Monday, February 27, 2012

Zombie

In the latest, "You look just like that actress..." sighting, the next door neighbor and her husband vote for
Walking Dead's Sarah Wayne Callies. With no idea who they were referring to, we made a quick online search. Skater Girl concurs. I see the resemblance here, but not so much in other images.
Middle Child and I are both zombies today. Last night's movie night (a zombie-free pick: The Vow) was interrupted by a false fire alarm at the theater. Fortunately, our screen was still showing the previews when the alarms went off requiring evacuation. (Somebody else's kid is in big trouble for that little stunt...) Waiting for the all-clear, and then for the movies to be restarted, meant returning home well after bedtime. There I found Middle Child parked on the stairs to waiting to ask for help on her course selections for next year. (Which she had all weekend...) We were up well past midnight. A few hours later, we were the walking dead shambling downstairs and out to the car at a quarter to six.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Truth or Dare

I used to wonder why swimsuits were in stores in February. Today it's 76 degrees outside. I dare say this not only explains the swimsuits, but also the seemingly early clearance on outerwear that was displayed right next to the teeny-weenie bikinis. Middle Child picked out a swimsuit, but I opted for perusing the coat clearance instead. My decision was in part based on it being (Let's just say it again to be completely clear.) February- which is clearly a Winter month in North America. At least, it's supposed to be winter.

That preference for coats this time of year was not solely related to what sort of weather ought to be gracing Pleasant Suburb though. One ought to be honest, after all.  That said, just because honesty is a virtue does not make it a desirable trait in clothing. The swimsuits won't lie to me. Worse, they don't lie to anyone else about precisely what shape my body is in at the moment, either. The coats? They're far more likely to hide the truth. And right now, the truth could stand to be hidden for at least a few more weeks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coaching

The Skate Coaches signed off on the application for Off-Campus Physical Education next year. If the school district approves the application, then Skater Girl can avoid the horrors of dressing out and a gym that reeks of Eau de Feet. The Skate Coaches are heroes, and only partially because my kid may avoid the ick-factor of the middle school locker room. It's a very good thing to see the positive reinforcement and encouragement they shower on Skater Girl. Some days, I just want to cheer for the coaches because they are building up our girl in ways that extend beyond her skating technique.

After a day heavy with skating and skating-related administrative tasks, Middle Child came home and announced that she's thinking of quitting Cross Country. I'm not sure what to make of that because she's the first to admit that much of her identity is tied up in athletics. More importantly, she has spent years running because she loves it. Now, she says she doesn't love running, and, worse, that it's become a source of stress. I'd like her coach to understand that she's not motivating my kid and her version of discipline has sucked the joy out of the workouts that have long fueled Middle Child.

This weekend is our school's home meet, and Middle Child's Other Mother/small-group-leader-at-church-for-the-past-four-years will be volunteering. That's a chance for that Other Mother (OM) to break out the Rah-Rah at least. Plus, this particular OM also happens to be a former co-worker and current friend of the CC/Track Coach. Maybe the OM can shed some nonprejudicial light on whatever is going on with our kid and her coach because all I know is what I'm hearing from the runner girls. (Let's face it, the court of public opinion can be absolutely wrong when assigning motive. And this court is full of teenage girls...) Right now, the hope is simply that our girl chooses to stay with the athletic program for at least the Cross Country season next Fall before deciding to hang up her competition spikes.

Heady Stuff

Happy Birthday to me. I eyed a certain mirror in the boutique portion of our local market for months. It was finally marked down, but I failed to act before someone else bought it. It was a very good surprise to discover that someone else was my mister.
We added a pair of super-sized wall sconces to grace either side of the mirror, and the mister installed all the goodies.

In other news, I spent the better part of the weekend in bed with Bowling Ball Head. Fortunately, my brain failed to successfully claw it's way out of my skull. Unfortunately, the head cold coincided with Girls Night Out to celebrate my 38th birthday. (That's an indicator of the level of Badness: GNO is practically sacrosanct, and one is treated on one's birthday. That's not to be missed.) The near inability to so much as stagger down the stairs made driving, dinner out, and (Dear Heavens...) movie theater sound seem less than appealing.Thankfully, the Girls are all available to make this Sunday special instead.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Inches

