Saturday, August 29, 2009

School has resumed!

Has it really been almost a month since I last wrote? blogging is one of my most rewarding writing experiences and I have been bogged down with Life!

School has resumed. I was sad over not being able to sign up for classes myself, but now I am happy because my suburban died and my husband is in the middle of a huge project that he couldn't get a little time out to help me get to where I would need to be so I would have had to drop the classes.

My kids are in a language immersion school. We have no bus service. I had been walking them to school, then coming home and having to walk back since Mudd is in kindergarten and starts school late, then walking back in the afternoon. It was a mile in each direction which was no big deal, but another mom drives the morning kids to school and takes them all home and I only have to walk Mudd to school. I look forward to getting the 'burb back, but the walks are really nice. We leave much earlier than we have to so we can look at leaves and berries and inspect the creek that we pass on the way to school. I remember walks with my mom when I was 5 and I wonder if these two will have fond memories of us walking.

The older two have a greater struggle with the immersion program but we are making them stick with it. Calamity Jane is having a great time and comes home glowing about her teacher and all her new friends. Her disposition is so sunny that you can get a tan sitting next to her; everything "couldn't be BETTER! I am so lucky!"

Cloud is doing really well with her sports and music. Her coach is a lady who I was in college with, who won every award for position in her sport that she could and I think she was MVP 4 years in a row. She has recruited Cloud for what she coaches and her music teacher also likes her and has told her to start trying out for things. Her music teacher remembered me from several years before when he worked with Peaches. He was standing behind me when he stopped and said that he recognized my voice. He remembered my last name even though it was different from Peaches' and that was really shocking to me, but he said I am pretty distinct. I think it was me scolding an errant toddler that jogged is memory more so than my voice. I have a way of saying, "Uh-uh-uh!" to naughty 3 year olds that is pretty distinct!

There was a case of Guy getting into mischief at school last week. Ahhh! Junior high! I hate dealing with this stuff, but we resolved it. I know it is just the start even if he is good for the rest of school. (Without going into detail, he has impulse control issues: in real life, these things have to be curbed. Thank goodness he is the only one of my kids to have them!)

With some time to just me and 3 year old Starshine, I am having quite a time getting my house organized. It is suddenly easy. Starshine sits and reads books or plays quietly while when Mudd is home, they get into things. I am shedding CRAP by the garbage bag full. My husband is pretty much a packrat and if I throw stuff out with him here, it's, "What are you doing? There are some more uses to that!" Of course if he throws out my stuff, I am as bad. Right now I am looking at things and saying, "Throw away, give away or keep?" Most of it is being tossed out. Everything we uy eventually gets used up and thrown out and it's bothering me. Since Tuesday is the start of a new month, they accept bags of things so I as of Thursday (two days ago) I started saving things again to take down to them.

I feel like I am getting old and crotchety. I'm evaluating my time. I used to love-love-love helping out in various places that were not nice to go to. Hospice, the prisons, homes for really sick people. . . those were my hang outs. I really enjoyed spending my time in those places when I got out and now I am wondering if I really liked them. Did I like them or was I ale to get a change from home and justify it? "They need me." I am doing radio now and that gives me energy. I like interviewing people and playing with sounds. Just for fun (I deleted it after I showed a few people in my house!) I took an interview and made it sound like we were in a bar and took the man's answers and used my own voices and made it sound like he was getting hit on while I interviewed him. I was painting a scene with sound! Anyway-- the old nurturing gigs that I had don't appeal to me now.

Part of the nurturing that bugged me was getting thanked. I hate being thanked-- interviews, yes, thank me for making you sound good and for the hours I will put in to editing! If I spend three hours sitting with someone who is sick, it's an act of love. Thank me once, then tell me that I bring sunshine into your life or that you get a kick out of me telling you funny stories. I don't really need words and I prefer to keep them to a minimum. I don't know why words of thanks bother me so much, but they embarrass me. These things are not what I want in my life now.

I'm purging things from my life. It is sad in some ways because I am not Florence Nightengale and I used to admire people who did those kinds of things. I still admire them, but I don't want to be like them. I have so much time and I have to be selective and ask how much time I can really devote to things and what I am getting out of them for what I put in to them.

I think that radio and writing about what I do is my area. I love going out on a volunteer event, trying it and writing about it. I have been asked to go out on something because of my work at the Examiner and I can't wait to dive into it. I feel so flaky knowing that I will love it, wish I could stay, but if I do, I will soon tire of it. It isn't about the need for newness so much as it is simply not my calling.

I have been hanging out with some new friends, a certain class of women who obsess over their weight. (It has to do with publicity.) My family practices Eastern Orthodoxy. We have numerous fasts and we just stay away from those foods and if offered, we are supposed to accept a small serving so as not to draw attention to the fast. This particular demographic of women worry about their weight and make an issue of it. They work out a lot, but if they see the dessert cart, they make an issue that goes like this:

"Oooooh! I like that Tiger Mousse cake but I'll need to work out an extra half an hour!"

Then another says, "Oh Shiela! You aren't fat!"

