Archive for June, 2006

short version of the last week and a half:

was hellaciously sick for about 36 hours. nothing like breaking a fever in an air conditioned room. meh.

gardens are coming along a piece; the rock ledge garden has filled in nicely, with a good sequence of blooms, as has the left side garden. front one, i’m still working on moving things around for optimum arrangement. newest driveway garden is coming along. two others need to be pruned back and re-edged. the backyard… eesh. don’t get me started on the back yard.

MedSma finished up school (nearly corrected the typo, then liked the Scottish look of it), did surprisingly well on his final report card (only surprising because his teacher was a tool, and ask me if you missed the first round), and got the teacher i wanted him to have for next year. *happy dance*

i had spoken with the principal about the assignment, and said ‘look, i know you weigh all sorts of variables. and yes, the peer mix was much better this year than last. but, look. i want him to have a year where he can really establish a good teacher bond. first year was a loss, because of the bullying situation. this year, he is afraid of his teacher.’ *much pedalling of views* ‘look, i don’t really care how he came to that conclusion. you need to know that he spent a lot of time in tears because he was afraid his work wasn’t perfect enough for her, and that she would yell at him. and he was continuously worried about how to make her happy.’ *much more pedalling of views* ‘LOOK. i am telling you how he feels. factor it in with all the other info you have, and i trust that you will give the information the appropriate weight. because it’s important to me that he have a good, solid year where he can trust his teacher.’ *lightbulb goes off*

and when it comes right down to it, i don’t care if my comments were the swing vote, or just did no damage to a de facto decision. i’m just pleased as punch that he got the teacher i wanted for him.

of course, after the fact, MedSma said he liked her better because her classroom ‘wasn’t so close to the boys [bath]room, which is wicked loud.’ that’s my boy! 🙂

hubby is working, both more and less. school is out, so one job is quiet for a bit. and school is out, so the other job can pick up speed for the summer.

we just came back from MedSm’s last game… wherein he and his team were crowned the Citywide Champions of Little League. pile this on top of his team winning the division championship last week, his coach getting a well-deserved coach of the year award, and MedSm pulling it out in the last inning of an overtime game to hit the *only* out of the park grand slam in the division to keep his team in the playoffs the week before that… all and all, he’s had a stellar inaugural season.

i’m loving my job, and not because it’s a cakewalk, because it isn’t. well, some bits are, but others aren’t. it’s creative, and challenging, and pushes me to be more aware and flexible, and step outside my comfort zone, pretty much every day. i think it’s healthy and positive to seek out that sort of challenge, and miraculous to find it in a supportive environment.

plus, i’ve started up job #2, where i have my own little franchise, and can pick up as much or as little work as i want and need to make ends meet. it’s a good fit, i think, and i am very anxious to be *thatmuchcloser* to solvent, once again.

also, today? in addition to MedSm’s cham-peen-ship, we all (he, me and hubby) travelled down to my parents, to meet up with my sis, and her hubby, and their brand spankity new bebe. the Jman is adorable, and sweet, and *weensy!*, and fabulous, and it was great to have even a few hours catching up with everyone and meeting him. MedSm got to hold him, and after wigging out a bit (‘he’s a little person! and i’m holding him!’), was pretty cool about the whole deal, and dug it.

finally drying out from The Floods, and hoping that we’ll get a decent summer in, ’round here. 🙂


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monday madness!

1. Do you own a digital camera?

yep. Casio Exelim. works like a charm, and has a great preview screen, bigger than most i’ve seen. since digicams remove you one level from your subject by having you look at a preview screen instead of the (largely useless, on most digicams) viewfinder, it seemed sensible to get a large screen.

2. What is your camera of choice?

se above for current cam of choice. before that, it was a Canon Elph… sweet little camera, of which i owned two. one was liberated in Heathrow, the other is still kicking around the house somewhere.