That, "freeform crochet," thing may or may not be working out as intended. The teeny ball on the bottom right is all that remains of the initial skein of yarn. The belt/blanket is still alarmingly short... like 2.5 inches long. The width is another story entirely. Measuring a glorious 78", it's far too long to ever be a belt (and too ugly if one is honest) for anyone less svelte than a Sumo wrestler, and the chosen yarn is just too itchy for a scarf. (This may be why most people use a pattern.) Still. I think the mister and I will just have to head out in search of more yarn. Way more yarn.
Right now, only a half dozen skeins are in my possession. (I didn't want to buy more than I might use. Oops.) That's only going to add a foot and half to the belt scarf/blanket based on my calculations.
Twenty-one inches of length is paltry compared to the ambitious width already bestowed. The mister has tactfully suggested that perhaps the width might ultimately serve as the length. Maybe so. Except then the width is too small. Either way, we're headed out to hunt down more yarn. Surely with the variegated stuff one need not be overly concerned about dye lots. At least, that's what I'm hoping.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pop

My mother-in-law and I both celebrate February birthdays. This morning she called to wish me a happy one. I thanked her for the cute new shoes I picked out courtesy of birthday funds she supplied. (A pair of loafers just right for wearing with jeans.) My birthday shoes made her laugh. Well, not mine specifically, so much as birthday shoes in general. Apparently, she, too, could have been the recipient of a pair of birthday shoes.
My sister-in-law and her preschool-age son were out shopping when the little guy saw the perfect birthday gift for his Gram. His mama snapped a photo of the goody in question:
Holy Hallelujah. I guess J. is a little young to understand that Southern ladies of a certain age do not typically wear stripper shoes. Those babies would certainly have qualified as a pop of color, though. I've been giggling all day at the thought of my mother-in-law teetering down the aisle at church on a Sunday morning in her blingy could've-been birthday shoes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Utilization

In an effort to avoid the potential abandonment of belt/blanket because it stubbornly remains a belt verging on an extremely skinny scarf, the investment in a half dozen or so skeins of the Cherry Chip yarn have served to strengthen my commitment. (Not to mention the need to procure packages with a matched dye lot before they become unattainable.) Wastefulness is actually a pet peeve, so the time already put into the rows of stitches and the first skeins of yarn need to go toward a purpose.

Full utilization of resources is a must. "Waste not, want not." These are words that my Mammy and her mother, my Great-Grandma Zelma, carried forward post-Depression and post-War to the extent that it's quite possibly imprinted on our genetic material. We generally seek to be good stewards when this tendency is used for good, in its evil form we risk starring on Hoarders. That means that the half dozen skeins of Cherry Chip must become something. That something might as well be belt/blanket. Hopefully, the project will be completed before the brown, cream, and dark red variegated yarn is out of sync with our home decor.

Besides, in the spirit of utilization, crocheting is as good a project as any for multitasking during the time spent watching endless repetitions of this:
video
In case Gentle Reader has an inquisitive mind, Skater Girl fudges her first jump, and the second jump combination is a Loop, Loop, Loop series. She's currently enamored of Loop jumps, and stacking them one on top of the other in combination is her Happy Place. That's Skate Coach #3 explaining about the goofy arms in the jumps at the end.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Observance

This morning, I read this interview with a former Hallmark writer. Though the practice is perhaps old-fashioned, I am still likely to mail greeting cards for special occasions if not sending a gift. While e-mail and facebook messages are fine for remembrances, there's something about taking the time to pick out, sign, address, and mail or deliver a card... Someone else may have dreamed up the words, but it took a really, really long time to read every card on the rack before either settling for the one mailed or, rarely, experiencing the thrill of finding one that says exactly what I would've said myself.

That said, we mailed no Valentine's cards at all this year. I chose one to send the Boy, but it was a little too precious. (I don't know what I was thinking. He's old enough to drive, so the cartoon elephants were clearly for a much younger audience.) The girls each received a small gift, and the mister and I made goo-goo eyes at each other over breakfast this morning. We're well-suited after marking eighteen Valentine's Day's together, and the expressions of love are made daily in a hundred little ways that are not necessarily pink, red, or heart-shaped. Skater Girl has her last classroom card exchange today, and she also created hand-made cards to give each of the Skate Coaches. Valentine's Day is generally just a nudge to show appreciation for the people we care for rather than the setting for any sort of grand display. Well, except for Middle Child.

