Sunday, August 21, 2016

School Daze -- 2016 edition

Gracie started kindergarten about ten days ago.  She's in a mornings-only Mandarin Chinese immersion class.  I think it's wonderful, but she's baffled by it all.  Her teacher does not communicate to the children in English -- ever.  So, the "What did you do at school today?" question gets answered with a blank stare -- probably the same one she gives her teacher every day.  This child has huge brown eyes with ludicrously long lashes, so once she starts understanding and communicating, she'll be the embodiment of an anime character.  (Yes, horrified people, I know anime is Japanese, but to my non-tonal-language-ears they sound the same.)

Rosie thinks her teacher is fantastic and hops off the bus in the afternoons in her usual happy-go-lucky spirits.  I wish I could say more about it, but that's just the way things are.  She's happy in herself and I have no intentions of messing with that by analyzing it.

Cami doesn't really talk to us about junior high.  We know she doesn't have any classes with her friends from last year, but hangs with them at lunch time.  She also has made a friend to include in the lunch crowd, a new student who shares her K-Pop obsession.  She has a British science teacher, which thrills her.  (He's from Manchester, so I suspect there a bit of the Lancashire/Yorkshire teasing going on....and I have noticed that when she comes home from school her accent is a touch stronger.)

Jason and I got an email from the school telling us that they'd like to include Cami in the accelerated math program.  I was that child who felt like I had to be the best at everything, so her non-interest  feels foreign.  She simply doesn't want to be bothered with the extra homework.  Had I not been present at her birth, I really would question how I'm her mother.  But it's highly unlikely that three different hospitals on two continents messed up four times in sending me home with the wrong baby...and that they'd all look alike.  So, she must be mine.

Jason starts teaching tomorrow: advanced logic and a graduate seminar.  (A three-hour grad seminar in the late afternoon -- my grad school nightmare.)

Graham starts his how-are-we-ever-going-to-pay-for-private-school?-private-school at the end of the month.  It's really a miracle, because we feared we'd be paying out of pocket for most of it.  But, extra funding came through & we're ok.  The best part is he thanked us spontaneously for arranging for him to attend a school "without homework."

Drumroll, please:  I'm back at school this year!

Quieter:  No, I'm not heading back to grad school.

Fancy statement:  I'm going to be the Literacy Teacher's Assistant for Primary Students to the school director at Graham's school.

Short form:  I'll be teaching 5 to 7 years olds to love books and writing.  Then I'll watch them play on the school playground for an hour.  (It sounds a lot like what I do already, plus a paycheck.)

At present, I am taking the absolutely unorganized library and turning it into a "hey, I can find things" space.  (Glad I had that summer job as a library page when I was 16.)

So, back to school for me...15 years after I left grad school.  Reading kids' books...the same thing I went to grad school to do.

And so, with all six of in four different schools, I had to write an hour-by-hour schedule for drop-off/pick-up/after school activities.  It's insane.  Thank goodness for the weekends.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

At Home or Abroad

 I've been deleting photos that don't interest me and editing ones that do.  A lot of the keepers are from our years in England.  The images mostly just require lightening, which is an easy fix.

Looking over these photos remind me of good friends and beautiful places, of days when Graham didn't have front teeth and when Gracie looked like an anime character come to life.  Happy days filled with disbelief at our good fortune at living in such a beautiful country.



I showed Cami some images of her playing in the River Wharfe with her best guy friend.  She looked at them with a smile for a moment and then said, "I have to stop.  These are making me too homesick."


Today marks the two year anniversary of when we boarded a plane with the final destination of Missouri.  Today also marks the one year anniversary of when we arrived in Arizona.  Two years of wanting to go home.





Leeds and loved ones, I miss you.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Still laughing

Gracie was just telling us about a YouTube-ing family whose smallest member has his own bathroom.  I asked, "What does he do in his bathroom?"

"I have no idea.  I've never been to their house," came the reply.

"Well, what do you do your bathroom?" I asked.

"Basically, I go in there in times of need."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When I'm bored

I had a fight with Jason two days ago.  "How could you fight with Jason?  He's the nicest guy in the world" would be an appropriate reaction from those of you who know him in person.  And you would be right.  But, remember, *I* am not the nicest person in the world.

