Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not a Bad Weekend-Medieval Faire and Farm Fest

We have Farm Fest today and I'm dreading it on many levels. On the one hand, we have to attend to our duties at the Transition Town table, on the other, I know we're going to see CB and it's going to be awkward. Still not sure what's going on over there, but it could nothing. Either way, the needle in and the damage done.

We went to the Medieval Faire yesterday in Thetford as part of my neurosis in socializing the kids, and I went thinking this would be the answer. Not sure how we were going to pull it off, but that's a formality. The faire was nicely done, and we saw a bunch of old homeschool families from the past. They did a nice job, saw our friends P&J and their son, as well as some people from the past. And we got to see the band Pariah Beat, who are alums, apparently.

Either way, got the tour, met the founder, got testimonials in real time, and got to see the school population in action, and after all was said and done, I realized this was not the answer. Not for us.

This sort of wisdom is priceless, but only comes through experience. I'm happy we went. And speaking of omens, the day was beautiful with lots of sun, but the minute we got to the faire, the cold wind kicked up, clouds rolled in, and it began to pour. We left and got a bite to eat in Thetford until the weather cleared, but the minute we got back to the school, it started to pour again. Weird.

No Sun and Praying Mantis Invasion

We hadn't seen the sun for days and what a drag. To top it all off, we are sick as dogs over here, but that's life, right? Sometimes it throws a curveball at you.

We are currently in the midst of a praying mantis invasion, and it's disconcerting and cool at the same time. The kids received a praying mantis kit and habitat for their birthdays, and it comes with a mesh habitat and a praying mantis egg kit that you order in the mail. The sack is about the size of a golf ball, and I figured a few mantis' would come out of it. You're supposed to attach it to a stick and put it in a jar and once the mantis babies appear, you feed them. Once summer comes we are inundated with fruit flies, which is apparently their food of choice, so I assumed it wouldn't be a problem.

Well, two nights ago, the egg sack hatched and it was alien invasion. I'm talking hundreds of praying mantis babies, all wanting food. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

Anyway, now we need fruit flies, and of course there are none to be seen. Fortunately, Lebanon Pet Store came through, and we got the flies. And the mantis' are munching them down. Not unlike watching TV.

Overcoming Adversity and Rising Above

I was battling some serious stomach flu this week, as were all of us, and it's interesting to note how it affects everyone differently. I have to say, I think I get hit the hardest, though it could simply have a lot to do with my less than resilient constitution, though I'm working on that as part of my real man training.

On Tuesday I was feeling at my worst, and it was our busiest day since we were sick for most of the week, and the weather was nothing but a drag.

It all started in the AM. I woke up feeling inordinately fatigued and tired. I had my usual cup of coffee and it just wasn't doing it's job. Man did I feel tired. And we had so much planned for the day. We had to take mom to work, go to guitar, go to Lebanon Pet Store for fruit flies, go to the library, go to the Coop, and then pick up Mom, drop the girls off at a TT meeting, and then go to T-ball. All the while I'm trying my best to hold it together.

And I still had to make dinner. I have nothing but respect for June Cleaver.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Barely Standing

Wow, I feel like death-warmed-over. I've somehow contracted this killer stomach virus (at least I think it's a virus) and it's really kicked my butt. I haven't eaten in 24 hours, and I'm having a hard time keeping even liquids down, though in all honesty, I'm better today than yesterday.

In a true testament to human endurance, or should I say parental endurance, I managed to get all the things we needed to get done despite being one step away from complete collapse, though I have to confess, there were a few times when I had to stop and sit down from fear of passing out.

More on this later while I make a run to the boy's room.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Newest Fantasy

So I have a new fantasy, and believe it or not, it involves school. I'd like to find the school or our dreams where our kids could be themselves, thrive socially without judgement surrounded by good kids who share in their interests, and excel in academics that are fitting to their abilities. A lot to ask, I know.

