Friday, May 30, 2008

In the blink of an eye

Today marked another rite of passage. It was 8th grade recognition. It was my third time going through this--each one has been special. But this is my youngest baby, and he is now going to be a high schooler. It seems like yesterday when he was finishing kindergarten... but that was almost in the last millennium. He is still friends with some of these kids, although he currently towers over them.
Two years ago, we found out the sky was the limit as we reached for the stars... the theme of the 6th grade recognition at Temperance Road Elementary. The group of kids (all 60 of them) from TRE class of '06 was pretty tight. Great kids with loads of potential. They were starting to look like teenagers, but frankly, were still kids who carried a special kind of innocence & naivete that we parents wish we could bottle up and throw on them at the age of 16.

Junior high marked huge changes--some good, some bad--for the kids. Physically, they are growing. They are maturing, some too quickly. They are challenging us for their independence and showing us that they are ready to handle greater responsibility. As much as we'd like to keep them tucked in safe and warm at all times, they are ready to spread their wings, and we need to push them out of the nest, at least a little. We have to remember, however, that they are still kids and still need our guidance, albeit sometimes in a roundabout way. Rebecca, our favorite Blonde Highlight, did a dynamite job with her keynote speech. It was witty and poignant all at the same time. The message was strong, and I'm hoping the kids paid attention. (I wish I could have gotten a picture of her son, though, when she said she was going to do a dance since that hadn't been explicitly forbidden. The look on his face was just priceless!).

Just to show how much they grow... the first picture here is of Matt and his friend Devon the night of their 6th grade recognition. The second is from today, with Matt and Devon on the ends. Aaron and Allison are in between. These kids really rocked with their outfits today. The last picture is of four of my girls--gorgeous and sweet every one. (Kaylee, Kelsey, Maddie, Taylor). Congratulations kids! Best of luck at the high school next year.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

There's a little black cloud round my head tonight

Did you ever have one of those days (weeks, months) where nothing seems to go right? I'm feeling a bit like Eeyore right now and trying not to do the "oh poor pitiful me" thing (well, except for blogging about my miseries).

I try not to talk about work, but it's been a circus lately, a constant state of flux that leaves me wondering what next. That sets the mood. Then my relatively new house (6 years old) seems to be falling apart. It started on Sunday. I wasn't in a good mood to start with (mid-life hormones and all). One of the zones on our sprinkler system wouldn't shut off. It ran for something like 3 hours. I was home alone. I pulled the lid off the valve box out in the yard, but couldn't get it to turn off. I turned the whole system off. It still ran. I unplugged the system. It still ran. I interrupted a golf match to get it taken care of. Probably not a good move on my part, but I had other things to do.

Today, the smoke detectors were apparently going off for 2-3 hours before there was resolution (had to interrupt the start of a trip for that one0. The sensors are hard wired with battery back ups. A low battery in any one of the dozen (seriously) sensors will cause the whole system to go, as will dust in the attic, temperature differentials between the attic and the hallway. Have to remove ALL of the batteries, then start replacing one-by-one to find the problem child. .

And speaking of problem children, one had a baseball game about 30 miles from home (45 miles from where I work) that I hightailed it to. Brother of child not playing called to see if he could come, but since I was already within a mile, that was out of the question (remember, this is within an hour of the smoke detector fiasco). No sooner had I arrived at the park (5 minutes later) than I got a frantic call about damage to a car. Minor stuff, really--a mirror broken off pulling into the garage. But this is the car with the lease that is up in a month, and just another chink in the armor. Then came the baseball game--the boys did not play well--they are probably having the end-of-school jumpiness. It made for a long evening. It was longer because I spent 40 minutes in a car coming home with a 14 year old who attituded himself right out of dinner (he had to fend for himself when we got home). And now the Red Wing are losing. Maybe a bubble bath will help. I'll find out if and when I pull my head out of the sand.

Send me jokes people (clean ones!). I need a good laugh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

How long until summer?

It was warm enough at last night's final track meet to forego the 3 blankets I usually have, but not to go without a sweatshirt. I've noticed some freckles after the past few meets, so the sun is there somewhere--but my legs are ridiculously pale and it doesn't look like they'll get out from under slacks any time soon.

