waiting room second-guessing my decision. Our insurance doesn't cover it. Heavy-duty pain pills really can be lovely. I was almost ready to leave when it was my turn. I allowed that very nice man to push me around and pummel me a bit. He even strapped my ankles to a table and bounced me. I felt marginally better. And then I met the water table.

It looks just like this one, and it's one of the greatest gifts technology has given us. A water bed, a heater, rolling massage thingies. It was almost as good as warm, sunny April day with a gentle breeze. It may have only been ten minutes that I was allowed to use my new favorite friend, but if I could have moved quickly enough, I might have punched the chiropractor for telling me I had to leave.

I don't think my back was any better after I left the table, but those ten minutes?

Pure bliss.

What is making you happy this week?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Gaggle of Girls

Dear mothers of young daughters, listen well and heed my advice. Get thyselves to the store where friends are sold. Buy several dozen for your daughter. Do not worry about coupons. Do not try to shop sales. Be willing to pay full price. You must do this today.

You see, one day your little girl will be a teen-ager and she will come home and tell you that she and her boyfriend have parted company. You will think, "Who didn't see that coming?" but you will refrain and instead say, "Great!" Your daughter will gaze at you with eyes bathing in unshed tears, and then she will turn to her girlfriends. They will tell her that he was a:




and any number of more colorful descriptors.

You will try to tell her that these things happen. Her friends will march right up to him while he chats with his friends and demand to know just what he was thinking. They will send him dirty looks at lunch. They will blow-up his Facebook with mean comments.

You will tell her that she is beautiful. They will cry with her and fight over which of them will get to "marry" her so that her Facebook status won't have to say single.

You will assure her that she is talented and strong and ... they will tell her that the cute guy in geometry class likes her.

And later that night, when you spend a little time with the Lord, you will humbly thank him for sending friends such as these into your girl's life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Revenge can be so sweet

All year there has been division between the varsity and junior varsity choirs at our high school. I suppose the division is easy enough to understand, but much harder to accept - especially when the division gets snarky and my daughter is in the j.v.
"I'm having a party this week-end. Oh sorry! It's for varsity only."
"Hey, all the choir kids should eat lunch together. Oops! I meant varsity."

But despite the us and them mentality, both choirs had vocal ensembles which made it to the state finals last week. The varsity ensemble went first and received a second class rating. In all their wisdom, they lectured the junior varsity:
"We got only a 2, so since you're only the junior varsity, be prepared to get a 3 or even the lowest score: a 4."

Now don't you just love it? The junior varsity ensemble got the highest rating: a 1.
And to make it just a little sweeter, the junior varsity ensemble was ranked 4th in our division of the state. The varsity? Unranked.

When the varsity group posted on Facebook that their lives were ruined because they had lost to the "lesser" ensemble, well, I shook my head. But I have to admit, I smiled like a maniac, too.

To read about what makes other people happy, go visit Leigh.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

FF: Living without a map

~We had a spring day, and it's amazing what warmer weather will evoke. My boys were outside for hours wearing only shorts. The water guns were blazing, the basketballs were missing the net with abandon, and the trampoline was back in use. There is no happier music anywhere.

~I was glad my boys were outside because I was heartily singing, "S & M". I love the music but the lyrics?? Would it have been too much for her to sing about m&m's instead so I could sing it in public?

~This week has been my spring break and I've not accomplished much, but I am in a purging mood now, so watch out kitchen. I'm about to reclaim some cabinet space. I keep repeating, "If I haven't used it during the last year..."
~There are teachers whose style I don't want to emulate: my child is struggling with math class. Child always does the homework. Child asks us for help. Child works with tutor. Child has lost sleep over the the class. Parents have had conferences with teacher. Yesterday the teacher told the class that anyone with a low grade was obviously making no effort. Did we miss something there???

~Have you seen the barn door style used as interior sliding doors? ~I LOVELOVELOVE barn motifs, and have spent years lobbying for barn lights in my house. Checkered hasn't budged on his refusal. I'm thinking I might back off the lighting request in a ploy to get those doors. Who says collective bargaining no longer thrives here?