But the dream doesn't end there. I'd like to work at the school in some official capacity, teaching if necessary (though I don't have the credentials) but more realistically working around the campus, either as a handyman or a janitor or a cook. How cool would that be? Ideally, we'd get to school in the AM, the kids would head off to class and I'd go to the kitchen and make bread and a hot lunch and/or breakfast, then the kids would eat and I'd head to the yard to split wood for the furnace, cut the grass, shovel snow, or do routine maintenance, even clean bathrooms or mop floors. Then, when school was out, I'd take the kids home. Perfect.

And then there's more. It probably wouldn't be working the entire time, so I'd have time to sit somewhere quiet and write. Somewhere is a high speed connection so I could plug in and do my blogging/freelance, or write my novel (yeah, right), or memoir or screenplay, or for that matter, play. What a great setup, getting it done on a practical and spiritual level. You can't ask for anything more.

Have to work on that one.

Oh yeah, there's one final piece to the fantasy-there would several kids in our town going to the school, and we would carpool. I'd even be the one to take them all to school since I'm going there, anyway.

Hey, you just never know. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Rough Week and Looking Ahead

So I think we had a kind of rough week last week in terms of not seeing too much of our friends and having our plans fall through. That's the brutal aspect of parenthood, one day you're feeling invincible and the next day you're crushed like a stone. I know, I'm being way too dramatic, but I feel sad for the fact that A's best friend has been absent and completely incommunicado. Rather than be resentful, I'm more curious as to what's going on. A has almost given up, she no longer goes bonkers when the phone rings thinking it's her friend, it's almost as if she's resigned herself to knowing it's over, which breaks my heart. Somehow, deep down, she knows what's up, as if the signs were there and now they're coming to fruition. It makes it awkward because we will see them, no doubt, and they live right down the road, but it's maybe just not to be.

Our regular gig at mentor #2 house, GS, has fallen through, as well. With no car, we can't get over there, and we have had no interaction with the Macks, who are way too busy anyway to get together with that it's not worth planning. So what to do. As I've mentioned before, the whole homeschool crowd is busy doing their own thing to be a regular thing. They have the regular meeting, and I get a sense the kids meet regularly and have made connections, but somehow I long for our kids to have a regular meeting with imaginative, smart and creative kids who are accepting of each other's quirks and not so hell bent on conformity. Some comformity is inevitable because such is the interaction of a group, but as long as there is some joy of commonality and regularity, like you would get at a school that you loved.

I guess in the end, that's what I'm looking for, a school our kids would love. I want to believe it exists, and that if we found it, we could find a way to make it work. I love homeschooling, but I do feel it falls short in that one area, having a regular group of kids that you are friends with. The kids over at CH are in their own world and for the most part keep to themselves, but we enjoy hanging with them when we get the chance. And this summer should be interesting.

We'll see how things transpire. I'm hoping to check out one place and see how it looks, though it's far away. But, if there were a Hartland contingent of kids, maybe it could work out in a group setting. Not sure what to make of it all, but it does make me a sad when our kids are sad.

Now mind you, I'm not saying they are sad, we have fun at home and enjoy time together as a family, but you simply can't replace a child's time with friends with time with mom and dad. It just doesn't work that way. Kids need other kids, or at least our kids do. What to do.

Needless to say, I'll continue obsessing over this until I find an answer. Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Feeling Blue and a Shift in Thinking.

I'm feeling kind of blue, and am wondering if this grand experiment of ours needs a bit of tweaking. Homeschooling thus far has been a success in terms of academics. I have no doubt that we have the knowledge and resources to teach all the things (well, almost) that the kids need to know just as well, if not better, than any school. In terms of raising socially well adjusted and well mannered kids, ditto. The one area I think we fall short is in having regular, consistent interactions with a group of kids that share a common interest. I don't think a perfect situation exists, but I feel like our kids might benefit from it.

I know all the logic about homeschooled kids being more well adjusted, and I agree. You can spot a public school kid a mile away, and if your kids doesn't fit in, well forget it, it's conform or perish. I see it a lot with t-ball. Some of those kids are completely out of control, and mean and tactless to boot. Best of all, the parents are sitting there watching, acting as if they have no control over the matter, when in fact it's their duty to keep the kids in line.

