Sunday, December 19, 2010

X-mas 2010 Our Best Ever!!!!

Why?, you might ask. Three words: Sleep Away Camp. It wasn’t easy finding a camp that would take a 7 year old. But I’m good at persevering when my own sanity is at stake.

The girls went to Camp in our local mountains where they played Paintball, took ballet, did archery, drove quads, went swimming, had midnight dessert parties, Glowie performed a ballet duet and Blondie, our quiet kid, won Camper of the Week.

While the girls were in Camp, Mommy and Daddy went to Napping Camp. No awards were given and we were not asked to demonstrate what we’d learned for anyone else. It was awesome. The goal next year? Two weeks of Napping Sleep Away Camp.

Normal things happened. And we celebrate normalcy these days:

Blondie graduated from the 5th grade, with as many honors as a 10 year old can carry out of a School Cafeteria. They even had a 5th grade dance, which was really just the same School Cafeteria filled with over-excited 10 year olds screaming and running around like lunatics. Oh, just like our house at 3 p.m. Including Mommy screaming at the aforementioned 10 year olds.

We are nothing if not creatures of habit: Ballet and Jazz for Glowie (and the two annual performances that she lives for); Soccer for Blondie (and the practices and games that suck a family dry). Piano for both of them (lessons given here in the house, making this the sanest thing we do).

This year Blondie added Saxophone to her repertoire, but she’s pretty sure if she could just play the trumpet her life would be fulfilled and complete.

This was our fourth summer here in Palm Springs. I have come to a startling conclusion. Summer in Palm Springs sucks.

We were so fortunate to have our little trailer in the woods. We went up and down the hill on a regular basis while holding things together at the office, and time spent this summer up in the cool mountains was the best and most amazing experience of our lives.

Here’s what we’ve discovered we love about Palm Springs: Fall and winter. It is gorgeous. So we have celebrated the beauty by taking up hiking. Now by “hiking” I mean we go up a trail for 20 or 30 minutes, then we turn around and come down (in some cases, scoot down.) But who knew there were waterfalls just a couple of miles from our house? It’s heaven. (Though hard on the joints. Greg’s and mine. Not Blondie's or Glowie’s.)

Blondie loves Middle School. It feels so independent. I love it too. Especially the part where I can check her grades from the comfort of my own computer, any time I’d like. (Independence only goes so far when you are in the 6th grade.) Good grades, good friends, Band and a longing for a cell phone. She’s a normal 11 year old. But I think she is extraordinary. She has a sweet heart, she is so hard working and disciplined. She is our gentle soul, and in this family, we need her grounding!

Glowie loves 2nd grade. What’s great about Glowie? She loves everything. If there is a morning when Glowie doesn’t wake up happy, loving, joyous and excited? I know that she has the flu. She loves her teacher, her dogs, her friends and well . . . EVERYTHING!

Both my daughters have been our teachers. Glowie reminds me to quit sweating the small stuff and remember the joy. Blondie teaches me about deep, quiet abiding love.
We are blessed.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Magic Dress

So, a long time ago when my kids were really young, I had a rather interesting view of fashion. I loved the brand Fresh Produce and Jamz. You know, I was trying to live some sort of beach lifestyle, even though I lived in the desert.

Though I still love my yoga pants, back then? Yoga pants were what I wore to parties or fancy dinners, just with a nicer top.

You know, something silk, box cut, enormous, with a (now) kinda embarrassing print on it.

Hey, there were no Stacie and Clinton back then. And on my own? Scary bad.

So anyhow, I had this dress I had ordered through a catalogue. A “swing” dress if you will, T-shirt cotton, with some extremely bold fish graphics. I felt so free and breezy in this dress. You know, like the model who is laughing, face to the camera, and she skips, her back leg bent up in the air with joy? That was me. In my mind.

I wore it when our friends Daisy and Dennis would come to dinner. I wore it to run errands around town, I took in on vacation. Flip flops, high heels, leggings. It was the go-to dress.

And it also had magical qualities.

Cuz one day I was hiring a babysitter for my oldest daughter, who was 1 year old at the time. So I put an ad in the local paper. And a young girl came for an interview. She was 17, graduating from High School. She was planning to attend the local Community College and study nursing.

There was something about this girl I truly loved. She was smart, you could see that right away. She was loving, but not over the top.

She also really needed a job and the money.

When I asked her about tidying up after herself and the baby, she told me her Mama ran a tight ship and she wouldn’t think of NOT picking up.

And she knew how to clean. Again, her Mama had rules and requirements.

