Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Comes to an End and Peony Fest

I can't believe we're almost into July, it boggles my mind, but summer tends to fly by. Now that we are active members of our community, you really begin to learn about all the things going on around here, and of course it overwhelms you. Suddenly we are faced with an amazing number of options for summer camps, and they all have the potential to be fun, but they can be expensive and I can't help but think they must be exhausting for the kids. Also, we are planning our big trip out west, so we can't really afford to get to crazy in other areas.

Still hoping for a car, but I won't get into that.

This past weekend was Peony Fest, and the weather was not cooperating, not surprisingly. Although I will say this, it rained a lot on Saturday afternoon/evening, and then Sunday morning, but stopped at some point midday and abated throughout the festival. The problem was, with the weather being so poor beforehand, it seemed to discourage people from going to the festival. The crowd was not huge, but that's what I like about it. Not too manic, like the 4th, which I think will be a little crazy.

Got to see some old friends on the 4th, G&T were there with K, and I think they enjoyed it. Spoke with KJ a bit, saw JS sans RJ, but the kids got to play. Best of all, no CB sightings, which would have brought things down, though we did see LWM, but thankfully only briefly. She passed by and that was that.

We spent the entire day at the fest, A, N, T, and Is hung out and had fun, and then it was time to go home. We were exhausted and ready for a couple of days of downtime. At least I'm ready.

Prepping for the next big weekend, July 4th. Will it ever end?

Still have to deal with website and homeschool responsibilities or my butt is in trouble. Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reflecting on Another Week

We had a good week, lots of good vibes, and some interesting signs, if you believe in that sort of thing, although I can't read my notes and can't figure out what GB stands for. Bummer.

Either way, the weather has been strange, and that puts a damper on things. Summer is here, no doubt, but we've been socked with rain. Nonstop precipitation falling from the skies, and no sun in sight. Not sure what to make of all that.

We are developing out regular thing with G&T, and it's been good. The kids really get along really well, and others out there are making connections. Finally got in touch with AB and his ex, another odd situation and yet another sign of the times. Back to that old 50%, but more on that later.

We have not had too much luck with the Mack's, they're just too busy, though if I really wanted to see them, I'd just give them a call, because this email thing just doesn't cut it. Especially when the other end is too darn busy. Oh well, on the bright side, don't have to hear about how brilliant she and he son are, but that just comes with the territory.

We are in the process of getting the barn project back in gear, and it might take off life wild fire because GL is chomping at the bit with a slow flying season. He may very well bust my balls in many pieces, but sometimes that's the only way to get things done.

I also received and formatted my new hard drive, all by lonesome. Not bad for a clueless SAHD.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sometimes Serendipity Hits You On The Head

We had an interesting and fun day yesterday, though it started out in an ominous manner. The day before, Thu, was hotter than heck, though we managed to have a really nice day at home getting things done. But the heat was brutal.

Friday was slated to be more of the same, so I thought it would be a good time to hit the pool and try to coordinate with the Macks and see if they'd meet us, but as usual, it was impossible to get ahold of her. My fault, I should just call, and email always falls short. One day I'll learn.

Either way, I decided we'd go swimming anyway. We can't wait around. The first problem we ran into was that our plan clashed with mom's. There was this big concert happening at Dartmouth with the Sierra Leone refugees, which we planned to go to, but R's plan was to go to work then pick us up, leaving us stranded at home in the heat. I thought we should have the car and go swimming, which she agreed to, but had to get to work (I sensed initial reluctance on her part, and had to fight for our interests). I told her we could do it and the kids scrambled to get ready and we were off. No problem.

The plan was as follows-hit the Coop, then the library to do a little workbook, then to the pool, then perhaps the library, pick up mom, go to the concert, then the free BBQ, then home. Easy, right?

We got the library and did a quick workbook session, and while we were there we got killer new books. Score-ola! Lots of good new graphic novels for her and Mo Willems for him. Then it was off to the pool. We got sushi for lunch (I brought an ice chest) and got to Storr's Pond to swim.

I will say this-we are no longer going to swim at Storr's Pond. What a scam-$10/person, including kids. It cost us $30 to get in. I was shocked, the nerve. We simply can't afford that kind of dough just to hang out with the totally bitchen people of Hanover/Norwich. I am furiously thinking of viable alternatives, so stay tuned.