Anyway, it came to light the other day when a good friend's child mentioned that other kids might have focused on their differences and thus labeled this accordingly, i.e. weird. The tragedy of it all is that this child is anything but. If anything, they are an incredibly special, smart, creative, imaginative. The problem is, young kids don't value the things that we adults do, so kids end up being pariahs unless they change. Sadly, most do, especially girls as they get older. What a tragedy. The key is instilling the child with the wherewithal and strength to ignore their detractors and stay true to who they are.

A tall order, by any stretch of the imagination. The child in question has these qualities, but it strikes me as a bit of a lonely way to go. The better way would be to find a like minded group of kids to congregate with and see on a regular basis.

Which brings me to our kids. Let's just say for the sake of conversation that hypothetically they were smart and creative. Again, values not appreciated by kids, and thus a reason to be targeted. Now where might you find a similar group of kids that met regularly? In a school of like minded kids, but where do you find that? Heck if I know.

I do know this-homeschooled kids may end up being better behaved older kids, I see this firsthand, but what about that regular social gig that you get with school? Waldorf ain't the answer because that school is socially not unlike your typical public school in so many ways, complete with cliques and mean kids, not to mention conformity and dogma of the highest order. The homeschool community works hard to socialize their kids, but it falls short because it falls short because everyone is too spread out and though they meet once a week, for the most part I can't imagine they see much of each other, unless of course they live close together.

CB seems to be completely out of the picture, and I'm guessing this is something we need to accept. Even though there were fun times, my gut feeling is that our kids, besides being different, were always going to be outsiders because they didn't share the commonality of being Waldorfians. That common bond is so strong, even when the kids aren't nice, they relate better to one another.

Okay, so begins the mission of finding that group of academically oriented, creative, imaginative kids who work well together and are accepting (indeed, they embrace it). I think our kids hunger for that group, and I've made it my mission to find it. Besides, at some point kids benefit from having a social circle that has nothing to do with mom and dad. As parents, perhaps we are way too involved in our kid's lives.

What our dream would be is to find a group of kids that met regularly, like in a school setting, and were all like each other, i.e., our kids and CH. Is that too much to ask? No drastic changes in the immediate future, but it breaks my heart to think our kids are missing out on certain things in their youth. Granted, they're missing out on a lot of the crappy ones, but such is life.

Just one final note-kids can't see this now, and won't for another 10-15 years, but being intelligent, imaginative, and creative will serve them well in their lives, it just won't endear them to the hip, leader crowd of children. The big tough kids who rule the playgrounds in elementary school and even high school often find themselves pining for yesterday later in life. It's not good to peak too early, it's just hard to comprehend that when you're young. Besides, why suffer for your gifts, when you should be celebrating them.

We do. Every day.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Weight of the World

I don't know if this particular to homeschoolers or just my own personal neurosis, but there are days I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders in terms of our kid's happiness. I'm not saying they aren't happy, but I just feel kind of bad when we have these long lulls of playdates, all of course stemming from the fact that we don't have a frigging car. Darn.

We haven't been able to make if over to GS's homestead ranch, and we have had little contact with the Mack's, all because we are holed up over here. Our social calendar would more fruitful if we had another vehicle, plain and simple. This came to the forefront yesterday as I got a little crabby because my wife needed the car in the afternoon, thus throwing a wrench in our initial plan (my plan, I should say) of going over to G&T's. I find I can't let the kids know of the plans too early because things always change and I don't want to get their hopes up. R ended up staying at home (it was nice all hanging out) but in the end, we'd had a great playdate with C&H and spent hours over there, so we were pretty tired by that point, and I decided to instead make bread (raisin and boules) as well as dinner, so I was tied up, anyway.

Doesn't change the fact that we need a car. I'm done kidding myself that we can survive with one car, even a junker will do, we just need to be mobile. My mentor has been kind enough to let us use his, and we love him for that, but that's not really a long term solution. So, we are once again faced with this dilemma, do I have the right to want to spend a huge chunk of money even though I'm not making it? Hard to say. It makes me reluctant to make a stink, but it's something we need to revisit. If I started making some bread writing, however... Can't think to much about pie in the sky stuff.

