Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Which the Son Shines

Son: I have cat like reflexes, you know.
Cat [seeing opportunity for tomfoolery, walks up and takes ball from boy.]
Son: Heyyyyy!


Son at dinner takes bite of asparagus and burns mouth.
Daughter: You do it this way.
Son: I know.
Daughter: Shall I demonstrate?
Son: Well sure, it isn't piping hot NOW.
Daughter: You blow on it, like this.
Son: I KNOW.
Daughter: And then you carefully take a bite...
Son: Mom! Make her stop!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Starbucks Reading Rocks!

A rapt audience tonight! You know, I think one of the things I like best about our monthly Starbucks readings (in addition to the wonderful kids who turn out and respond to our stories, of course) is sitting all comfy on the floor on Suzie's lovely soft quilts. Several kids come in and just lie down. Isn't that the perfect way to listen to a story? There are various ways to shut out a noisy world, espresso machines notwithstanding, and going down below table level is incredibly effective. The adult chatter passes overhead, and we feel like we're getting away with something!

Do check out the lovely illustrations posted in the Kids' Gallery on my site: . And thanks to all in attendance!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School Jitters

Mine, that is! The kids are off to a great start, and their parents are adjusting to the changes. Son refuses to eat cafeteria food, which is a good thing I guess. He gets longer to eat his lunch by having one from home, and he likes to sit with his friends who also bring lunches from home. I tried to tamper with it once last week, and won't again. Daughter, on the other hand, is in love with the novelty of lunch on a tray. Is it possible to slide his stockpiled lunch account over to her name I wonder? It's not like it'll earn interest until high school, or anything!

Now it's time for us to start. The papers are full of students moving into dorms, and there's a hopeful chill in the air. The aquatic center was unpeopled, and the water frigid. (We only went to support their new policy of extended opening, weekends thru Labor weekend. Even we thought we were crazy to be in the water...) Time to dig in. This week's extra carricular activities are a case in point. Monday: evening parent meeting for new Girl scout troop we're starting at school; Tuesday: READING AT STARBUCKS (more about this, below); Wednesday: first after school meeting of the Daisy scouts, followed by back to school event hosted by the union, followed by fishing recruitment in the evening for Boy scouts; Thursday: returnee event for study abroad participants and their advisors, followed by choir rehearsal; Friday, makeup hair appointment for the one I messed up the time on yesterday. I'd better get to liking being busier again!

Reading on Tuesday at the local Starbucks (the one and only!). 5-6pm picture books; 6-7pm chapter books; 7pm+ is open mic for elementary ages. Free kid's drink and cookie to all kids in attendance. Come on out folks! I will read a picture book text or two, and then a chapter or two from a chapter book in the second hour.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The New Moon with the Old One in Her Arms

New school year; one returning student one new; one new lunchbox one returning; two new backpacks; one new teacher one old teacher revisited; new (newly built) classrooms; new principal; new (to us) superintendent. New all-day kindergarten in the district (hence the new construction.) New rules about pickup (don't enter the school). New furor among parents (we want to enter the school; and there's no canopy over the doors you want us to wait outside, which is only fine when it isn't raining or snowing).

When I asked daughter last night what she was most looking forward to in her second ever day of school, she said: squishing bugs. She took care of two cockroaches in the brand new hallway outside her classroom before 8am, so I'm afraid it's going to be all downhill from there for her today!

The new policy against parents coming into the school to collect kids seems misguided. First, the sign out front says parents are welcome. Second, by putting the parents and guardians of 400 kids together on the sidewalk, you have an organized mob. We should actually hold PTO meetings, ten minutes at a time, right there. Third, it is not safer to send my 2d grader out with instructions to "come back if he doesn't find a parent." That's just... wrong. How do other schools do it?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's What Hillbillies Play

Daughter, singing: "Strumming on the Old Man Joe."
Me: "Uhh, that's Banjo. B, b, banjo."
Daughter: "What the heck's a banjo?"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

To Be Continued...

I've never written a sequel before, and am now deep into book 2 of a proposed chapter book series. It's interesting, trying to balance the old conflicts and background already established with the new material, and to make the book stand alone. The art of the deft "filling in" so the reader does not have to be aware that they missed anything if they are reading books out of sequence, but still have the sense that the characters have a history.

I was disappointed then reading the second book in Hilari Bell's Knight and Rogue series. The first, The Last Knight, was a terrific YA (young adult) read. It had direction and dimension in spades. The second seems to pick up as a true sequel, with a lot of unfinished business from the first book. That didn't bother me with the Percy Jackson series, so much.

No doubt there's a difference between true sequels, like Bell's, or Rowling's, and a series in which the books can more easily be read out of order? I think of our public library and their back wall of elementary chapter books. Some serieses have 19 books in them, so far. Some (Magic Treehouse) have passed 40. If they were written to be read in order... it wouldn't happen!

What are your thoughts on sequels?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tallying the Score

OK, so I left my "yay" news up for nearly a week, and it's time to post anew. Summer is grinding on... yes, we've reached that stage. The cicadas are crushingly constant, the children are avoiding the backyard because it has been so wet the mosquitoes are ignoring mid-day curfews and playing all day long. School begins late next week for the munchkins, and even they in their heart of hearts would have to admit that they are hugely relieved.

I am beginning to number the things left undone. That they have been left undone for a variety of pretty productive reasons doesn't much help:
  • Son did not learn to ride a two-wheeler (training wheels came off in April, but parents too lacksadaisical to get him riding some place with grass; only hope now is impending grandparent visit...).
  • Son did not learn to tie shoelaces.
  • Shed got scraped, but no paint was applied (please do not cross reference earlier post--I do remember it).
  • Porch on mother-in-law's house did not even get to the scraping stage.
  • Book did not get reviewed, but since publisher is resending it due to its patent non-arrival, I'm not taking the hit for that one.
  • Daughter got read to, a lot, but did not practice her own reading.

To balance it out (since the voice in my head is arguing already), the following did get accomplished:
  • Hubby's game room built and furnished (if not exactly paid for).
  • Lots of pyjama days.
  • Swim classes, two sessions' worth. Lots of family swims in addition.
  • Cub scout camp (please do cross reference earlier posts, full of dwama).
  • Many meetings to establish a Daisy scout troop, beginning later this month.
  • Writing, writing, writing, writing. Editing, critiquing, networking, blog reading, blog posting, website maintenance. Rope learning in general. More writing.
  • A raised garden with actual edible veggies in it. Real ones!
  • A big event coordinated, with 59 kids and 30 adults. Even some whiny ones. Full of dwama.
  • A giant BBQ, early in the summer, from the "one fell swoop" school of entertainment thought.
  • The public library summer reading program for kids, plus party. Lots of trips to the PPL, and tracking books at home. Fifteen more things at a time we must. not. lose.
  • A Complete and Utter Tenth Anniversary Reorganization of Several Rooms and Their Major Pieces of Furniture. Down to the original dust.
  • Six or seven cub scout events so the den could stay in touch. Snacks at each.
  • My book! Arrived! Looking gorgeous and ready to promote! Champagne for the adults, sparkling apple for the kids.

I'm sure if I thought harder the first list could be much, much longer. But that would be work. So in the balance, if you ask me I'll snap that of course I'm not ready for (my) school to go back. I'm not a masochist. And I'm not looking forward to having to fight for writing time. But in my heart of hearts, I'm relieved.