To rub salt in the proverbial wound, the weather was a bummer. Cloudy with a chance of rain. AND, we were early, the pool didn't open for half an hour. So we sat at a picnic table and ate our sushi and waited. The pool opened up and we swam, the kids had a blast and didn't miss a beat over the winter. They swam like fish. Of course we saw people we knew, saw the W's, and plenty of familiar faces. It was fun, but it was kinda cold. No sense in whining, though, and we made the most of it. The kids were turning blue but refused to quit.

Then the rain came, and we had no choice. It started slow then gradually progressed to the point where we decided to leave. Could be the last time we swim there. We decided to go the Montshire, and as usual it bored me to tears, but they loved it. I found myself dozing off on the benches, embarrassed by it, but unable to control it. I was exhausted. We think we saw the queen of the honeybee colony, however, which was way cool.

One thing I noticed at the pool and to some degree at the Montshire is that all of the super-progressive, knee jerk socially conscientious parents (like myself) were all talking about the free concert for Sierra Leone. It made me realize that it was going to be crowded-total bummer.

We hung out at the museum and waited for the hour to come to pick up mom and for the rain to stop, and by 4:00, we were ready. We went outside and just like that, the weather was fabulous. Clear skies, cool breezes, and no rain or humidity. Perfect, dare I say. I couldn't believe it.

We went to get mom and headed over to the show. It was crowded on the road but manageable, and we set out in the unenviable quest for parking. And wouldn't you believe it, but we had a CB sighting, while we were in our car, no less. I couldn't believe it, this situation will haunt us forever. We were waiting at the light and just to the side, waiting at the street corner, there she was, with that LWM kid. AB saw us first and smiled and said hello, so it was too late to act like we hadn't seen them. We were busted. CB said hello and of course A lighted up, and then it was all over. AB was clearly uncomfortable and hid behind another person, so there is something on her mind.

From that point on, A had her radar on for CB. I was dreading it. We walked to the show (BTW, there were an incredible number of people there), waiting for the fateful moment, which came almost immediately. Fortunately, we ran into the Macks seconds before, so we were distracted, but right after that, we spotted CB with that LWM. They were K&A, of the K&A scale fame. We were trapped, and A immediately tried to join them while the rest of us went and sat with the Macks. R told A to join us, which infuriated and frustrated her, but we held our ground. It was really crappy and uncomfortable early on. In fact, even Z-Mack seemed distant and pensive, which made me wonder if she was pissed.

At some point, I wanted to just leave, though I was struck by how many friends we saw. Long lost ones, too. Saw rock and roll DW and EW, later saw his wife and daughter, and whole contingent of people from our neighborhood, which was really cool. Anyway, as we sat and wallowed in self-pity, at some point we decided to get our act together and just deal with it.

Thanks to K or K&A scale fame. She was up there dancing with her girls, so we joined in, and that's when the fun began. The music was killer, the band kicked ass, really talented group, and so very tight. It was fun seeing live music again, and it reminded me of a Dead Show. All that was missing were the drugs, for the best, of course. People were dancing up a storm, and at one point it got incredibly hot, to the point where I felt like I was stoned. And best of all, we got to dance with friends and no longer had any more CB sightings, along with LWM. We were lost in our own gig. A hung with R-Mack, and AG-H showed up, a very good sign. Did I mention that he emailed me back? A huge event.

G from days past showed up and talked to A, and it was just a good time. It seemed like every time I turned my head, I saw a friend. It was a very cool vibe.

Afterwards, as the band was winding down, we decided to seek out the BBQ. We were the first ones there and were joined by the Macks, and it was a party. Very fun, we chowed, and again, we saw lots of friends. A huge hometown contingent, even A's guitar teacher was there, whom we see everywhere. We really like her.

Afterwards, we headed home. It was a really fun time. It went from hell to swell, and I think we lucked out. We know there will continue to be CB sightings along with LWM, and it's going to suck, but what are you going to do? We are uncomfortbale with the whole thing, but don't really see how it's going to work out. Not sure what's at the root of it all, but it is what it is, and we have to deal.

We saw the future governor of VT with her daughter, HW, and that was nice. Then it was to home, where we the kids had a quick bath, watched a little Star Wars and then to bed.

A really nice day, in the end. Lots of seminal moments. Change is in the air.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Change in Plans

Things seem to fall into place and work out, even if the end result is not desirable. We had several cancellations on Thu, unforeseen changes in our plans, but in the end, we were housebound anyway, so it was not a huge loss. Not that we were happy about being housebound.

DJ was out of town, so no horses, KR had other engagements, so no guitar, and one of us woke up sick, so we couldn't go anywhere, anyway. So no loss, I guess, kind-of-sort-of.