CB has been out of the picture for some time now, and even though I wonder what exactly is going one, of course I have my theories. Part of me thinks she's just moved on and our kids are no longer a part of the equation. The reality is, we operate in different circles, and as much as the kids have fun, they are different from eachother. I'm wondering if CB just feels that she no longer meshes with our kids. There was always a bit of chasm going on there, though they played a lot and seemed to have fun. The differences were nonetheless apparent. Now I'm fully aware of the fact that I read too much into things and that could be what's going on here, but it's hard not to. Maybe it's for the best, even though it sets up awkward interactions when we run into them, and we will most definitely be running into them. Stay tuned for more.

We had a great playdate yesterday with C&H, definitely on the same page with those guys, and I wish we could spend more time together. All four of our kids seem to click. It's nice to see. They can all be themselves, and I can relax and not worry about it. It ain't easy.

In my neurosis and guilt, I am feeling that every week there needs to fun and enriching activities, at least with other kids so bonds can be made and friendships established. Consequently, I get a bit frenzied, and I need to take a step back. Dare I say I take on a bit of an air of desperation? I just want our kids to have regular friends that they can count to play with, not unlike I grew up with in our neighborhood. With no neighborhoods to speak of, we have to improvise, but that takes a lot of footwork on the part of us parents, not to mention exercises in neurosis.

I can't think too much about it, it bums me out. I'm not sure what's going on out there, but hopefully with proper planning and some cooperation, we can manage to make things work out a little more smoothly. The weather is really getting to be like summer, so that's a plus. Need to find a place to hang with lots of cool, like minded kids. Wishful thinkg? Sure, why not, that's what makes life interesting.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Never Enough Time, So Much to Do

We went to a nice party yesterday, and I'm proud of our kids, they were so well behaved. Everyone there commented on how well they entertain themselves and it makes us glow with pride. Truth is, they are well behaved, but they also have each other to play with and that makes it easier.

I am setting the unrealistic goal of getting a lot done before this month is over, and it's already almost over. I want to get the curricula done and submit it to the state, finish working on the website, continue blogging, and do all the stuff around the house all summer long. It doesn't sound like much but I sure feel overwhelmed. It's that darn curricula that's eating away at me. Have to sit down and just do it.

The party yesterday was nice, got to see all of our work buddies at DHMC, some of whom I don't get to see much because I work odd hours. The food, of course, was amazing, and we chowed on killer Indian food and got to meet D's hubby, a nice guy, though an old school physician who loves to talk shop. Even though we really enjoyed the party, it took a lot of time out of our day, and all the things we wanted to do were put on the backburner. Had to return books to the library and almost got busted by you know who, but managed to squeak by. Close call if there ever was one, but thankfully the librarians were understanding and helped me out.

I did manage to score the next disc in the History of Britain, and I must confess to loving this DVD. I love European History, and something about British history in particular I find fascinating, though now that we are in the 18th c, I find it not as intriguing. The Middle Ages and prior to that were such an interesting, albeit dark, time in the world. I've learned a lot about the long line of England's kings, as well. Not sure if the kids would like it, but a great lesson in history.

We went to contradance last Friday, even though we didn't want to. The kids love it, it's fun, but the crowd was thin, and somewhat depressing. In fact, when we got there, which was later than usual, there was nobody there and I actually went in first to make sure we had come on the right day. There was May Fair at Waldorf and I'm guessing a lot of the regulars were too tired to make it. The faithful did arrive, however, and A&N had fun. In fact, N danced a whole dance on his own two feet, and it was a blast. Usually I hold him and dance with R, but this time he did it on his own and it was fabulous. Also wanted to say that AB is a nice kid, showing surprising maturity around the smaller kids. I always pegged him for an out of control ADD type, and I know all boys have some of this, but he pleasantly surprised me. It was nice.