By this time of year, it's usually safe to move my hibiscus plants from their indoor warm spots to the front porch without killing them, but I'm not so sure that was a good idea this week--one has a nice dose of the plant equivalent of frostbite. My landscaper buddy Paul was surprised at how late my rose-of-sharon trees are in even budding this year although they are obviously still alive. However, I am seeing some more signs that warmer weather may soon be coming.

My irises are in full bloom. If you enlarge the picture, you'll also see some peonies that have budded up nicely. I wish they'd bloom at the same time as the irises, but they always seem to be a wee bit later so the impact is missed. If you have any need for irises (or daylilies--I'll post when they bloom), all of mine are in need of thinning, so I'll have bulbs available. have typical purple and white ones, and then I have the spectacular coppery-lavender ones that are HUGE. I can't recall where I found these--it was in one of the bulb catalogs that I receive--but they are very unusual.

My yard has also been overrun by gnomes. They've built a house in my oak tree. Craig (my 16 year old) looked at this and rolled his eyes. He thinks I'm getting eccentric in my middle age (although he uses other verbiage). Bonus points if you can identify what the vine climbing up the tree is! It's bigger around than my closed fist, and the leaves are as big as my hand (luckily, they're about 40 feet up in the tree!).

And finally, as I've indicated in the past, I have critters that eat my flowers, herbs, and veggies. I chased away a squirrel who was nibbling on my lemon balm and lavender this morning, then I put cayenne pepper in the planters to discourage the wily critter (and I actually don't mind the squirrels). Over the winter, I found a patio planter that may be my saving grace. It stands about 4 feet high. If you look at the plants coming out of the bottom--those are tomatoes and cucumbers. Having them grow downward eliminates the need for staking and keeps the "fruit" out of the reach of most animals. On top, I have cilantro, basil, and a couple of types of hot peppers. I'm just hoping that it's not too cold still to have these out.

Enjoy the long weekend. Remember our vets on Monday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

DWTS -- The Final Dances

OK, it's down to the final 3 on DWTS, and all are deserving. All 3 have to dance the Cha Cha to the same song. This should be fun (hopefully it's a good song)! I am eager, though, to see the freestyle. Dance order for the Cha Cha: Cristian, Jason, Kristi.

Dancing to Lionel Richie's "Dancing on the Ceiling."

Cristian & Cheryl: fuschia outfits? bare chests (ok, that's not so bad). Entertaining. (Len's tie matches Cristian's outfit!)

Jason & Edyta: ooh, he looks stiff and that's not a good thing on this dance. He got bad marks on this one last time. Lots of tricks thrown in. She just missed a move.

Kristi & Mark: She's having a blast. This one is hers (judges agree).

Scores: C+C 26 J+E 24 K+M 30--perfection.

The Freestyle Round! Curious to see how C +C are going to do lifts with his arm out of commission.

Kristi & Mark: WOW. lots of energy. very difficult moves. Awesome. Score: 30.

Jason & Edyta: very hip hop. Fun. More bare chest. Crowd loves it. Score: 27. hmm. judges usually leave all the contestants tied so the fans can decide. not this year.

Cristian & Cheryl: love love love it. nice lifts. good job! Len didn't like the lifts. Carrie Ann didn't think it was as good as Kristi's. Score: 26.

Looks like it's Kristi's to lose. I'd like to see her win, but I'm also pulling for Cristian. (My kids want Jason)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bad mom...

I love my children. Truly, I do. And I encourage them to do their best (and have high standards for what their best should be). I am supportive. Really. I go to every possible activity, be it scholastic, athletic, music-oriented, or religious. I holler for them (and everyone else, which drives my boys crazy...but hey, I've watched their friends grow up so those kids are kind of mine too).

Today, the stage mom came out. I said I'd blog it, so here goes. I hauled my cookies up to Chelsea, Michigan for a track meet today--one that was supposed to start at 4:00, but got rolling at 3:00 instead. Matt was scheduled (as usual) for 3 events: shot put, 400m, 4x400m relay. I am going start by congratulating him for taking second in the shot put and achieving a personal best. I didn't watch that event, but I would have whooped and hollered and given him an atta boy (and told him I loved him and thoroughly embarrassed him). Next up was the 400. He's usually pretty good at the 400, but something was off today. He started out okay, but seemed totally gassed at the end. He eased up APPROACHING the finish line, and lost TWO positions at the tape. Being the highly supportive mom that I am, I think something that contained the phrase "lazy butt" came out of my mouth. Loudly. My Blonde Highlights buddy was sitting right in front of me, so I have to fess up, and I have promised not to yell out any similar comments during her 8th Grade recognition speech.