3. If you’re a digital camera fan, do you print your own photos, or do you send them in to be printed? If you send them in, do you have a favorite place?

hm. digicam fan… well, i love them for the instant feedback, and the general idiot proofing. i can take small movies, change the flash and exposure in a heartbeat, zoom in, take sepia tone retro pics, and the thing is half the size of a deck of cards. can’t beat the convenience. i don’t send things out to be printed, because for the most part, i can share them online, or file them away for later. i’ve printed a few shots at home on our handy dandy all in one HP. if i need anything fancier than a 5×7, tho, i’d likely go somewhere like CVS.

4. How many pictures do you take a month?

depends on the month. if MedSm has events, or hubby is performing, or we have family events, i’ll take upwards of a hundred, hundred fifty. other months, the camera languishes in a forgotten corner.

5. How many of those pictures actually get printed?

next to none. they all get saved to disc, tho.

6. Are you planning on purchasing a new camera in the near future?

nah. this one does me just fine for digital, and i’ve still got the Elph floating around, should i have a hankering for film.

nota bene: i do believe i’m about to cave, and set up a flickr account. once i figure out the public/private filters (because some shots are just for family), then i’ll let you know. 😉

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you run close enough to the edge for long enough, and your body will ultimately server you up a big ol’ helping of ‘piss off! we’re sick!’.

i’ve had something verging on flu for two days.

and insult to injury, it’s finally gorgeous, summer weather outside. *sniffle* *cough*

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because, honestly, i can’t take it anymore.

‘rain, rain, go away. no, that’s it. go away.’

i’m desperately seeking an upside… my gardens are well watered, and the water bill will stay down. the electric bill won’t suck yet, because we haven’t put in the AC… oh, wait. the two sump pumps cancel that out. i haven’t had to switch over my wardrobe yet, or find Shorts That Fit.

man, that’s weak. that, my friends, is a really weak list of pluses.

me: ‘man, i hate the rain. doesn’t it suck?’
MedSm: ‘yeah, i feel like a Cheerio that’s been in a cereal bowl for five days.’

and that about sums it up, don’t you think?

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comment on this entry and i will give you a letter. write five words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.

(courtesy of the lovely MissMeliss, who indulged me in my love of words and letters, despite coming late to the game.)

i suppose one of the Cs could have been control freak, but i’m choosing positive words, and i’m not sure that counts as one word. 😉 instead, i’ve decided to do a little Navel Gazing, and pull out words that have especially resonated for me in the last year or two.

ritters. those of you familiar with The Ark probably need no explanation for this one – but i think i might need one. much to my surprise, one thing that was released when we bought the house was my need to tend and nurture. well… i suppose that’s not quite accurate. that’s always been part of who i am, and something that’s really come into full blossom as i find out more and more about who i am, who i can be, and how to feel comfortable in my own skin. this facet of it, tho, caught me off guard – the desire to have a bunch of small, furry pets, and some fish, and a few lizards and frogs, ostensibly for MedSm but we all know that’s only an excuse. i’ve always been a cat person, and love my kitty to bits, cranky pesty old man that he is. the rest of them? quite an eye opener, and such a treat to learn more about the critters we share this planet with.

ultivating my gardens. the act of gardening is defiance, practice and meditation, all at once. reclaiming the grounds around my home, creating beautiful spaces bursting with texture and color, learning more about the microclimates, soil, plants, mulching, and growing, simply stepping out of the house and seeing splashes of color *that i helped grow*, taking satisfaction in building a stone wall or three, creating a new flower bed, refusing to let the weeds win, refusing to make it a competition, instead choosing to meld into the process and shepherding it along… it’s a process that helps me learn patience, and attention, and how to get in touch with the peaceful part of me that loves to sit and watch things grow.

ompanionship. (and perhaps you have to have an Eastern bent to see the C in that image.) there is so much encompassed in that word, companionship. first and foremost, i am grateful every damn day for the gift in my life that is my marriage. hubby is an amazing person, and being with him helps me to be a better person. what we create between and around us, the cocoon that we weave to keep us safe and whole, the web that we build to connect us to our friends and family, is an amazing foundation. and being able to curl up next to him at the end of the day, connecting skin to skin, and feeling the rightness of being together, is amazing.