A had a blast, and we were lucky to see the H's there. CH and A danced a lot, and R and I conferred with CH and her mom about the fact that they danced together and it was too cute for words. Nice vibes going on there, they really jive and I think operate at around the same speed.

And though it was a little slow, that simply meant more food for me to eat. In fact, the salad was killer, and I ate three bowls, not including the leftovers from the kids. Throw in some killer bread and life is good.

We are in the process of losing touch with CB, and I'm beginning to wonder if something is in the works, either with her or the folks. No phone calls, and no sightings. It's possible it's because everyone is too busy, but I'm wondering if we're in the process of moving on, as are they. Not sure what to make of it and I've read way more into it into the past, but the lack of contact is telling. We shall see, but might this be the beginning of the end? It'll be interesting when school is out and Summer kicks in, though it does make me feel a little sad.

Otherwise, things are good. A wanted to make a drastic change and cut off all her hair. She was very resolute about it, and my first impulse was to discourage her because I love her hair, it's so beautiful, but she had decided and I encouraged her to go with her gut feeling. For the record, I did not display even the slight inkling of disagreeing with her. Mom cut her hair this weekend and it looks fantastic. A shorter bob really suits her, and it's so cute. Adorable, I must say, and so much easier to handle. She's very happy with it and we all love it.

Also, we've been dabbling more in guitar. N is done with it for now, but A is digging it. We have moved onto standard tuning, no more open G for now, and it's great. Need to practice, and she's aware of that, but is also willing to do it because she's interested. We're glad for that.

Lots to do this week. Have horses today, then t-ball tomorrow. Not easy being a coach, though we had our chance at glory last Thu when Coach Roy was away. We were going to be stand-in coaches, but wouldn't you know it? A storm rolled in and practice was canceled. Go figure.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rec Center, T-Ball, and Crazy Days

The other day we had one of those "I can't believe I survived that one" days. I've been replacing clapboards on the back of the house, where the sun beats down on them (it faces south) and the boards rot and warp. Replacing the boards is just part of the gig, I still had to paint them and replace the corner boards which had rotted. Painting is what takes so much time, and I spent most of the day painting the wood, even though there was much to do.

The weather was beautiful, and of course the kids wanted to eat outside, which is a pain because it takes time to move everything outside. But, it was nice out, and not such a big deal to setup, so we had a picnic. I tried to be convivial but have been sliding back into jerkdom and losing my cool now and then. Slipping back into bad patterns of behavior, not good.

Part of my big problem is I don't have enough time. I get myself into situations where I'm trying to do too much, and it drives me crazy. Because we have been in a lull with CB, we don't see her much these days, I try my best to get as much social interaction as possible. So I had this brilliant notion to go to the rec center and play and let the kids all interact. They did have fun, but it's always different hanging with large groups of schoolkids, especially the ones who seem to have been relegated to after school care because either a single parent has to work or both parents are too busy to watch over them after school. It was a little depressing, and watching and listening to the kids got me a little down. I will say this, a lot of the kids were nice, and they played with our kids, but they were the boys, the girls seem cliquish and a little catty. Either way, not sure where this one will go. It was more fun somehow during the winter.

A has been practicing her guitar and it's so awesome to see I can't even put it into words. They have moved past open-G tuning and are now using standard tuning. Their song repertoire is small but good enough to bring a tear of joy to my eye.

We had t-ball and the coach mentioned that he was going to be away so we "other" coaches would need to fill in. The big moment, and for whatever reason, it scares me a little, but such is the way with bravery. You are scared, but you still act and do the right thing. I know, too much drama and not a big deal, but I'm not good at being in charge, and a bunch of kids gives me anxiety. Coach Roy is a natural with kids, they gravitate to his persona. He's got a knack for it.

Either way, we are ready. Until then, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eating Meat, Being Independent, and Today's Plan

Our order of organic kielbasa and hot dogs came in. Kind of stoked about that, and it just goes to show you, some people just can't live on veggies alone. At least the meat is grass fed and organic, whatever that means.