The weather has been a drag, as well, hot and sticky, and we had a CB sighting, just to complicate matters. What are you going to do?

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Homeschooling Progress

Schooling is still a struggle, but we are definitely making some strides. I'm stressing big time over the fact that I haven't gotten it together in terms of curricula for next year. It's so easy to blow off. But we are obtaining good resources, and the elusive history component may be becoming clearer, but I'll leave it at that.

Guitar, Horses, and the Library

We have discovered the beauty of our local library and will make better use of it. It's so close, we can ride our bikes, and it's a great way to connect with people in our community, and we love our community. Good to know.

Riding has been going well, though the summer time is a bit of a scramble because things seem to change, not to mention the fact that people's schedules go awry.

Guitar has been great, we love KR, she's so amazing, and so incredibly talented. I think she and A jive, as well, and the lessons are so close. Such a cool thing.

Thanks for reading.

Things Sure Change on a Dime

Boy, I don't know if it was the appearance of the sun or what, but suddenly life ain't so depressing. What a difference a little light can make. On the day that I was pining for the sun and alluding to feeling depressed at the state of the world, suddenly things took a turn for the better, and just like that, my POV improved.

At the beginning of the week, there sure was a gloomy outlook. Part of the problem was recovering from a parental visit and also having obligations eating away at me-the guilt thing. Also, it just takes time getting back into the swing of things when your routine is disrupted. Mind you, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

My in-laws were here into the beginning of this week, so there was a lot to take care of. I find when they are here, it's not that difficult to maintain certain routines, while others fall by the wayside. It's easy enough to prepare meals and take care of certain odds and ends around the house, but writing can be a little more challenging, especially during the daylight hours, and yard work can take a blow. Don't get me wrong, it was a really nice visit, but sometimes it's nice to have the complete freedom in your house that you're used to, like farting whenever you please.

Besides, I feel an obligation to make sure my in-laws are having fun, even though they are extremely low maintenance. Even still, my father in law is extremely restless, and I couldn't help but think he was bored at points, and would be bored living up here, though I'm really not sure what he does at home that he can't do up here. If anything, there are more things up here to entertain him than there, but I have to remember that it's not home.

Another thing that's been eating away at me was writing for WPE. I promised to come through for them but found myself wanting to blow it off. Because I was venturing into new territory, there was a steep learning curve and the writing stalled at some points. But I persevered and sent the piece off to DO, hope he likes it. AND, I hope to write more for them, even though they pay me nothing, I'd still like to help.

Okay, enough of the downer stuff. My mood has lifted, and it all seems to stem from one thing-seeing the sun. We finally got a nice day of weather and the rain stopped and it was beautiful. And just like that, everything changed. Suddenly I saw birds around the house, there seemed to be more bugs flying around, and life was good. I found out what might be the problem with our blueberries (soil is not acidic enough), and even looked into getting some fruit trees as well as more blueberries. AND, after visiting the flower farm, I think I may have a better idea about our blackberry bushes. So far, so good.

Also, one of the problems was that our bird feeder was clogged and the birds couldn't replenish the seed supply. I cleaned it out and refilled it, and on the very day I saw several birds and some hummingbirds at the feeder. Life is good.

We discovered, or should I say re-discovered the local library, and re-connected with some friends. I never know what's going on over that library, but thanks to CH I hear now and then. We went over to the summer reading kickoff picnic, I wasn't sure what to expect. At the very least, our buddy CH was going to be there, reason enough to attend. We couldn't get there in time for the picnic, but made it to the story, and it was nice because the kids played together in a random, unstructured manner, and it simply warmed my heart. Best of all, the kids were all nice to each other, and they were all different ages, and there were other nice girls. You can't beat that. Stoked!

We re-connected with AG and his kids A and I. I still really like AG, though she's a bit older, but she's so nice. She strikes me as mellow, thoughtful, and smart. Those aren't critical, all that matters is she's nice, but they're just observations. We hope to see them more, but new personal developments came up on their part, so we'll take it slowly. Let's just say that we have the means to communicate and will do so.

We did our Wed thing at G&T's, and Thu riding was canceled due to weather, even though we jumped through hoops to get the car. Not a complete loss, however, because we managed to get to one of my personal favorites stores, Rugged Bear, and got the kids new raincoats and N some shorts that he likes and will hopefully wear. We shall see. One cute note-the changing rooms were full, so the salesperson said he could just go into a corner of the store and drop his drawers. He opted to change in a circular rack, and watching him was just too cute. Kids, they break your heart.