She has been working away on Perfect's Valentine. She's on her third or fourth attempt at making him a friendship bracelet from embroidery floss in his favorite colors. This is a major undertaking because his wrists are as big around as her upper arms. (She was wily and tried one of his bracelets on... only to discover it went all the way up her arm.) She finally finished the bracelet late yesterday, and that will be delivered to Perfect tonight nestled amongst some of his favorite treats. She has no earthly idea what he has planned, but I'm sure whatever he's dreamed up will be, as usual, perfect.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Waiting

Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!, refers to Waiting Places. (One does tend to wind up there from time to time.) Despite a range of dates, we're stalled in one such Waiting Place for answers as to when The Boy might be home.  The insurance company required a switch to their in-house pharmacy for I.V. medication infusions this year, and January saw a four day wait for the administration. February's wait is at a week and counting... That Waiting Place leads to the waiting room outside my doctor's office this morning to determine whether or not a cold has blossomed into an ear infection. Waiting on a friend's medical scan, is now waiting on an appointment with a Specialist because the scan revealed more questions rather than answers. These are the gloomier sorts of Waiting Places.
Thankfully, there are other sorts. Like waiting for the coffee to brew. The wait for Shelley-in-Poland and Laura-in-Honduras and I to catch up in person while they're on their furloughs to Pleasant Suburb. The wait for the belt/blanket to develop into a string, then a belt, and now onward to who-knows-what. The wait while Skater Girl practices her stroking, spins, and jumps toward her first big skating test and resuming competition. The wait for Middle Child to come home and launch into her play-by-play of an evening at Perfect's house. Or her day at school. Or why she loves purple. My turn for the next move in Words With Friends. The in-between days waiting for Wednesdays and Saturdays when the mister and I have our dates. Opening each morning's Bible study e-mail from the church to see what little gem is waiting inside. These are the best sorts of waits. These are the anticipatory Waiting Places full of promise and potential.
That's the thing. In these Waiting Places, there is no one simple thing. There is more likely to be a whole host of just about everything. So. I'll gather my things, and sit down to wait. Eventually, it will all shake out. If not, at least we'll know what becomes of the belt/blanket with the addition of a few more rows.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Continued

  • The belt/blanket is coming along. I'd post a photo, but, really, it's still just a fat string developing into a scarf.
  • Skater Girl and I are headed to the rink tomorrow before church to observe a testing session. After mastering the Basic Skills, a skater may choose to enter the USFS test structure. The tests at this point require months of  practice and coaching before registering for sessions where a panel of judges determine whether one passes or fails. With Skater Girl's first Moves in the Field test expected in May, it will likely be a plus to see how the sessions run without the pressure of performing.
  • The Boy was premature in his conviction that his homecoming would occur this week. The Powers That Be suggest a time frame rather than a specific date. Either way, the family reunion should happen sometime in the next six weeks.
  • Middle Child had her second pair of ear piercings done today. (I had my second set of earrings added at the same age, so it would have been hypocritical to have her wait longer just to be really sure.) She was a little nervous about the potential for pain. Perfect went along to offer additional encouragement, and they both seemed pretty pleased with the results.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gifted and Talented

Every other year the paperwork is submitted for Skater Girl's GT testing. Every other year the committee informs us that she's just not Gifted and Talented material. One of my BFFs (who works for the school district and has two children in the program) and every single one of Skater Girl's teachers seem convinced that the kid is a fit for the program; therefore, we persist in filling out the paperwork to avoid robbing our daughter of an opportunity.

There's a fatalistic attitude toward the testing in our household based on the repeated rejections. Still, we fill out the pages and pages of redundant information required to request that Skater Girl be considered. (The mister and I theorize that filling out the application is a means of weeding out applicants based on whether or not their parents possess a vocabulary sufficient to restate the same things over and over again in different words.) The program claims to serve the quirky, creative student who enjoys exploration. Thus far, the Powers That Be have not seen that in Skater Girl.

Still, yet another of her teachers took the time to contact us asking that we submit the referral forms. He says this year could be different because the middle school program is offered in individual subjects. Whatever the outcome, there is one clear benefit in the process. Having to cite specific examples of the applicant's supposed genius means recognizing the strengths of the child. The examples taken from Skater Girl's interests in music, creative writing, and skating paired with her teacher's classroom observations, high grades, and test scores combine to present a bright, capable young lady developing a variety of talents and abilities. Whatever the findings of the GT Identification Committee, Skater Girl's application reveals that she is both gifted and talented.