We had a need for cookies and brownies, and there is never enough time in the day, it's always a scramble, so I decided to try making them at night while my wife worked on her stuff, and boy was that a mistake. It takes awhile, and you need time to let them cool. Since we have ants, we can't let it go overnight, so I had to wait when all I wanted to do was go to sleep. Live and learn. At least we have the goods, though I still need to make raisin bread and bagels.

My wife is working hard trying to meet a deadline, work has been hell and my heart goes out to her. We love our mom!

Weather has been beautiful, and it's hard being inside when it's so nice, so we've been spending more time outside, even doing our school work on the picnic table, which I just so happened to re-finish. It's a nice time of year to be out here, kind of like always.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Great Weather, Transition Towns, Library, Fogg's, and Guitar

Did I mention that the weather has been stellar, and yet another reminder of how lucky we are to be living here? Just how I like it, cool and clear, with lots of puffy white clouds. We've been getting just enough rain to keep things green without making it exceedingly dreary and depressing. And it hasn't been too hot, though I've been told that this weather is closer to being normal than that hot spell we had a few weeks back.

We are back to having one car because my mentor #1 took the truck back, as we were expecting. He is on his way back to the area for the summer season and his business will kick back into gear, so we knew at some point the truck would have to go, but either way, it's sad to say goodbye to it. Also, having one car makes life a challenge, but not impossible. It does inspire us to get another car, though, and that's something we'll keep in our minds. I will say this - we had our brakes replaced by Bob's and the car runs so much better. I am so through with Midas in W. Leb, not only did they do a terrible job of changing our breaks (I had to go in to have them redone), but the car never really ran the same, and we had persistent noise in the front wheels. When Bob's did it, it runs so much better. Again, don't go to Midas. Plus, they charge a lot more, and tried to scam me on service before I declined it.

Now that we have one car, we have had to do the tag-team thing, with R coming home and working here so we can be mobile. Even though we knew GL would take the truck back, it was sooner than we thought, so we've had to scramble a bit. There was a lot to be taken care of, and we managed to squeeze it all in. I had to go to drop A off at guitar, N decided he's through, go to Fogg's, stop at Stern's, then to the library and finally the Coop. All within five hours before N's t-ball practice, where I'm a coach, if you can believe that.

I'd got some exterior stain for the house about six months ago and like a fool never checked the color to see it was right. Well, I was going to paint a couple of days ago and opened the can and would you believe it? The color was all wrong. I was so bummed, and I got it in September, so I wasn't sure I could get it changed. The plan was as follows-since N decided he no longer wanted to attend guitar practice, I figured I'd drop A off and during the lesson I'd have plenty of time to hop on over to Fogg's, where I could consult with my assistant mentor, Rhett. Once we got there, however, it became a bit of a complicated situation.

Mind you, they were very cool and had every intention of replacing the stain no charge, but he wanted to first see if he could fix the faulty can first. After mixing it and checking it, he was very meticulous and thorough, he decided the stain was not redeemable and said he'd mix up a new can for me. Nice guys, but it took longer than I'd anticipated so we had to jet back to get A after her lesson. I abhor the idea of her being all by herself waiting for me, the stuff that gives me nightmares. We picked her up (they're learning standard tuning now) and we had to go back to Fogg's to get my stain, but not before stopping at Stern's to get more strawberries and honey. They were out of blackberries (total bummer) but we'll make due.

One quick note-because we are no longer driving my mentor's truck, we can eat in the car. It was a problem before because I didn't want to mess up his truck, so eating was out. This complicated situations of lunchtime because it forced us to stop and sit somewhere to eat, which is a huge burden of time. Having a bite in transit is not ideal, but makes certain activities during midday more plausible. Anyway, we had lunch in the car.

After getting my stain, it was off to the Coop to get some more vittles and a roast chicken for dinner. Went to the Hanover one, which is smaller and perhaps not as well stocked, but cozier somehow. Had a few more feel good scores-kettle corn was on sale, and we got a killer piece of salmon that we can make into two meals. I love when that happens. They were out of chickens when we got there, I was so bummed, but the dude brought the new ones out just as I had lost hope. Good vibes there.