~Here's a not-so-lovely factoid: of all the American jobs lost in the last decade, 50% were Michigan jobs.

~And now, because warmer weather calls for changes...
...I've never colored my hair myself but today is THE day. Any hints ?
~Here are two places you must visit: Mrs. 4444's, of course, and my friend Susan. (At Susan's blog, click the post title to bring up the comments page.) When you see Susan, please thank her for enduring my incessant chatter during our sons' karate class.

Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Open Eyes

Jerry works as a bagger at a Kroger nearby. He is exceptionally friendly and engages me in conversation. That conversation always revolves around these topics:

he is 55,

he loves the show, Charmed,

he hopes to be the ball boy for the Detroit Pistons,


he really, really wants to be Boy Scout.

Most of the time Jerry is talking, I spend fretting because I've spent way too much on my purchases. I look at the things we could have done without, but they are things my kids love. Those four children always smile when I walk in with some of their favorite treats. So while I've spent far more than I should have, I did it to show my children how much I love them.

Yesterday Jerry put several packages of meat on top of a carton of eggs. He dropped the milk on top of the meat, and I felt my annoyance couple with my anxiety about the final bill. I was late to pick up one of my sons, but Jerry was only to the ball boy part of his discussion and I may have sighed.

And then it happened with no warning. I had an epiphany.

I was reminded that Jerry is as precious to the Lord as my own children are to me.

That thought literally rooted me to the floor.

With one last toss of a box of Clementines on top of a delicate and ridiculously expensive bag of apple chips meant for my son, Jerry reminded me:

"Ma'am, I really want to be a Boy Scout."

He didn't even seem alarmed at the motionless woman who stood there smiling and discreetly dabbing the tears in her eyes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Reason to Love a Grandma

My four children have never been great sleepers. It began when the first child was born and decided that there was so much more to life than sleeping. That message was passed along to each of her three younger brothers and left me absolutely exhausted.

I would call my mom and complain and she would say,
"Bring them to Kentucky. They'll sleep here."

We would pack up and spend the day traveling and when we arrived I would warn again,
"They never sleep through the night."

My mom would cuddle up with her grandbabies and begin to rock, and then sleep would win.

And, yes, they always slept through the night.

Those babies are well on their way to growing up now, but they still say there's no sleep as wonderful as a Kentucky sleep.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Proof Positive

No one ever recruited me to work in a science department. No one ever begged me to work for a police department. And no one ever asked me to write a book on theology or geometry, but I am an expert on all things that need proving.

For example:

Case one ~ siblings can deliberately share strep

Last week middle boy with strep took a mouthful of his drink and then leaned over emptied the straw into his brother's glass all while the brother continued to drink. This week the brother has strep.

Case two ~ I chose the right profession

...except I've been doubting that lately. Then on Tuesday a former student ran across a parking lot to hug me. That hug was worth all the students who don't run across anything to hug me.

Case three ~ Facebook is wonderful

My sister "found" my first best friend this week via Facebook. It has been...gulp...40 years, but I would still recognize her anywhere.
Case four ~ I am a weather expert

March at 25 degrees is far colder than January at 25 degrees. Trust me.

Case five ~ One can repeat underwear without major consequence

I suggested to my youngest son that since he had worn the same underwear for two days, it was time to change. He replied, "To be precise, I've been wearing this pair for two weeks and I'm still okay." He was right, of course, unless we count the deliberate strep. Somehow I doubt that the two are connected.

And the last case: after two weeks of minimal blogging I have learned that I can survive without blogging, but I really can't survive without bloggers. Thanks to all of you who brighten my days :)

Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

He thinks he is in charge

For months he was adamant that after Cub Scouts, he would never again be a scout.
Never ever. EVER!

Then he received:

1 Arrow of Light award
and was invited to

1 "top-secret" meeting with the Boy Scout leader and some older boys who revealed some of the information known only to the "chosen".
He completed Cub Scouts just over one week ago.
In the last seven days, he has attended two events for "his" new Boy Scout troop and bragged just a little to his friends.

Patience and biting one's tongue are equal virtues - in my book anyway.

For more happy thoughts, go see Leigh.