I asked her to start . . . right that minute. So out to the swingset she went, with little toddling Blondie.

And while I watched them through the kitchen window, my hands in the pockets of my Magical Swing Dress, I felt peace. Not just the kind of peace you get when someone ELSE is entertaining your toddler, but peace like you just met “the one”.

Now did she turn out to be the “one”? Well. No. And yes.

Cuz a couple weeks later she informed me that she wasn’t really going to the Community College. She has a full scholarship to a prestigious women’s college back east. But she was afraid if she told me the truth, I wouldn’t hire her. And she was right.

But she became “the one” in so many different ways. She spent all her summers and breaks home with us. She and her family were there for us when Glowie was born, and needed major surgery. She went on vacations with us.

She was a passionate, beautiful, bright young woman and she loved my daughters and they loved her. Whatever I could “snag” of this sweet girl… well, we couldn’t get enough.

Sara has been in our lives for 10 years. We have watched her graduate college, get married, get a master’s degree, work on her PhD. And now she is pregnant.

And you know what a pregnant woman needs? A really comfortable swing dress. With bright colors. And Magic Powers.

Maybe some day she will find her own Sara. And then her life will never be the same. Thank Goodness.

But when she is interviewing? Have I got the outfit for her!

P.S. I love you Sara.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

24 hours in Glowie’s Life. Help me!

So I’m waiting to pick up my Blondie, my older daughter, at Middle School, when my phone rings.

“Oh Shit,” I say to the Mom I’m talking to, “that’s the elementary school. This is NEVER good!”

I’m waiting to hear: “Blah, blah, blah . . . Fell off the monkey bars again.” OR: “Blah, blah, blah . . . projectile vomiting.”


What I hear is the principal, identifying himself all formal-like saying: I have Glowie here in the office with me.

Uh. Okay. Is it a skinned knee or the next version of the swine flu? And why is the principal calling me?

Glowie is being “counseled” today about the choices she made on the playground. A little boy wouldn’t stop knocking down her sand castles. (Hey, my kids don’t get to the beach much. #never) So she stood up, all 34 pounds of her, and kicked the crap out of some kid who double outweighed her. Of course then the little boy turned around and shook her silly.

So they both got called in. Parents were called. Recesses were missed.

I apologized and thanked him. I also told him we would be discussing this at home and there would be some kind of consequence or follow up. Cuz that’s the right thing, right?

So I have a conversation with her about choices. What could she have done? Well, she asked him to stop and he did it again. She told the playground lady, who told him to stop, but then he went back and did it again.

“I just wanted him to stop Mommy.”

Yeah, I got it kid. And I want to be thin. Sometimes you gotta work with the circumstances you’ve got. Sometimes, my Little Glowie: You need to walk away.

So she has to write a letter to the principal and to the little boy, apologizing for making the choice that she did make.

In the privacy of my bedroom? There was a small victory dance being done. Cuz I LOVE a kid that solves problems and stands up for herself.

But of course, kicking is wrong. #stilldancing

Btw, the next morning? Glowie was receiving an award for being the Author of the Month. She wrote a five page essay about our family values. And she didn’t mention the word “martini” once.

Gold Star Baby! Gold Star.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fuck You Minimum Days!

Can we talk about Minimum Days and how they are destroying my life?

(Well, not destroying my life, but certainly putting a crimp in my daily Mojo.)

Really, how many of these things do we need to have?

When will I write my blog for God’s Sake?

And also, Dear School District – is there some fucking reason why you can’t put the Middle school and the Elementary schools on the same MINIMUM DAY SCHEDULE?

Cuz really, there is nothing I love more than getting my older daughter out the door and to school at 7:20, then home to get the little one ready and out the door at 8:15, come back home, go to work, THEN PICK UP THE MIDDLE SCHOOLER AT 11:30?

Are you flipping trying to KILL THE PARENTS?

Where’s my Minimum Day Mrs. Superintendent??? Where’s my MOMMY IN SERVICE DAY?

I could use some group support and training. (Or a spa day. Just sayin’.)

Frankly, I’d like a school day that ended at 4:00 p.m. for both schools.

(Really, that is a lie. I really want a school that ends at 5:00 p.m.)

(Still lying. 6:00 p.m. would be even better. But I don’t want to supervise homework when they get home.)

I don’t know whether to put a “Potty Mouth” alert at the beginning of this blog, or a “Over-Use of Capital Letters” alert.

Hey. I’ve got feelings.

I’d share more with you, but I have to pick my kid up. AT 11:30!!!