Next it was onto the Howe Library where we had some more good scores. Got the next Star Wars (#1, Phantom Menace, which I personally thought totally SUCKED!) for the kids, as well as the latest big kid's lit phenomenom by Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian. I didn't realize this, but this series is a huge hit. At least a half dozen kids were coming up to Denise asking for it, and she said the same thing - it's on hold but you can put your name down. Guess why it was on hold; because they were holding it for us. Our time had come, and A got to read it. Good to see what age kids are looking for it, and for the most part, it was 5th and 6th graders. It is, after all, a NY Times bestseller.

Unloaded about 75 books and got about 75 more, saw our buddies the Mack's, though the girls weren't there, but even still, always good to see them, then it was off to home to drop A off with mom and take N to t-ball. A had her killer book, and she got a huge kick out of the librarians commenting on how they knew what she was going to be doing that night-curling up with a good book. She agreed.

Now I know I've mentioned this before, but somehow I've ended up becoming a coach for N's team. It's awkward for me because I'm not good at dispensing instructions, but they're only five and six, after all, and nobody really cares. Even still, all the parents are sitting there watching and I can't help but be self-conscious. Practice was fun, though, the kids are responsive for the most part, and N hit the ball well. In fact, he had great form and was looking good up there. The other coaches even commented that they could see he had been practicing with dad, and of course I was beaming (coyly, of course) with pride. He did look good up there, he had a great stance, good form, and then he belted the ball. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

We had a fitting end to the day by eating a nice supper of roast chicken and string beans and corn on the cob. Spring and summer are here. I was kind of bummed that I didn't get to carve the bird, but boy was it nice to come home to a ready meal. Gotta love family life.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revisiting Waldorf, Horses, and Homeward Bound

With Spring in full swing, the list of things that needs to be done around the house is extensive, and it keeps growing. I had planned on tuning up our lawnmower and wanted to run out the gas but ended up just cutting the entire lawn. It was frustrating and a relief at the same time, and I will say this-the weather has been stellar. Cool, breezy, and sunny with patches of puffy clouds. Just perfect, postcard perfect, in fact. The yard is looking beautiful, and things are cruising along.

Finally heard from CB after a long hiatus. Not sure what to make of all that, it's feast of famine and it wouldn't be such a big deal if not for the fact that our kids love her. There needs to be more balance in that whole arena, but we'll see where that goes.

A had a great day riding horses yesterday, it really suits her. The girl H is really nice and they get along well. I initially had the moronic notion of changing her time so that she might get more riding in because I learned that she will be in a group of four girls. I figured since we homeschool we could fill any time slot as opposed to the after school gig, and if she were alone she could get more riding time. BUT, she loves her time slot, H is a sweet kid, and she gets to ride with the bigger kids who help and guide them. It works out well, she gets to ride a lot, and gets to jive with the heavy hitters. I'm glad I didn't do the stupid thing and act on my impulses.

We saw BB and J of R&J fame, with kids in tow. Nice seeing them, they had come to see the foal and inquire about riding for I. I still think I and A are a good match in terms of how their brains work, though I is a sophisticated and hip kid, maybe not as dreamy as A. Even still, they can relate and I is always nice to A. She's also older and very smart!

We pick up H at school and take her riding. It helps out H's mom, S, a lot, and the kids get to hang out with some new faces, and we get to spend some time at our old haunt, the glorious Waldorf school, where I always feel like a persona non grata. My own impression, mind you, because people there are very nice, but it all has such a clubby feel, not unlike being at a church where everyone walks the walk. It's supposed to be this idyllic world where everyone is happy and gay but in fact there are heavy undercurrents of angst and dissent once you scratch below the surface. In all fairness, that's the state of the world, and the reality is people are people no matter where you go, or what type of hippy dress you put them in.