And I was bored.

"Boredom is emotional death" should be tattooed on my forehead for everyone to see.  I don't like filling my days with endless busyness, but I can't cope with purposelessness.

Unfortunately for me, my family (both the one I was born into & the one I helped create) is populated by people who don't share my craving for adventure.  Endless YouTube videos and Minecraft is not exactly bliss, but certainly not to be sneered at....which leaves me feeling trapped.   I can't even escape into the world of pretty photos on the internet because the kids have taken over my computer.

So, Jason got to deal with my nastiness.  Lucky guy, right?  (I still don't know why he sticks by me, but he does and I'm grateful.)



In trying to find the good in my wow-I'm-bored days, I spent an early hour outside playing with my camera.  Finding interesting bits that have fallen off the palm tree and the just-sprouted peas, scallions, and beans I planted with the little girls last week.  So, in finding my real life prettiness, I hope to avoid boredom and be nicer to Jason.  Because, truly, he doesn't deserve bored me...and I don't deserve him.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Analyzing Work

I spend a lot of time thinking about home.  About how to make the spaces I live in comfortable and interesting.  About how to make living interesting.

I told a friend just before we moved from St. Louis that I'm somewhat retarded at decorating.  I realize that word is fraught with baggage from bullies and social insensitivity, but when I used it, I meant it in the literal sense.  I have a slowed, almost incapacitated, sense of how to make things beautiful.  My father had a great sense of style, but by the time I was conscious of learning how to live, his visual creativity had been largely stifled by outside forces.

I'm trying to learn, belatedly, from studying a styling expert...and I'm getting paid to do it.  Just once a week, I get to spend the day in a lovely antiques shop.  One of the co-owners has made a random collection of things that catch her fancy into a cave of treasures.  So, here are a few photos that I'm taking home to study.  And you can see the glitzy place where I work.


I'm working to figure out the "height" and "depth" of this little seating area across from the sales area.  You can't see it so much in this photo, but there's a lot of crystal in addition to the decanters in the right foreground.  The chandelier hangs slightly to the left of center and there's a small decanter on the side table.  Almost completely hidden by the mannequin is another gold-and-crystal chandelier, a Murano glass chandelier, and a set of six sherry glasses.


A bust of Shakespeare -- yes.  The Murano chandelier is the one I mentioned with the earlier photo. The crystal on the right is paired with the smaller crystal pendant in a birdcage.


This corner in the second room has always grabbed me.  The 1920s spotlight has been here since the first time I came in the shop.  It's just cool.  But what I like about this corner is how the plane propeller sets the "limit" of the image, framing the vignette.  Even though the propeller dates from WWI, it's exactly right to have the WWII army coat below it.  With the coat collar turned up, everything feels "Old Hollywood" with the spotlight and the champagne.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Bunny Thief

"Mom!  He's stolen my bunny!" Rosie yelled passionately as I was going outside.

Graham ran passed with a small stuffed creature, evading her clutches, and she ended up on the floor.

"You know what?  I don't care."  (I'm a heartless mother sometimes.)

"But he said he's going to make a rabbit stew!" (Rosie often speak with exclamation marks. Periods/full stops are not her natural punctuation.)

"Do you believe him?"

She looked up with a brightly hopeful, and utterly unconvincing smile, "Yes."
 



(To further support my skepticism, she's sitting next to me, editing this post...and provided the title.)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Quiet Sunday Morning

The little girls are makers.  Cutting out paper hearts and writing love notes are Rosie's favorite.  Gracie likes to cook, create with Lego, and do whatever it is that Rosie's doing.  Sometimes making valentines is a little tame, though, and empty moving boxes become rocket ships.

This morning they took their engineering prowess a step further and made a transmogrifier, a la "Calvin and Hobbes."





Unlike Calvin's original, Rosie's and Gracie's transmogrifier offers gender-reassignment; Graham thought that he'd like to use that function. The girls were agreeable, but before the transformation could take place Jason noticed our bouncy boy was especially bouncy and suggested Graham go jump on the trampoline for a few minutes.  As he went out the door, Graham announced, "I'll go take my gender outside."

Best moment all morning.