Shiela looks astounded and says in a conspiratorial whisper, "I've put on 10 pounds since June!"

I got ticked at an event and took the plate of petite fours from them as they stood staring at it and talking about how much weight they had to lose. Did they really want that little frosted confection? They'd have to work out at least 20 minutes! I said to them, "Don't stand around talking sh--! Either eat the damned things or don't, but don't stand around calling yourselves fat when there are people starving three blocks away and living in tents!" (I happen to be good at publicity for them, and they are interesting. . . and this may turn into a paying job. This stays in my life.)

This is all for now. There is much more to share, but I have a closet to clean and a birthday party to take a child to, not to mention a dessert to eat!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The summer is slipping away. . .

My life is about to tumble into chaos. What am I doing to myself? I have writers cramp from signing up six kids for school. You would think that the The Luddite School District would have us able to sign up online, but that is not the case. The Luddite School District has us doing everything on paper. I asked if they had string and cans set up at the middle school or if they were up to rotary dials yet and they were not impressed with my sense of humour.

I took Cloud in (8th grade) to sign up and one of the narcs was razzing her, “I see a young lady who wants classes in fashion?” Cloud said, “I can learn that on my own. What I want are some good math and science classes.”

He laughed and said he could get her some hard teachers and she blinked at him and said, “I just want someone who can teach science and math.”

Guy is going in to 6th grade. He’s quite happy about it. He has wanted to be an FBI agent but finally realized that with his speech impairments and reading problems that it won’t happen, so he is shifting gears toward being a mechanic or a carpenter. I told him that this is great, that he can build his own home and live happily. “Chicks dig a man who can fix a bathroom door!” He blushed! He is so cute.

I am getting Basil, Dmitri and Mudd into a language immersion school up the road from me. With Mudd in kindergarten and Calamity Jane at a different school that I am on the board at, I'll have four sets of times to get kids to school. I think we’ll be going to bed at 21:00. I don’t know when I will write for pay. The language immersion will be hard at first. The boys did not learn any of their language over the summer, and they are expected to be reading books that kids in a particular country read at their ages. It’s OK that they didn’t—none of the other kids were doing much, either. They will be doing study groups and working their asses off this year. In a way it is good that I don’t have a lot of money because all they will have time for is school anyway. It will be a challenge. Families have to put in time at the school, four hours each month. Cloud has been putting in the Crumpet hours there—she enjoys going in and helping with the work crews of parents and older siblings, even though she is too old to attend.

Starshine is hilarious. I love the age of 4. I loved the age of 4 with all my kids. (She'll will be 4 next month.) The other day after church I decided to go on a walk instead of going straight home after coffee hour. (Actually, Mudd and I had gone for a walk during church—The Lake beckoned next door! Mr. Crumpet glared at us after a long absence and we tried to sneak n’ slosh back in, both of us with wet shoes! Oops!) As we walked around the back roads in the area, we found the Alaskan equivalent of wild raspberries, watermelon berries, red currants. . . Starshine kept saying, “Look! Nature’s gifts!” Yes, she gets it from me. Then of course she is clingy-- they go through a few phases of clinging as they go from babyhood to 5 years (my mom says “babyhood to 30 years.”) At several points, I got too far away from her and she said, “Mother! You get over here this minute! I have a hand that is free and that needs to be held!” One hand was on her hip, the other hand and pointed index finger were making my wrist gesture of, “Get over here now!”

We were playing Go Fish last night and she is learning her numbers. She knows them, sorta. She has little cards with fish on them and on one, there is a zero. I asked her what number was there and she said, “Four.” We had been saying each number and counting the fish and I said, “Starshine! There are no fish in here! Where do you see four fish?” She explained to me that they were hiding and that she had a very silly story about the mommy fish wanting to make them eat dinner but how they wanted to play hide and seek outside for “just a half hour more!”

Oh-- with church. I don't go often. In the summer, my personal time alone to clean, write, paint, muse alone, is non existent so my husband takes the kids to church. I go more often in the winter, but I still need my down time. I went to make sure that I saw our priest before he leaves in two weeks for more school. I told him why i don't go. He got on me, "Oh, you mustn't take for granted the blood and body of Christ!" (Communion.) I don't even feel a connection to my church, I don't feel like I belong, and he said that? With seven kids still st home, he thinks that I take church for granted? Does he know how little time I have alone?!! So annoying. I felt more cut off from this church than ever when he said that. Mental note to self: claim that I am on my menstrual cycle all the time so I don't go, then he'll do the guy thing, "Oh! Mmmm. We miss ya." Some women don't go while on their cycles.

Basil was very funny last week. I tried a new tactic on getting the kids to clean their rooms and pick up after themselves. Some Ph.D. from Quebec said that parents need to make doing a job it’s own reward and to instill in the kids how good we feel when doing something like picking up clutter. I asked him to take care of the kitchen while I did something else and, following male role model's ways, he told a younger child to do it. I got upset with him and told him to do it. He didn’t as he got preoccupied with the laptop. I went in ten minutes later and he said, “Why should I deprive you of the satisfaction and good feeling this brings you?” He was cracking up then and apologized and did it!