Life at home has been nice, there are a lot of projects and it's fun working on them. AND, the weather has been great. R has gotten the garden up and running, and the kids enjoy helping them out. Each year we learn a little more. I'm busy doing home improvement, the wood pile has been cut (7 cords) and now needs to be split, N is enjoying T-ball, though I've been cajoled into coaching, and A is enjoying guitar.

I do feel a little overwhelmed as I seek out paid writing gigs. RR has said he wants to move forward on the website, he's holding up his own end, and I need to hold up mine. So little time, however.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Weekend and T-ball

I did something this weekend that I vowed I'd never do again, or at least try my best to NOT do: I sat around and talked about what was on TV. How pathetic is that? So reminiscent of living in LA, I couldn't believe it, but in retrospect, I guess I should be grateful that I at least had something to talk about.

We went to R&J's house for S's birthday, and it was a really nice party. I was late, of course, having completely screwed up my schedule and mistaking the start time. I was in the middle of a massive woodcutting session (more than halfway done, BTW) when I realized we were late. I didn't even have time to shower or shave, so I threw on a hat, packed the kids in the car, and headed over. By the time we got there, the other kids were already playing full swing and the parents were getting sloshed on beer and margaritas. I avoided alcohol and was thus the party pooper, but I've resolved not to give in to peer pressure, alcohol be damned.

They did a nice job, and there were a lot of people there. Many I'd never seen before, and I managed to reconnect with some old friends. I'm guessing there was a Waldorf faction there because J alluded to it, and I recognized some of the Waldorf families.

Anyway, at some point, the conversation turned to the show Lost, which we don't watch on regular TV because we don't get it, but we've followed it on DVD (Netflix). We love the show, but it's not something we want to talk about as if it were a part of our lives. And yet, there I was, doing just that. At least the conversation flowed, even if it had nothing to do with real life.

Today is Tue and we have T-ball, and I'm guessing I'm going to do coaching duty once again. I'm still surprised how many parents don't want to coach or simply refuse. And yet they show up at the practice, it's not a stretch to just grab a mitt and get out there. I feel self conscious and don't know what to tell the kids. I try to instill basics that I learned in my years of playing baseball, but the reality is, these kids are too young, they just aren't gettin git. They're having fun, but as far as picking up on the game, they don't have the attention span or the hand eye coordination. And the situation is just ripe for an injury, especially when some of the bigger kids, trying to be superstars, come up to bat and rip the ball.

One girl already took one on the chin and nobody, and I mean nobody stopped to ask her if she was okay. I went up to her and asked if her mom was nearby, but wasn't sure where the proper boundaries were. Her mom finally came over, but I wonder if she'll be back.

Gotta run and get some practice in before the big practice. Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sorry For Being a Flake, So Much to Tell

Wow, I keep trying to keep up with this blog but I've managed to fall into the pit of flaky despair. So sorry for that. There is so much going on, too.

Guitar has been going well, even if N is not so into it, A loves it and she can play several songs already and is keenly interested in learning more. I think we'll keep on going for a few more weeks, even if I think it best to start veering away from open G tuning for now. Did I mention she learned to play Country Roads? We don't practice nearly enough, but we really need to make the time. And even though N might protest, I think we can sneak more lessons in without him even really realizing it.

Today is Green Up Day and we'll do our part cleaning our street. Amazing how much people still litter in this day and age. There seems to be a predominance of McDonald's and Budweiser. Go figure. We also want to head up to Randolph for the Fiddlehead Festival, but that throws my daily routine into question. Have to go to market during the week.

N has started T-ball, and I'm actually helping out coaching, if you can believe it. The kids have a blast, and N may have made some new friends, but as I look around, I think the kids are too young. Most don't have the coordination to really throw and catch a ball, and the situation is ripe for someone to get hurt. In fact, a little girl got bonked in the face and had to leave crying. Nobody even noticed. The kids are hilarious but it's really just chaos, though they seem to be having fun. Some of those kids sure seem big.

Been cutting loads of wood, about halfway through the pile, the garden is tilled and ready, and Spring is in full swing. More later. Until then, thanks for reading.