OK, it gets worse. Sort of. In the 4x400 relay, the boys and girls ran simultaneously. Matt has a friend, Kelsey, who was going to run anchor for the girls while Matt was anchoring the boys B line (he's usually an A-line, but not today). Kelsey and Matt are like siblings. They lived next door to each other from the time they were 2 until they were 8. We started encouraging Kelsey to beat Matt (and told Matt he was walking home if he lost to Kelsey). Now, this is unfair, although Matt did take the hand-off ahead of Kelsey. See, Kelsey is the school record holder for the 400m for the girls, and her time is pretty close to what the top boys run. Kelsey prevailed, the kids laughed, and I think Matt has forgiven me. Sorry kiddo. Bad mom. Bad, bad mom.

ADDENDUM: I need to point out that Rebecca from Blonde Highlights was cheering Matt on even as I was being the manic mom. (and I was cheering for hers--speedy boy that one, and nice to boot.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday Logan

This is one of the loves of my life. His name is Logan Michael, and he belongs to my niece. He is my baby sister's grandson. My boys are some of his favorite people. He'll let me buy him donuts, and he loves the toys at my house. He also loves to come over and play the piano. It's funny how kids always sound like they know what they're doing when they sit down at the keyboard.

He turned 2 on Friday. I meant to blog, but went down with a migraine about mid-day. Happy Birthday babydoll. Love, Aunt Phyllis

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dancing, Dancing, Dancing Machine

It's Monday, and that means it's time for DWTS. I'm going to try to follow along with the show tonight--they are down to the final 5 (with a nod to Befrazzled, who follows AI so I don't have to). This could get long, so I'll apologize in advance. Two dances from each contestant.
  • Kristi and Mark doing the quick step. The footwork looks a little slow, actually. Cheesy lift. Len loves it though, and Bruno agrees which is a rarity. Carrie Ann isn't as thrilled. score: 29

on a side note, I just looked out my window and my least favorite rodent, the woodchuck / groundhog that lives under my deck was out on the dirt hills in the vacant lot next door. Think Carl in Caddyshack and the great gopher hunt. I'm about there!

  • Mario and Karina doing the Viennese Waltz. He needs to be stiff. Footwork is a bit off, but what do I know. Nice lift. Judges liked it. All of them. Score: 27
  • Marissa and Tony doing the Fox Trot. She's trying too hard--too much walking, not gliding. Great lift. Not as good as last week. Bruno agrees with me about the gliding but didn't like the lift. Score: 25
  • Jason and Edyta doing the Tango. Wow. I think they did multiple lifts though. Her kicks looked like lifts. ooh Len and Bruno are getting into it. Score: 29
  • Christian and Cheryl doing the Tango. to Michael Jackson?? Too much walking again. Nice lift ! Not bad. Not great but good considering his bad arm. The judges don't agree with me--they think it's brilliant. Score: 28

Round 2

  • Kristi and Mark-Samba:Cool costume! out of sync at first. Very interesting spin at the end. Carrie Ann didn't like it. Not going to score well, except with Bruno. Score 26
  • Mario and Karina-Jive: Not sure I like this. He almost dropped her on the lift. Len agrees with me. The others liked it. Mario will probably be in the bottom 2 tomorrow since his scores are on the low side and he hasn't always had viewer support. Score 26
  • Marissa and Tony-Mambo: They are having fun. Same turn Kristi did. hmm. Carrie Ann is rough again. Score: 25
  • Jason and Edyta-Samba: He can move for a big guy. WOW on the lift. Carrie Ann didn't like it. She's really mean tonight! Len didn't like it. Bruno didn't like it. The good news is that everyone is scoring low in this round. Score: 23. It really wasn't that bad.
  • Christian and Cheryl-Mambo: He needs more hip. Ok, he has more hip. dynamite lift. Very clever. a little slow in parts, but good. Score: 29.

Either Marissa or Mario is probably going to leave tomorrow. I think Marissa, although I think I'd rather see Mario.