With riding canceled, we went to the Coop and then the library, where we saw the Mack's for the second time this week. We've seen them twice now this week, short visits, but visits nonetheless. They are very busy.

We got a makeup riding lesson on Friday, and we got to see J of R&J fame. A got to ride with I, and it was nice, though J has a constant energy that I find difficult to keep up with, she's always looking for something to do. Comes with being smart, I believe, a certain restlessness that is rooted in having an active mind. Just my opinion.

Then, of course, we spent some time at Balloon Fest. Good to get a quick fix and be done with it. I'm so over that whole thing, such a ripoff, but we managed to get some breaks, and there was a killer band called Changes in Latitude, and the weather finally broke and the balloons took off in unison, which is always a magical sight to behold.

It just feels good to get things done and out of the way, not that I don't like the challenge. It's just nice not to have to think so hard all the time. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Re-Finding My Groove

Now that I at least got a first draft done for World Partners, I can at least focus on the other stuff that comes a little easier for me. AND, I feel good about getting it done, even if took a bit of time, and would love to do more to help. Okay, enough on that.

Fortunately, even after spending so much time and energy getting the WPE thing done, it's not too difficult to get back in the swing of things because after awhile you figure out how to get things done. A bit formulaic, I confess, but when you're a big dork like me, you need all the help you can get. Actually, it's comforting getting back to the things that you know after having ventured out of the safe zone.

The kids have been great during the visit, though I sense they are getting bored and want to do fun things. We had to cut short the visit with G&T because mom wanted to do things, but at least they got some fun. It's such a shame that the CB chapter has closed because they are so close to us and it would be so easy for them to just get together, but who knows. I don't know what to make of the whole thing. It should make for an interesting summer, to say the least.

In the meantime, we are winding down the visit, and it's a sad but fitting end. It's always nice to get back to your life, especially when there is so much that needs to be done. Not sure how today will work but I won't fret over it too much.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Revelations About Parental Relations

I had this brilliant revelation that actually has cropped up before but somehow I refused to rightfully acknowledge it-I think it's not such a bad thing having R's folks living in Ohio, and it's akin to divine intervention that thing didn't work out with the barn. Don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws, they are wonderful people and we enjoy their company, but there is something to be said about having some distance. Also, I can completely understand to how they value their routines and the comfort of the home they know so well.

This is all coming to light during their visit, of course. It has been a really nice time, mind you, but there are things that do crop up that realize that constantly being around certain people might not lead to domestic bliss. The things that come to mind are the constant scrutiny and judgement as well as the little bit of solipsism that is always there.

It's always great to see them, but how would that feeling be affected if we saw them every day? Who knows, but for now, it seems to work just fine.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Geting it Done, Keeping My Feet Moving, and Kid Updates

I may have gotten in over my head, but I feel good about helping out. I promised to write something for World Partners in Education, and met with DO and talked it over. I felt good about it, I really believe in their mission to help these kids and want to do my part. But like everything, it all sounds so much simpler than it really is, and I found myself toiling and stressing over the project, mainly because I wanted to do a good job and it took time away from other things. Nonetheless, I finished the piece, sent it DO, and am awaiting his thoughts. A little stressful, though. I'm finding that when you venture into a new arena the rhythm and flow of the writing comes to an abrupt halt as you find your footing. It's disconcerting and challenging, but can be satisfying when you just deal with it. I hope they like it.

Now that it's done, I need to keep moving and keep writing. Got to crank out content, it's the whole point of my existence. I do have a new flavor of the month theory regarding writing, though, and it entails me focusing on the bread and butter writing and no putting as much into the challenging stuff. I.e., spend more time making lot of small change rather than hoping for the big payoff. We'll see how far this goes.

On the parental front, no word from CB, which I think is effectively over. I'm not sure what to make of it, we seem to dance around it when we see each other and it's very awkward, not to mention utterly heartbreaking to see the kids disappointment, but maybe that's the reality of life. Then again, we are sheltering her from it, but it seems to work both ways. I don't believe it's just a case of us reading too much into it. Something has changed, and I truly believe CB has lost interest in our kids as friends. Why, who can say, but I do know a few things. She never returns A's calls, and for that matter, never calls her. When we see her outside of a playdate, she cold and distant to our kids, and when she is with one of her other friends, she completely ignores our kids.

It's tough to watch because our kids are oblivious to her distancing them, or on the flip side, I'm way too neurotically sensitive and aware of it. Another part of the problem is that A is borderline infatuated with CB, and it is NOT reciprocal. Fair enough, but I think to have a healthier approach to the interaction, maybe some distance is in order, though at this point, the distance is becoming insurmountable.