i’m also blessed with wonderful friends and family. i’ve always been fiercely loyal (if not always the best correspondent) to the people i love. and they have given me back the same gift of fierce loyalness. it’s not always an easy gift; that ferocity sometimes comes out sideways, and there are occasionally tough conversations. but. but i wouldn’t have it any other way. they credit me with the ability to come to the table and have the conversations, for which i am grateful, and i hope i’m able to sufficiently return the gift in giving them my attention and devotion.

the most recent journey in companionship is building new friends and community. taking root here in My Small Town, learning how to be a parent (and one who had to hit the ground running), figuring out how to step out of my habitual shell and make *new* friends in a new environment, taking a job in no small part because it will continue to push me in that direction, in ways both small and large, choosing to connect to family in new ways as we all grow and change (and multiply!) has been an amazing ride, one that i’m happy to stay on.

ooking. the kitchen has always been a comfortable domain for me. loved helping mom as a kid, experimented on the family at an early age, and eventually became more competent. 😉 among my earliest food memories was making butter in nursery school, or maybe day care. (note to self: ask mom about that one.) we were sitting on a small wooden porch, taking turns shaking a small glass jar of cream. and when it finally felt like my arms were going to fall off, the butter started to come together. don’t remember who was holding the jar, but i do remember how amazing it was to make a solid, tasty thing out of cream, just by trying. and then there was one afternoon in our first house – i must have been about 8ish, and bro was 5ish. i climbed up on the counters, got down all sorts of bowls (plastic and Pyrex, bless my parents for having unbreakable dishes), and Many Many Sweet Things. sugar, peanut butter, honey, jimmies, and probably a half dozen others – maybe jelly, and Fluff, among them. we spooned, and measured, and mixed, and invented, and ate ourselves sick.

lately, it’s been a bit more upscale. 😉 i love cooking for our family, and friends, and building a repertoire of good recipes. cooking for many is different than cooking for one in so very many ways. it’s been a learning process, and i think i’m just getting the hang of keeping a well stocked family pantry, and how to sneak in veggies, and how to whip together dinner in 20 minutes without losing my mind. and as i walk thru the grocery store, i can hear myself at the deli counter, helping my mom shop when i was 6. ‘half a pound of beef baloney, half a pound of provolone.’ those words were my mantra, with their own rhythym; i’d repeat them over and over, afraid i’d get it wrong. years later, i hum them along, under my breath, and have my mother by my side, as i watch out for my own family while shopping.

hildren. much like critters, this one was a sneak attack. 🙂 i feel sort of like an anomoly among women: i’ve never dreamed about giving birth, or holding my baby (well… there’s a whole ‘nother post about Corwin Michael there, which i may revisit), but i’ve often thought that i could raise a good kid. (right alongside this is the fact that i never dreamed about my own wedding, or being a princess, or prom queen, or any of that balderdash. but that’s another other post.) so i suppose it’s fitting, in some ways, that my kid came into my life pre-fab.

MedSm was about 4 when he and i became part of each other’s lives. there have been twinges, especially around BioMom, or people who can’t see past their own noses, where i’ve been made to feel badly about not popping him out myself, or at least being there for the puke and colic and diapers. but most days, i’m glad that we met when we did. knowing him is constantly humbling, and frustrating, and delightful, and fabulous.

in the process, as part of being increasingly involved with his life, and his school, i’ve learned more and more about kids in general. and y’know what? they’re pretty cool. they’ve opened my eyes and heart to a whole new (and much shorter) perspective on life, for which i’m grateful. and it’s good to be reminded of the lenses others use to see the world – we were all once there, we can dig up those memories, we can connect with that point in our lives where everything really *was* black and white because that’s the way our brains worked, and it’s a good exercise in compassion.

if you haven’t done this recently, talk to a kid. get down on his/her level – and i mean that physically. crouch, kneel, sit, lie down, whatever it takes. get down there, ask them what the best part of their day was, and just listen. the answers are sometimes surprising, sometimes funny, and always enlightening. that has become a standard question in our home, either at the dinner table or when one of us needs to snap out of a funk. and it’s a great opening to so very many onversations.

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