So, we try to keep things moving ahead. Still really feel we need another car, but I'll leave it at that. We did manage to score guitar lessons for A, and they are in walking distance. How cool is that, and she's an amazing teacher. KR is a brilliant singer and performer, and she and A really clicked. In fact, she wanted to first meet her, and at the first meeting she said A was really advanced and had a natural feel for playing. I was beaming, and wanted to tell her that she had really only been playing for about three to four months, but I kept my mouth shut. No need.

Horses have been good, as well, and I think we may see J and company on our day. Cool, more friends for our kids to play with, and IS is way more A's speed. Haven't seen the Mack's in days and I've given up on trying, they are too busy and it gets exhausting trying to coordinate with AG because she's all over the map. We'll see them when we see them, but I won't expend any more energy trying.

T-ball is over and even though I got corralled into coaching, it was a great experience. I think it helped N to have me there, even though I resisted the idea of being too involved, but it also allowed me to get know some of the other parents (potential playmates for our kids) and help out where help was needed. I'm still struck by how much parents just don't want to help, even when it comes to their children. Glad I could help, and I enjoyed meeting RM, the coach, who impressed me to know end in his dedication to his kids and the community. Great guy, even if it seemed like he hated me in the beginning. See, being an assistant coach opened that door.

Now, when I see the other parents, I can say hello, and at least (maybe?) get a nod of recognition. Then again, it could be wishful thinking.

N had a great time in t-ball, and he came a long way. The kids were too young, no doubt about it, but they improved over the season, and they had fun. It really made an impression on N, he had a blast, and being the overly biased person that I am, still feel like he's a natural. He can catch the ball regularly and his swing is awesome. When he connects he rips the ball. I think over the course of the next year we'll keep practicing and he'll be ready for the next level.

He also wants to learn drums, but we'll ponder that one.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

tball done-thoughts on Roy
no CB-done and over

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Feeling Better and The Big Visit

I'm feeling much better after my crisis, and it helps to talk to other parents. Also, Ruth's parents are coming, so we are in preparation. Lots to do, and very little time to do it, and I'm beginning to feel a bit under the gun with some writing obligations, so I'll leave it at that. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts and Reflections on Parenthood

I wonder sometimes how much is too much? Are we too involved in our kid's lives, or is it our duty to help out when we can? There are times when I think the philosophy of not being too involved and letting kids alone is just an excuse for parents to be more self-absorbed and pursue their own interests, justifying it by making it seem as if you're only doing what's best for the kids. So, rather than be involved and stand behind them, let them figure things out while mom and dad have time to do their own things, assuaging the guilt by kidding themselves that it's for the best.

The only reason I think this is because the logic conveniently fits into their lifestyles.

The reason, of course, that this comes up is because of you know who, and the void that currently exists in our daughter's life as a result. Should we be involved? Should we have any role, whatsoever? I don't know, and we could regret this one day soon, but I can't help it. Besides, whether or not I'm involved is not the point, the damage is done with or without me. Rejection has occurred, no question, and I could turn my head and let things happen as they will, but the learning process is in motion. Besides, our involvement is not blatant, at least from her perspective.

Who can say? We'll see where this all leads, but in the meantime, we'll try to keep our kids busy and active and hopefully fulfilled. Until then, thanks for reading.

Crazy But Great Weekend - We Survived

We managed to survive Farm Fest. Great weekend on many levels. Got the Open Fields School experience, and got the Farm Fest weekend done. Had to scramble with last minute preparations because organization and planning was not optimal, but what a learning experience. Will have to take that into the next situation, learn from your mistakes, and many were made.

Saw lots of old and new friends at Farm Fest, a great time, and it was fun manning the table with HD worked the crowd. The kids helped and GK&T showed up, so it was beautiful. A, N, and T played and had a blast while we did out thing. Personally thought the bike blender was a big hit, and we ended up losing money because we gave the milkshakes away, but it was fun and all in the spirit of the event.

And of course we saw CB, and it's clear to us, though not our kids, that the honeymoon is over. The friendship seems to have run it's course, and it's heartbreaking to watch your kid get ditched for another, but such are the hard lessons in life. It's all awkward, as well, because clearly something changed and we now have to dance around the issue. A got the big cold shoulder from CB and I think the writing has been on the wall for awhile. Time for us to move on.

But we managed to have fun, nonetheless, and now we are more well aware of where we stand and can get on with our lives.